Henny Burnet's extraordinary relic marks the site of St Edmund's shrine in the crypt, the Abbey Gardens. The jewel encrusted shrine displayed holy objects around the coffin, including the saint's toe nail clippings. Teeth adorning a saccharine sculpture seems quite normal. The poem written in response is by James McDermott.
I’m born toothless don’t need to bite back yet
by four fairy toddler gave me twenty
thirteen faggot snap back with thirty two
until Jason smashed a hole in my smile
black void still there teeth are only human
body part that cannot repair themselves
Henny Burnett Henny Burnett is a mixed media artist who lives and works in Bristol and London. She attended Byam Shaw and Edinburgh Colleges of Art. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, undertaking residencies in Italy and Britain. She has won awards from Juliet Gomperts Trust, The British council, ACE and travel grants to Canada and USA. Recently a finalist for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2021 and awarded a commission for new work by Procreate Project funded by ACE. https://www.axisweb.org/p/hennyburnett/ Instagram: @hennyburnett
James McDermott's plays published by Samuel French include 'Rubber Ring' (Pleasance Islington/UK Tour) and 'Time & Tide' (Park Theatre/UK Tour). His poetry books include 'Manatomy' (Burning Eye Books; long-listed for Polari's First Book Prize 2021), 'Erased' (Polari Press) and 'Green Apple Red' (Broken Sleep Books). James is a lecturer in Scriptwriting at UEA. https://jamesmcdermottwriter.weebly.com Instagram @jamesmcdermott1993
Appropriately, Amanda Loomes' sculpture Wishful Thinking? sits outside the Constitutional Club, wherein hangs a portrait of Margaret Thatcher.
Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you –
Ye are many – they are few.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
from The Mask of Anarchy
If you make a revolution, make it for fun, don't make it in ghastly seriousness, don't do it in deadly earnest, do it for fun.
DH Lawrence from A Sane Revolution
(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang
Heaven 17 from (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang
I was there. In the ‘80s, I mean. Those were the days when we had hope. Unequivocal. Clear. Those were the days when slogans grabbed our hearts and minds and fit bodies and dragged us towards a future that would – inevitably – always – be post-punk, two-toned, new, romantic. Those were the days of slow-drunk nights and sweet-hung days, of listening to Dare all night and loving the no-guitar NUM explosions of working-class energies and Northern souls. I? I read Paul’s lemmings-off-a-cliff words and dived in. He made me want to write. He stopped me writing. Sometimes other people are so good they go beyond inspiration and become treacly, quicksanded mess.
I was there, too, in the ‘90s. But I had already started relicking, I’d already freed Mandela and had decided I’d probably done enough. Mortgage. Car. Reaction in ghastly seriousness.
After that, we didn’t know what to call the decades. They’d bamboozled us by then, by pretending to care about race and sexuality, and we didn’t know where to turn. No Marx no marks. When I say we, I mean I. When I say I, I mean we.
Now I’m here, in the Roaring ‘20s. I may not make the pre-war ‘30s. But it’s nice to see the material and the ideal coming together again.
Amanda Loomes is preoccupied by watching people at work. She listens to what people have to say about their worlds and builds their words into warm, thought provoking films. She graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2006. She has exhibited widely in the UK including Jerwood Space, London and as part of Brighton Festival with HOUSE and Photoworks. She has undertaken numerous commissions including the film Keepers for the National Trust. Her solo exhibition Formation Level at Aspex Gallery explored her former life as a Civil Engineer through the labour embedded in roads. During 2019 her landmark film installation The Custody Code toured to forests in the UK as part of The Forestry Commission's centenary celebrations. In 2020 she secured an online film commission with Fermynwoods. Combine mixed archive footage from the the steel industry in Corby with her own footage filmed at Ketton Cement Works. She has recently finished work on the soundtrack to the animation Close Knit working with sound artist Alison Carlier.
