Monday, 7 October 2019

The Art of Caring Closing Party

Last Friday we closed The Art of Caring exhibition with a new film from the talented Anna Bowman. She interviewed several artists from the exhibition and reveals the stories behind their work.

We are very grateful for all the support from the hardworking curatorial team at The Arts Project, including Peter Herbert, Elaine Harper-Gay and Simon Richardson. We will be opening submissions for the sixth year of the Art of Caring in January 2020, so please check out the website then.
Thank you too to all the artists who contributed work and their time to this unique exhibition.

Anna Bowman also made this extra film about the Opening Night for our delight.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

What If exhibition in Tolworth


'What If' is a new exhibition that celebrates a world of whimsical and playful futures. Posters are being placed at Tolworth railway station over the next few months that we hope will be imaginative and silly. They might even make you laugh and perhaps provoke a thought or two.

For us it is a new format here at CollectConnect and we are slowly trialling the concept. The first posters are from Alban Low who many of you will know and Sam Tout, a new young artist with an inquisitive mind. Dean Reddick and Bryan Benge will be following with their own What Ifs.

Tolworth is the gateway to new worlds, it is the home of imagination where every future is possible. We are very grateful to The Community Brain who has helped with this exhibition and artist Debbie Chessell who has her studio at Tolworth Station.

#whatiftolworth
Sam Tout
Alban Low


Saturday, 7 September 2019

Jacquie Campbell - groving in Bury St Edmunds


This morning Jacquie Campbell announced a micro nature reserve in Looms Lane, prompting a response from poet Phil Barrett and Astra Papachristodoulou. 

I see a voice

A mouthpiece, a chink, an aperture, a hole in air, a hole in the wall;
Let’s get some cash out and leave a note – an IOU –
or put something in – a message in a bottle (if only to ourselves) –
in this small hideaway, this little hidey-hole, a crucible for making lead into gold.

A brick house, a round arch, a circular hole, a wheel of fortune.
Let’s spell it out – there’s nowhere left for us to go, and nowhere too small
for a nature reserve, a concept – considered or ill-conceived – concealed
in this last remaining hole. Are we big enough to take it on?

A smaller world that doesn’t exist yet, but will – and they don’t come
much smaller than this. Small enough to create its own horizons, and
close enough to look over or through. (But what’s on the other side?)
Does it matter? Does any hole make a home? (Except for you or me,

for whom time is running out – We’re running-out of homes!) Key stories, key facts,
key words, key holes, key stones, not a place to live in; a bee house, or bee hive,
a Borrowers’ hideaway, a place to grow up in, a gap between two holes or two
worlds. With a ring for the finger, a ball for a toe, and we shall have music

where ever we go; the soundtrack for a broken world, a world divided into two;
as re-inventing the wheel, round and round we go – the wheels on the bus;
the wheels of the world, a whole world, or a world in a hole, a hole in one,
symbolising a beginning or an end, a new horizon. A space or a ship,

a clean sheet or a clean shirt – the shirt off our backs – but where to now?
Where do we go? The down-ward spiral or slide, like a rolling stone. A deep place
or space, or a shallow hole, a natural place to hide in, a peep or pin or loop hole,
a place to hideout or a place to let go – on the way to somewhere else, with

somewhere else still to go. In or out, two sides of a gap between two holes. So,
where to next? – we’ve got (a lot) to learn, about making holes – and can’t conceive
of the consequences of such a world, where the inhabitants have had to leave,
have all flown, leaving an empty seedpod or shell, like an open door; a conker,
or canker, or this fallen apple, without a core.

Phil Barrett


mosaico

brickwork
brickwork bend
nestle - mend
around the curves
it seeks refuge

Astra Papachritodoulou


Jacquie Campbell As someone who is simultaneously baffled and fascinated by the everyday world, my art practice allows me to explore the questions that niggle at the back of my mind.  Often these questions focus on the entanglement of people, process and place.

