Piano Piece : learning a slow time of voice and repair through the surrendered parts of a once loved piano.

#Pianopiece: gathering words and voices

Am nervously and excitedly gathering for my weekend of a deep dive into this #Pianopiece project. I set myself a ‘residency’ away from home to a making  space. 

Choosing books and essays to take with me, two selected piles. One, books I have read since 2020 when i first set this project as a creative task to unsettle practice and restimulate my sculptural roots. They have offered focus and resolve, teased out themes and stimulated voices where spacious becoming had exhausted itself. . 

The second pile I take as reminders of love and learning… pivotal reading at tender stages in life that broke the world open.  Their alongsideness, as does my closest companion that is drawing; offers a simultaneous comfort and disquiet. 

There is hope these books will create a hum, a companionship, a reminder of hard work and acute vision about my space. 🙏 thanks to all these brilliant authors ⭐

13th June 2021

PianoPiece: movement 

Enjoyed a roll of conversations and engagement this past week, supporting movement of this work, so long in observation. These days are numbered watching the deterioration and change through weather and time. Days stretch ahead of me to journey and unlock, gather and reform.

I have created a small residency in July – braving removing the parts from the garden to a large space… laying out all the dried and drifted veneer… stretching drawings and piano tendrils. Finding a quiet space to write and develop the themes of slow waiting and repair, voice and essence.

In July I travel to Bath to visit the @thepianoshopbath and immerse, planning my questions, gathering excitement… to learn the smell and soul of piano

29th May 2021

Codes and knowing

Working outside with veneer and the extraordinary discovery of letters from the original piano. A delicious tale of a past life, past owner…the clearing of ash early morning from a firebowl to find the glinting corners of these remaining letters. A process of washing, sifting, washing, sifting a reveal. Excitedly gifted to me as the ongoing story of these piano parts remains in partial, curious construction. A short hand – exquisite – suitably secret in code.

Numbers 4 and 9 appear on this subtle hued and dried out piece of veneer; a staggering reveal in this my 50th year. Pursuing identity and repair through this work continues inspired by a multitude of women, whose voices and books sound out through word and walking, stitch and time…
PianoPiece: movement 

Enjoyed a roll of conversations and engagement this past week, supporting movement of this work, so long in observation. These days are numbered watching the deterioration and change through weather and time. Days stretch ahead of me to journey and unlock, gather and reform.

I have created a small residency in July – braving removing the parts from the garden to a large space… laying out all the dried and drifted veneer… stretching drawings and piano tendrils. Finding a quiet space to write and develop the themes of slow waiting and repair, voice and essence.

In July I travel to Bath to visit the @thepianoshopbath and immerse, planning my questions, gathering excitement… to learn the smell and soul of piano

3 May 2021

Gathering in the grasses 

Conscious of the rain I gathered in the grasses.  Having dried in the sun they are crisp and brittle – much like the veneer off these ever transforming piano parts, that splinter under the softest of touches.

I have lived  with these cut grasses a number of weeks, I fail to name them except the longer as perhaps a pampass.  They weave around my mind and through the piano tendrils, where sound seems still to linger, as they gain a copper hue.

Currently immersed and entranced reading ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ by Robin Wall Kimmerer her beautiful lessons and teachings of the reciprocal relationships of plants and indigenous wisdom… I  read and stretch her grace into this slow durational work.

Film 8th April 

‘…. A map of love indeed’

Catching a warmer morning with this extraordinary broken piano part, its becoming after a years slow surveillance under cold dark nights, cats prowling and garden secrets; has turned it full of subtle soft hued gifts.  Turning a curious object, with ‘piano’ about it and a seemingly endless effort of announcing its past, as another layer of veneer falls away.

I have thought of Frida Kahlo’s ‘The broken column’ as this column emerges, the green… the paper (sheet) she holds about herself, slant of gaze, inverted classic, the just turned… modesty, exposure, beauty, injury.  Holding… a sharply broken, raw wounded self.

Alongside I laid out recently chopped tall grasses so long turned to straw, long dead and tangled.  A risk, to cut, revealed green stems and a rose plant reaching, long spinkled stem for the light, the tiniest budded leaves.

‘… a map of love, indeed’ J Berger, The Shape of a Pocket

13th March  Visiting Veneer

The windblown garden has revealed new pieces of veneer lost from the piano pieces, born through recent extremes of weathering; now a collection of 44 pieces.

There is a comfort in returning to #HeleneCixous’ essay ’24 steps in the direction of Bathsheba’ a staple, a meditation; returning, looking, learning… a work of art, the work of making.  She reflects on Rembrandts ‘Bathsheba bathing’ 1654. Slow time…

Am struck by a dejavue, life lacking rhythm lacking time, turning to #PianoPiece who, striking her own steady, silent pace, reveals and leads.  Each piece launching a world of fabled storying… conveying material knowledge, histoire.  Profiles, woodness and messaging.  I enter happily into cultures new and far.

#PianoPiece is a durational work exploring the discarded gifted parts of a once loved piano; left to renature and depurpose in a suburban garden through a purposeful documentation: working story through #photography word and drawing.

27th March 2021  Dispersing Drawing

I bound a drawing, paper and graphite about the piano piees.  It curled its way as only elegance can, forced onto metal points, shards of veneer.  It was a deliberate ‘dispersal’ drawing – a sharp sweep of arm that strikes across – no doubt if measured, the calculus would fall in line with a compression unspoken, trapped between tongue and heart.  Lines witness lines, masked by poise.

I visited recently and a care tinged tenderness struck.  Witnessing the steady collapse over months I noticed a skeletal leaf wrapped itself about her home.  Enough I wondered, these lessons in drawing forth, this patience and waiting…

27th February Drawing in the Sun

Repaired by the sunshine, to gather and draw with an insect eyed focus on weathered wood and the smallest of metal parts.  A slow quiet learning focused by insect and birdsong for a voice.

‘Drawing back and caught longing for a stretching sound, beyond fingertips… for a closer examining, a keener ear… to lean.  Her… tuning in, sounding…. a precious… lost…past loss’

20th Feb  Curating Veneer

A curious practice of learning and documenting 36 pieces of piano veneer gathered, dried and wondered upon 12 months.

Each morphed itself loose from the gifted parts of a disguarded #piano that I have kept and put in the garden as a creative resource (early 2020 pre covid).

Posing an energizing of sculptural practice; a method of working themes and investigations sculpted and embedded in #drawing; of a time set to slow.