www.amandaloomes.net Instagram @amanda.loomes Twitter @AmandaLoomes
Kevin Acott is a writer, lecturer, whiskey lover, and Spurs sufferer. He’s a sort of left libertarian/sort of anarchist who feels strangely attracted to French chansons, Greenland and Joseph Conrad as he gets older. His publishing, blog and projects can be found at http://www.kevinacott.com/. Twitter @speranza6162 Instagram @speranza6162 Facebook Kev Acott
What or who came through Brentgovel Street during the night, snagging this ambiguous relic on the wall as they passed? The ceramic and wire sculpture is by Sandra Lane and the response by writer Urve Opik.
Relic of the Electric Seamstress
This woman kneeling with pins in her mouth
could stretch a yarn, with tactic alterations,
from Petersburg to Samarkand.
She told it with tailor’s chalk and empty loops,
she slipped herself along the ruthless
current of the buzz wire without caring
if she touched the flex.
What does you in, she said, is thinking you
can start again. Let it screech and fizz
but jolt yourself along.
There is no reward for silent fluency,
no such thing as invisible mending.
You’ll end up calcified, but that’s the prize
for twisting the coil and anchoring your line
Sandra Lane worked as a journalist and a photographer prior to attending art school. She graduated from BA Fine Art Drawing at Camberwell College of Art in 2013 receiving the Camberwell Acme Studio Award. She completed an MFA Sculpture at the Slade School of Art in 2017 followed by the Slade Summer Residency and the Sydney Nolan Trust Residency. Recent projects include: RA Summer Exhibition 2022; Blush, ASC Gallery; This Year's Model Studio 1:1 Gallery . Twitter and Instagram @artysandralane www.sandra-lane.com
Urve Opik is of Estonian heritage, grew up in Northern Ireland and lives in London. She studied art history at Manchester University and the Courtauld and worked for many years as an Arts Administrator. She became increasingly interested in the life psychotherapeutic in the late 1990s, retrained, and now practices as a psychotherapist. She retains a deep interest in the visual arts and weaves a writing practise through it all.
fust find black mould growing on wall behind
bookcase you built for me father man’s man
to shelf my queer stories back then I was
sissy who couldn’t DIY but now
you’re dead I box hardbacks shoulder the weight
scrub scum repaint black pink man of the house
The fourth relic is by Caroline Wright and has been left in St Andrews Street South - even the most modern of environments have their flakes and layers of history.
Caroline Wright is an artist and researcher whose practice is site specific and realised in various media. She has made work for cities and rural locations, on beaches and in buildings of spiritual significance, for festivals and for galleries. Her current Doctoral research investigates if the practices of drawing, swimming and writing address the lived experiences of rapid coastal erosion and is based in her home county of Suffolk, England. Wright has exhibited nationally and internationally including commissions for Cambridge University, London 2012, PSi 19 San Francisco USA, Edinburgh Festival, the Law Council and international BAR Associations, Royal Ulster Academy, Southwark Park Gallery and Wysing Arts Centre. Wright is Programme Leader for Fine Art at the Open College of the Arts and a founder member of the Misreading Group. www.carolinewrightart.com Twitter: @carolinejwright Instagram: carolinejwright1
James McDermott's plays published by Samuel French include 'Rubber Ring' (Pleasance Islington/UK Tour) and 'Time & Tide' (Park Theatre/UK Tour). His poetry books include 'Manatomy' (Burning Eye Books; long-listed for Polari's First Book Prize 2021), 'Erased' (Polari Press) and 'Green Apple Red' (Broken Sleep Books). James is a lecturer in Scriptwriting at UEA. www.jamesmacdermottwriter.weebly.com Instagram @jamesmcdermott1993 Twitter @jamesliammcd
I am an artist and the curator for grove and groving. This blog is groving online, and records the artworks placed on the streets of Bury St Edmunds along with responses to the work by commissioned writers.