​Recently I’ve become absorbed with those overlooked and often fleeting, opportunistic habitats that open up in the cracks and detritus of our built surroundings. How might a passer-by be invited  to experience and get to know these hidden places and processes? Would a different way of knowing our surroundings open up new and playful environmental thinking? For more details see www.jaccampbell.com Instagram @jaccampbellrojo Twitter @RojoArtists

Phil Barrett
taught art for 27 years, then retired to his home county of Norfolk where he concentrates on writing. He teaches creative writing, in schools and libraries across North Norfolk. He has won prizes and commendations in national competitions, and has been published in anthologies including In Protest: 150 poems for Human Rights (2013), Word Aid Anthologies Did I Tell You? (2010), and Not Only The Dark (2011), the Ink, Sweat and Tears webzine, and Poems in the Waiting Room in 2016 and 2019. In January 2017 he published a book of poems, Writing Me, about growing-up. ​​

​Astra Papachristodoulou, artist and poet, is a recent graduate from the MA Creative Writing (Poetic Practice) at Royal Holloway. She has read at poetry events including the European Poetry Festival and The Enemies Project. Her poetry has appeared in small magazines and anthologies including The Tangerine, Eborakon Journal and 3:am Magazine. Astra delivers experimental poetry workshops at the University for the Creative Arts and freelances for the Poetry Society. She won the Pebeo Mixed Media Art Prize in 2016, and her visual work has been showcased at contemporary art exhibitions including the National Poetry Library (Southbank Centre) and the Museum of Futures in London. 



Thursday, 5 September 2019

Sarah Sabin - groving exhibition in Bury St Edmunds


Today we have a multiple of four exquisite works by Sarah Sabin, which have been placed in The Great Churchyard, amongst the trees, gravestones and monuments. Words in response are by Sue Burge. 


Imperative

            twist the pale lid – an anti-clockwise moon
            unfurl the tight spiral of fine weave
            use your unpricked fingertips
            to trace each careful silk-sewn ridge

            wind the ashes of a small and fineboned thing
            you didn’t mean to kill
            into the cloth’s dark heart

            twist the pale lid – a clockwise moon
            suspend your disbelief for seven days
            press your ear to the light tight grain
            listen for a quiet and forgiving flutter
            a ready steady beat

            turn and release

Sue Burge


Sarah Sabin is an artist and educator living and working  in Colchester. My work has been concerned for a number of years with 'digging about under the surface.' I interpret and reimagine places and their histories, through making, public participation, and site specific projects. I use a wide range of media in two and three dimensions. I don't like to pin myself down to a particular material, often choosing what feels to me, most appropriate or with a connection to a particular  site.

Sarah studied BA  Fine Art at  Sunderland University and has an MA fine art at NUA - Norwich university of the Arts. Previous Commissions, exhibitions and residencies include Firstsite, Colchester; the Foundling Museum, London; UCL institute of archaeology;, and a grove residency. She is currently working on a public realm architectural intervention. See www.sarahsabin.co.uk

Sue Burge is a North Norfolk based poet and freelance tutor in creative writing and film studies.  Her first collection In the Kingdom of Shadows was published in 2018 alongside her debut pamphlet Lumiere.
For more information go to www.sueburge.uk


Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Deborah Pipe - groving in Bury St Edmunds


Deborah Pipe's second horse and clay sculpture has found a niche in the abbey ruins in Bury St Edmunds. Two responses have been written, by Astra Papachristodoulou and Amilia Graham.


I Predicted Both 

Out of rubble
stones turn

into tableaux-

The horses were rising

A horde of limbs
recast as a
unified body.

Anthem for a new form.

Amilia Graham



metamorphoses

moving sand horses
caught in moving land
moment to moment
lands caught in manic
rage of moving lands
moondrifts the horses
moonshines the sand
concrete sand-drifts
creating momentum

Astra Papachristodoulou


Deborah Pipe focuses on the dynamics of clay and considering the responsiveness and tactile opportunities of other 3D materials. She is currently investigating the often grotesque images and marginalia found in early manuscripts and in architectural features. After a career working in mental health services she is highly conscious of art as a media for social change and a form of self-expression and healing. The multi-disciplinary and responsive nature of groving and opportunity to make social comment made the invitation to join this project particularly attractive and exciting.

