Jane Watt's cool immaculate egg has found a home in the Great Churchyard. The response is written by Nadia Embleton.
Jane Watt is a visual artist based in Suffolk. She has made installations and site-specific work in rural and urban locations for over twenty-five years. Intrinsic to her practice is an interest in developing partnerships and collaborations with people and place resulting in often playful and unexpected interventions. These include changing the London skyline with a hundred artificial birds on a Hoxton Gallery roof, a UV light installation in Helsinki, creating a temporary camera obscura for the Festival of the Garden at Westonbirt Arboretum, getting hundreds of people to dance under magenta spotlights in forgotten corners of north London and using one of the earliest photographic processes to record Cambridge residents' curious objects as artist in resident at Darwin Green in Cambridge. She is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at University of Suffolk. www.janewattprojects.com Instagram @janewattprojects
Nadia Embleton is a London based poet and the groving project is her first publicly published poem.
I’ll write you
into a canvas of green and blue
memory made in your image,
like a post-it note that says
‘just popped out’.
This is proof that
you were here once,
that you’re just gone for now.
Folded up with me
a slip of paper that speaks
in your voice,
a part of you I can claim,
time-capsule the years away.
This is proof that
you were here.
Although things aren’t the same
you promised you would stay by me,
stay technicolour in memory
until green and blue fade
until gold alone remains.
An exquisite sculpture drenched in colour by Rod Bugg nestles in a tree in the Cattle Market.
Rod Bugg is a sculptor who works primarily in clay and drawing. He has been represented by Galerie de Witte Voet, Amsterdam for many years, showing in June 2017 in 4 British Artistswith Martin Smith, Ken Eastman and Clare Twomey and was featured in the RAW Art Fair in 2014 and the forty years anniversary show in January 2015. In 2013 he had six pieces of work in the Discerning Eye exhibition at the Mall Galleries and won the Humphreys Purchase Prize. In 2014 he had a solo exhibition at North House Gallery in Manningtree, Essex.
Faith Falayi is a young poet based in Peterborough. In 2020 she was selected the first Peterborough Young Poet Laureate. https://syntaxpoetryfestival.wordpress.com/peterborough-young-poet-laureate-2020/
This morning the first artwork for groving 2022, on the theme Relic, was placed in the rose garden in the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds. The first work, and the first sound piece we have had in groving. The work is by Stuart Bowditch and the written response is by Urve Opik.
A modest thumb’s worth, a full round
netsuke, smoothly toggling the invisible
strike and clamour of metallic sound
into binary code. Memento Digital
of pull and swing, pressed into zero/one.
A caught phrase, a meme for void and spire
mutter-full of dusty prayer, flinging open
centuries of vaulted, buttressed air.
Gusts of chimes handed up the ropes
and down the years, poise, ardently intent
to make a reliquary of your palm, their notes
will sound or mute by click of your consent.
Stuart Bowditch is an artist, musician and field recordist. His practice focuses on places and communities that exist on the fringes, both geographically and socially, with a particular interest in the sonic landscape, capturing overlooked and overheard noises and using sound as a documentative and creative medium. His sound recordings of people, their activities, experiences and environs have contributed to art installations, phone apps, archival records, radio broadcasts, podcasts, dance performances, public consultation events, musical compositions, a computer game, a eulogy and sound tracks to short films. www.stuartbowditch.co.uk email@example.com Instagram @bowditchstuart Twitter @stuartbowditch
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.
This year the theme for groving is Relic
- an object esteemed and venerated because of association with a saint or martyr
- a survivor or remnant left after decay, disintegration, or disappearance
- a trace of some past or outmoded practice, custom, or belief
The sense of relic associated with religious remains or sacred objects gives the theme its relevance to Bury St Edmunds.
From St Edmund’s first burial place at Hoxne, c 841 – 870, his relics were removed in the tenth century to Beodricsworth, later called St. Edmundsbury, where the abbey of that name was later built. The acquisition of such a notable relic in 903 made the monastery a place of pilgrimage.
His remains were kept in a shrine in the Abbey but were lost during Henry VIII's wide scale dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century. The commissioners who dissolved the Abbey in 1539 mentioned nothing about the body, and given St Edmund's royal status it is likely they would have allowed the monks to remove the body from the shrine and relocate it. According to a third-hand account from 1697, monks placed the saint’s remains on an iron chest but the account doesn't give the location within the Abbey precincts where he was buried. However, the monks' cemetery is considered the most likely location, until recently a tennis court in the Abbey Gardens.
The discovery of the bones of Richard III in a car park in Leicester in 2012, confirmed by pathologists in 2019, created renewed interest in the town in finding the remains of Saint Edmund.
Religious remains are probably the most common understanding of the term relic. It comes as something of a surprise to see it used of recent history: technology is developing so quickly that CDs, early mobile phones and Amstrad computers are considered relics. Televisions are heading the same way, as young people access entertainment online. My favourite is the assertion that the era of supermodels is a relic of the 1970s, one that we will not see again. I’m not sure how Naomi Campbell et al would feel about being referred to as relics!
Natural Monument: Chalk Stream, Jacquie Campbell, 2021, chalk, tennis ball
Campbell's second monument has been placed beside The Lark, a chalk stream that runs through Bury St Edmunds. There are 3,000 chalk streams in the world, but 85% of them are in England. The combination of geology and climate creates a unique microsystem with supports particular wildlife.
Brown nut, seed husk, encoded tree,
Say, what do you recall?
The memory of how suddenly,
how violently I fall.
The way I’ll split and shoot and bear
up leaves that turn to green,
the heat of sun, the touch of air,
and darkness in between.
My thickening trunk that browns and grows
towards the teasing sky,
as leaves and fruits and falls and blows
mark seasons passing by.
Brown nut, seed husk, encoded tree,
are you remembering what will be?
A different kind of history.
A glimpse of future memory.
Jacquie Campbell As someone who is simultaneously baffled and fascinated by the everyday world, my artistic activity allows me to think through the questions that niggle at the back of my mind. I am often absorbed with how we perceive and connect with barely visible and overlooked processes that exist within our surroundings and everyday life. I construct spaces, journeys and sometimes objects that invite ‘noticing’. I am interested in how we can practice ‘deep looking’, beyond the visual, using all our senses. I wonder whether a stronger understanding and better connection with these unexamined processes would lead to different ways of being in the world: a sense of wellness and a new environmental conversation.
Instagram @ jaccampbellrojo @flow.east @wildhabits2020 www.jaccampbell.com
Natalie Low enjoys putting words on paper and believes that everyone has a book of some sort inside them. She has published two chapbooks, Dementia (2015) and School Run (2017). She is a regular contributor to CollectConnect exhibitions, both as a writer and artist/maker. Instagram nat.low Facebook Natalie Low
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.