Amilia Graham is interested in the way capitalism informs relationships between humans and nature. She works across all different mediums, but is primarily drawn to time-based practices such as writing and film. Her research draws from psychoanalysis, film theory, feminism and Marxism. She has completed a foundation in art and design at Central St Martins and will soon begin a degree in fine art and history of art at Goldsmiths. See www.amiliagraham.uk and Twitter @AmiliaGraham

Astra Papachristodoulou, artist and poet, is a recent graduate from the MA Creative Writing (Poetic Practice) at Royal Holloway. She has read at poetry events including the European Poetry Festival and The Enemies Project. Her poetry has appeared in small magazines and anthologies including The Tangerine, Eborakon Journal and 3:am Magazine. Astra delivers experimental poetry workshops at the University for the Creative Arts and freelances for the Poetry Society. She won the Pebeo Mixed Media Art Prize in 2016, and her visual work has been showcased at contemporary art exhibitions including the National Poetry Library (Southbank Centre) and the Museum of Futures in London. 


Alban Low - groving in Bury St Edmunds


Alban Low's second sculpture, I would prefer a fair trial, under the shadow of the noose, is skulking in Whiting Street, words by Amilia Graham and Tim Welton.

Foreign Bodies

I have seen the weird animals
and the little white flowers
with divine appendages

In the whites of the eyes-
I have seen them in your eyes.

Hold them inside, under the skin.
Let rot.
Go stale.
Let them in.

Amilia Graham 

----------------------------------------------
In the land of Cockaigne
The triple towers of Mammon
Rise to the clouds
From roots in grow-bags
Of corporate snow
Dead presidents
Scowl
From their lofty penthouse
At pavement trash
 In the shadow of the noose
Eager hearts
Chattering like parrots
Trade weightless pounds
At the speed of electrons
Ignoring the dull cries of
Doorway beggars
Feeding from the same trough
 Binary lives
Ones and zeros
Side by side
High flyers and street bums
Drop a dot and slide down
The smoking chimneys pots
From skyscraper to street
The climb is slower than the descent
But one end to the other
Is just a step away

Tim Welton


Alban Low is involved in many creative projects including album artwork, publishing chapbooks, making films, maps, conceptual exhibitions, live performance and good old drawing. He is artist-in-residence at the School of Nursing, Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education at Kingston University and St George's University of London. Low spends his evenings in the jazz clubs of London where he captures the exhilaration of live performances in his sketchbook. This year he is working on a walking project about London Musicians from the 1920s-1940s. In 2018 he spent a week at grove with Kevin Acott where they published two chapbooks. See http://albanlow.com

Amilia Graham is interested in the way capitalism informs relationships between humans and nature. She works across all different mediums, but is primarily drawn to time-based practices such as writing and film. Her research draws from psychoanalysis, film theory, feminism and Marxism. She has completed a foundation in art and design at Central St Martins and will soon begin a degree in fine art and history of art at Goldsmiths. See www.amiliagraham.uk and Twitter @AmiliaGraham

Tim Welton is a theatre practitioner who, as an actor and director has worked on numerous productions including Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (Royal National Theatre) London Road (Royal National Theatre) Dancing at Lughnasa (Garrick Theatre) and Cabaret (Lyric and Savoy Theatre and National Tours).

He has written for theatre (Carnival UK) and online digital media (BBC Radio Jam) and is currently developing and writing new musical commissions with Three Pin Productions, the brainchild of West End Performer Ruthie Henshall and Musical Director Paul Schofield.


Monday, 2 September 2019

Chris Brown - groving / Acts of Resistance


Chris Brown's intriguing collage has been left in a gap in the stonework in The Traverse. The response is by Ed Arantus. 

Poppin' pills is the kowtow
Ride the hills we all know
Eat them on a Sunday
More again on Monday
Highs lowkey at the freak show
My Mum says it’s a no-no
But she’s just jumpin’ on her coco
We’re kickin', we’re shakin', more tremblin'
Don't be lost kin, cos’ we dyin', soon fryin'
Anything can happen at the freak show

High town, you got a big bung like a number one
It's freak night, one big freak show
If you feel like a roll, I found this place where
Poppin' pills is the love we know

Ed Arantus


Chris Brown is an artist and filmmaker. He has worked as an art therapist in the NHS and as a lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is currently a freelance clinical supervisor and an editor for ATOL: Art Therapy OnLine. See http://journals.gold.ac.uk/index.php/atol/index,  https://vimeo.com/channels/theuncproj


Ed Arantus published his first work in the Censored Zine in 2010 and has exhibited his work ever since at venues like the Contemporary Arts Research Unit in Oxford and the Museum of Futures in Surbiton. Earlier this year he was a writer for the Love Tokens and Bad Pennies exhibition with CollectConnect. See  http://edarantus.blogspot.com/ and twitter @edarantus


Sunday, 1 September 2019

Bryan Benge - groving / Acts of Resistance


Bryan Benge's second badge is propped uneasily in a window in the disused Cornhill Walk, words by Lynda Turbet.

Notice

This facility is provided by
the British government for
your convenience.

Please dispose of your
unwanted items
carelessly eg:

open borders
free trade
foreign investment
strong sterling
moral leadership
international respect
a United Kingdom
(and democracy)

Flying pigs will remove to
sunlit uplands and/or
uncharted waters
at midnight
31 October 2019

Lynda Turbet


Bryan Benge has exhibited widely, including with the London Group, and recently in In The Dark, The Cello Factory, London; The Art of Caring, St Georges Hospital, London in 2018 and 2019; Penrith Gallery, St Ives; Pulchri Studio, The Hague. He has work in numerous private collections, and in the Tate Gallery Archive. See www.bryanbenge.co.uk

Lynda Turbet observes the world from North Norfolk and tries make sense of it all through writing.


Simon Brewster - groving / Acts of Resistance


Simon Brewster's second artwork contrasts with another figurative sculpture in the vicinity of the cathedral, eliciting an intriguing response from Tim Welton.

​Jessica blinked her eyes and tried to waken her senses. It wasn’t that she found the services in the Citadel boring; on the contrary she mostly looked forward to the rambling stories read from the old brown leather book; but today she felt as if a fog was lying heavy in her head. The slow voice of the minister plodded on and showed no sign of being able to burn away the numbing haze, so Jessica resigned herself to drifting in the currents of the half-sung language; that strange vernacular that only the devout use. Ancient and arcane phrases, which sound familiar, but resist clear comprehension and so lend an impression of awe and solidity.

Today the congregation were being reminded of the story of the Sacrificial Council. One of the four cornerstones of the New Religion. She looked around the Citadel. There must be a statue or painting of it somewhere. There were in most Citadels. Her mother would have shuddered; she who never really appreciated the beauty of the five branched gibbet. She thought it was a gloomy image and she couldn’t understand why a religion could be based on something so ghoulish. Jessica understood. Every religion has a dark core, the acknowledgement and acceptance of which allows us to see the beauty in the world. She smiled at the memory of the countless times she had won that particular argument with her mother; and then frowned as she momentarily doubted whether the conviction was actually her own or whether it had been placed there during the long Citadel study classes.

Her eyes fell on the lower left chancel step. There it was. The statue with the blue core and copper branches and the disgraced Council in their traditional white hanging from the twining coil of the metal gallows tree.

She loved the name of the five council members. Tod, Rob, Slave, Bunter and Cray

But as she stared at the icon she was forced to blink her eyes again, although this time not to ward off her drowsiness but to check whether what she thought she saw was true. Why had she never noticed this before? She knew the tale by heart. How the five council members had taken the town to the brink of destruction;  how five men had used their power and position to plunder the copper from beneath the town for their own profit leaving the inhabitants broken and reeling; but also how five men, when confronted with their transgression, chose this unique and honourable form of mutual sacrifice to show penance to their wronged people.

She was sure that she had looked before at the small but perfect representation of the story, which now stood on the lower left chancel steps. But what she had never noticed was that here, one of the disgraced men had been replaced by a woman…

Tim Welton


Simon Brewster has an MA in Fine Art from Central St Martins College of Art & Design. He exhibits widely, including solo shows at W3 Gallery, Exposure Gallery, Pitzhanger Manor and the Royal Institute in London. This year he has exhibited in Thought Atlas and Cabinet at Espacio Gallery in London. See www.simonbrewsterart.com and Instagram simonbrewster99

Tim Welton is a theatre practitioner who, as an actor and director has worked on numerous productions including Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (Royal National Theatre) London Road (Royal National Theatre) Dancing at Lughnasa (Garrick Theatre) and Cabaret (Lyric and Savoy Theatre and National Tours).

He has written for theatre (Carnival UK) and online digital media (BBC Radio Jam) and is currently developing and writing new musical commissions with Three Pin Productions, the brainchild of West End Performer Ruthie Henshall and Musical Director Paul Schofield

Friday, 30 August 2019

Julia Manheim - groving / Acts of Resistance


Julia Manheim's small artwork has appeared in Abbeygate Street, Bury St Edmunds today as part of the new groving exhibition. Words come from Kevin Acott.

Read this aloud and as quickly as possible. We don’t have much time.

I want to tell you about this geezer - diamond geezer - drank Double Diamond most of the time this geezer did, at least in photos, you know what I mean? It’s tough right now, I understand that, he says, some of my best friends, many of my fans, are diamonds in the rough too, he says, like you, he says, trust me he says, I’m one of you he says, just trust me, I get what you’re going through, it’s tough - so tough - but I’ll make it all go away, trust me I’ll make it right, I’m one of you, always have been...

On the radio in the USA, they say, when I was still at school, there was a DJ called Dave Diamond (look him up) who was funny and clever and wise and kind, wisely played the fool, and flicked and kicked and twisted words (in a good way), hit his listeners' truth and hope all over the baseball diamond of their shared lives, he was a girl’s best friend was Dave Diamond...

Anyway, back to Double Diamond Man: he drops Latin into his conversations with us and is adamant (get it?) he only lets us know what he knows because he’s one of us, even got a bus once, sits in pubs and - though we all know adamao (the root of the word) means ‘I tame’ or ‘I subdue’ in Greek - he still fools enough of us enough of the time. Diamonds are forever, after all.


Read this next bit more slowly.

1) Did you know diamonds refract?
They deflect the straight path of light.
2) I think we’re all, in essence, blood diamonds. In this time of conflict we sit while he uses us to fund his efforts to make war, to forge ugliness from beauty.
3) We should make Dave Diamond our leader. Before it’s too late.

Kevin Acott 

Julia Manheim's work has encompassed contemporary jewellery, public art projects, sculpture, installation and video. As grove resident artist in July this year, Julia walked through Bury St Edmunds and the discarded objects that she found took on a new life in a beautiful  installation.  See www.quay2c.com/index.php/m2/detail/julia_manheim1

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 own acts of resistance have included wearing socks with ‘Tuesday’ on them on a Thursday and ordering coffee before the starter



Thursday, 29 August 2019

Deborah Pipe - groving / Acts of Resistance


Deborah Pipe's miniature monumental relief has found a home in the Abbey Gate.


Horses for Courses

I sit at the back
of beyond.

And, yes,
the horses came

but left again –
as in some mid-century

relief
by Kenneth Armitage,

or reminiscent of
a poem by Edwin Muir –

pre-dating Bill Viola’s
visitors from another world.

This is (clearly) sculpture –
having all the qualities,

all the hall-marks, (hoof marks),
of process

demonstrating the elements
that went into its making –

even more than painting –
more evocative than reality,

as art can be.
Or like Chinese Warriors,

newly discovered,
half buried in earth,

in their own history,
like memory –

the back-end of course –
like the back-end of a horse

disappearing,
8 horses, of course –

the four horsemen
of the Apocalypse

and their doubles
nowhere to be seen –

8 being a nice round number –
arranged in this

marginally
rectangular frieze.

Melting into
(their own) history

of silence, a wall –
as if running away

from life itself,
or something beyond.

Beyond words –
representing mystery –

beyond meaning –
recognising memory

as a dance
or play without

plot or words.
This poem (also)

about leave taking,
about absence,

about images
in the fog of history,

about disappearances
or simply disappearing.

Phil Barrett



Phil Barrett taught art for 27 years, then retired to his home county of Norfolk where he concentrates on writing. He teaches creative writing, in schools and libraries across North Norfolk. He has won prizes and commendations in national competitions, and has been published in anthologies including In Protest: 150 poems for Human Rights (2013), Word Aid Anthologies Did I Tell You? (2010), and Not Only The Dark (2011), the Ink, Sweat and Tears webzine, and Poems in the Waiting Room in 2016 and 2019. In January 2017 he published a book of poems, Writing Me, about growing-up. ​​


Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Amilia Graham - groving / Acts of Resistance

Amilia Graham's cast silicone End of Body marks the junction between Northgate Street and Mustow Street. Two writers, Natalie Low and Phil Barrett, have responded to the piece.

Road-Fever
 
I must down to the motorway, to lie on the tarmac stretch
With the willowherb and the groundsel weed and the pinky-purple vetch.
And all I ask is another night with the sound of the engines baying
And the lights’ smear and the horns’ blare and the radios playing.
 
I must down to the roads again, to walk the crazing lines,
And all I ask is to resurrect and stand the fallen signs:
Yellow diamonds, circles of blue and red triangles,
Now-Delphic marks lying beneath ivy’s strangle.
 
I must down to the roads again, to sit in the rusting wrecks,
And long again for the window’s rush of air upon my neck.
And all I ask is the slap of speed, and the road fast disappearing,
And my hands on the wheel as I overtake, and my destination nearing.

​Natalie Low

Stating the bleedin' obvious

That’s a nice car.
That’s a nice car.

That’s an ice car!

Not mini people
know that –
Broom, Broom!

It’s a shadow,
it’s a shadow,

it’s shadow

more substantial
than it is itself.

Can it survive the heat
of Britain in the 21stcentury?
The heat
of a hot summer’s day? –
a nice car like that?

It’s very dinky.
Just right for a drinky?
Just right for a nice drinky
Is it ice for a nice drinky?
Nice for an ice drinky?

I’ll drink to that!

Is it ice
for a reason?
Or ice
for the season?

It’s not ice,
it’s resin.
It’s not nice
it’s resin.

And no longer British
but German –
not British!
that’s germane.

Is it just another thing
that’s melting away?
No longer British –
even by name?

Is it no longer British?
That’s a shame.

It’s like the ghost of itself,
as we are like the ghosts
of what we’ve been.

I’ll drink to that!

​Phil Barrett
Amilia Graham is interested in the way capitalism informs relationships between humans and nature. She works across all different mediums, but is primarily drawn to time-based practices such as writing and film. Her research draws from psychoanalysis, film theory, feminism and Marxism. She has completed a foundation in art and design at Central St Martins and will soon begin a degree in fine art and history of art at Goldsmiths. See www.amiliagraham.uk and Twitter @AmiliaGraham

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.

​Phill Barrett 
taught art for 27 years, then retired to his home county of Norfolk where he concentrates on writing. He teaches creative writing, in schools and libraries across North Norfolk. He has won prizes and commendations in national competitions, and has been published in anthologies including In Protest: 150 poems for Human Rights (2013), Word Aid Anthologies Did I Tell You? (2010), and Not Only The Dark (2011), the Ink, Sweat and Tears webzine, and Poems in the Waiting Room in 2016 and 2019. In January 2017 he published a book of poems, Writing Me, about growing-up. ​​

Monday, 26 August 2019

Dean Reddick - groving / Acts of Resistance

Dean Reddick's cluster of wasp galls are now nestling amongst climbing stems in the sensory garden in Bury St Edmunds' Abbey Gardens. Each gall contains a message.

Polished up perversions. Acorns awry, these nugget vessels contain secrets.
I've looked her up, you know, the culprit (the hero?) who moves in; redecorates it as her nursery.
This wasp.
Its life is the most extraordinary story involving, time, tactics and co-operation.
She doesn't rush.
Other species are involved as well as the mighty oak's offspring
and two years pass before her goal is achieved.
But she perseveres
and follows the plan nature devised for her. Quietly infiltrating, quietly recruiting,
quietly growing in strength. Biding her time.

Lynn Whitehead



Dean Reddick is an artist and an art therapist. He uses a range of media to make sculptures and drawings, often based on his fascination with birds and trees. He enjoys working collaboratively and is a regular exhibitor at Walthamstow's E17 Art Trail as well as being a co-founder member of the artist cooperative CollectConnect.
See www.deanreddick.blogspot.co.uk


Lynn Whitehead studied at Bretton Hall, and she has worked extensively as an actress/singer in regional theatres, on national and international tours, and at the Edinburgh Festival - with some forays into television and more into radio, which she loves. She has a wealth of experience writing for and running community theatre and singing classes  across all ages and abilities. She also works as a storyteller with RojoArt and has written her first solo show which is  about an 18th Century Midwife. 

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Simon Brewster - groving / Acts of Resistance

This Sunday an angel (?) alighted in a cool spot at the cathedral in Bury St Edmunds - with temperatures reaching 30 degrees who can blame him. Simon Brewster's miniature sculpture has elicited two quite different responses from writers Natalie Low and Phil Barrett. 

The dissenters’ prayer
Lord,
Let me remember, first, that you desire us to question and it is never wrong to disagree.
You are not pleased when we meekly accept and choke on our doubts.
You are pleased when we examine all sides in coolness and rationality.
To be the advocatus diaboli, to question truth and lies with equal fervour, is honourable and essential.
Fear must never stop me challenging what is wrong, or questioning what is unclear.
Let me embrace my part in squabbles and stand-offs, however big or small.
It may be my fate as a dissenter to be hanged or feted,
And I may grieve that the strongest argument is not always the one best supported by the facts.
Give me the strength to hold to the higher purpose of finding a more robust, universal truth.
I may feel out of step, but everyone in step on a bridge will destroy it, and themselves.
Let me keep a part of difference in my heart, and remember that you put it there.
Amen

Natalie Low



Icarus on Liquorice
 
Here am I, 
sitting on top of the world, 
sitting on top
of a coal black, oil black world.
 
I guess I could just wing it –
an Icarus on Liquorice –
after all it takes all sorts
to make a world.
 
I’ve grown wings,
graceful, natural,
like curved and curling 
feathers or leaves,
of starched fabric.
 
Unlike Icarus 
they weren’t 
cobbled together
from paper, wax and string –
(cobbled 
the unfortunate word).
 
I’ve got purpose, a mission,
sitting here waiting, ready 
to be born again.
 
Not a mid-life crisis;
but a new present; 
like a butterfly, 
this is my moment 
to become
the me I know I am.

But I’m not taking any chances
as I sit here, 
an angel of my own making.
 
I’m my own idea of myself,
sensibly attired –
perhaps I have already become
what I am.
 
Waiting here on this
black cloud, a tub
of liquorice, perhaps a little smug –
I feel comfortable 
about this flying thing.
 
I’ve got all the gear, 
(Oh God, am I   
turning into 
a ventriloquist’s dummy?)
bought from a Biggles 
and Ginger outfitters, 
via correspondence, 
of course.
 
Kept ever since 
in the dressing-up box 
I call a wardrobe 
under the bed,
waiting all these years 
for the right moment 
for an outing. Well, 
I’m well and truly ‘outed’ now, 
flying by the seat of my pants,
but carefully.

Yet these wings 
are the result of
inspiration 
not perspiration –
part organic, part mission – 
to give a gentle dusting 
to the ceiling of the world.

Phil Barrett


Simon Brewster has an MA in Fine Art from Central St Martins College of Art & Design. He exhibits widely, including solo shows at W3 Gallery, Exposure Gallery, Pitzhanger Manor and the Royal Institute in London. This year he has exhibited in Thought Atlas and Cabinet at Espacio Gallery in London. See www.simonbrewsterart.com and Instagram simonbrewster99
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. See Instagram nat.low

Phil Barrett 

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Alison Carlier - groving / Acts of Resistance



Alison Carlier's piece has found an appropriate home on a window sill at the top end of Guildhall Street. 
As I write this I’m thinking about Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk in Memphis, Tennessee. I’m driving down to New Orleans (the Ipswich of Louisiana) tomorrow and I’ve just been reading something Martin Luther King said: that the real opponents of equality, the real defenders of hate and bigotry, are not the racist right but moderate whites ‘who prefer order to justice’. I wonder what he’d make of our big-small British fears here, now? And I wonder how he would pick his way through the swamps of ‘identity’ we find ourselves negotiating, dodging tweeted bullets and tube-carriage abuse as we go?
They want us to be divided into ‘Remoaners’ or ‘Brexshiteers’, to feel one thing or the other, to render the other side unhuman, because they benefit if we do. The narrow, twisted little haters benefit. The clever, clean, privileged liberals benefit. The rest of us are left feeling a kind of resigned despair and try to close our eyes while they loot all the hope from our flooded hearts.

I think somewhere, deep down, we all know the truth: the truth that we each - every single one of us - have Brexity bits and Remainy bits. And that we each have a whole host of bigotries and fears and creepy-crawly darknesses, but just don’t want to admit it. And when they give us a Rubik’s cube and tell us we can easily solve it if only we saw it for the simple child’s game it really is, we believe them...

I nearly voted for Brexit. I nearly voted for Brexit because the EU is undemocratic and unjust, because it sadistically assaulted the Greek people, because it wilfully punished refugees, because it solidifies a fake-liberal, destructive capitalism which benefits - of course! - the few... and because Coca-Cola (oh yes!) sponsored the EU Presidency.

I nearly voted for Brexit because I mistrust those with power, because I mistrust the Clintons as much as I mistrust the Trumps, because I mistrust The Guardian as much as the Express... and because I mistrust the BBC as much as Sky.

I nearly voted for Brexit because the middle-classes didn’t want it, because Crouch End really didn’t want it at all, because I think I probably became a sort-of Socialist as a kid because I envied and admired and wanted to hurt my Mail-reading, sweet and distant Dad... and, I admit, because it’s fun to throw everything up into the air and see where it lands: order, followed by chaos, followed by rebirth.
I didn’t vote for Brexit in the end. Jo Cox was murdered and I realised I just couldn’t do it: and that, if I’m honest, was about as thoughtful and considered as I got as I walked into the booth.

So. Which is the true ‘democratic’ option now, three years on? I’ve no idea. I just know if we don’t acknowledge the devil in ourselves, the Christ in ourselves, the nurse in ourselves, the patient in ourselves, the refugee in ourselves, the border guard in ourselves, the Farage in ourselves, the Jean-Claude Juncker in ourselves... we’re done for.

This isn’t really another plea for unity. It is instead, I think, a plea for us to recognise and value our own individual disunities, to try to love our own order and disorder, our own justices and injustices, for us to celebrate them and to mock them, to let uncertainty seduce us, have its way with us, spill all over us. A desire for order, for certainty is the real enemy of resistance: three years on from my/your act of emotional cross-in-boxing, I’m sure of that.

Kevin Acott

Alison Carlier studied fine art at Surrey Institute of Art & Design and has an MA in Drawing from Wimbledon College of Arts. She went on to win the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2014, the first entry for a sound piece. She has exhibited widely, including at Fratton Festival of Light, Portsmouth; Netpark, Southend on Sea; Aspex, Portsmouth; National Gallery, London. She was awarded the Alexandra Reinhardt Residency and Commission in 2016.

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 own acts of resistance have included wearing socks with ‘Tuesday’ on them on a Thursday and ordering coffee before the starter.

Friday, 23 August 2019

Alban Low - groving / Acts of Resistance

A dodgy looking sculpture by Alban Low has been left at the top end of Abbeygate Street today.

drug stub doggy bag
suck it up
suck it in
dollar god
tobacco king
snow queen

Sue Burge



Alban Low is involved in many creative projects including album artwork, publishing chapbooks, making films, maps, conceptual exhibitions, live performance and good old drawing. He is artist-in-residence at the School of Nursing, Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education at Kingston University and St George's University of London. Low spends his evenings in the jazz clubs of London where he captures the exhilaration of live performances in his sketchbook. This year he is working on a walking project about London Musicians from the 1920s-1940s. In 2018 he spent a week at grove with Kevin Acott where they published two chapbooks. See http://albanlow.com

Sue Burge is a North Norfolk based poet and freelance tutor in creative writing and film studies.  Her first collection In the Kingdom of Shadows was published in 2018 alongside her debut pamphlet Lumiere. For more information go to www.sueburge.uk