Some people stare at their phones when walking, I stare at the ground. Step by step it’s exciting, as I never know what I’m going to find: an earring, telephone wire, a rusty key, an old mortgage document. Yes, I once did find an old mortgage document at the side of the road! I picked it up. I made a piece of work inspired by it, Nesting Box.
Later I played detective and tracked down its owner. I met with the owner of the document and her daughter at Quilligan’s, a little café near Winter Gardens in Blackpool – very nice. The property that the document was affiliated with had been sold decades before. We discussed the mystery. To this day we have no idea how it landed by the side of the road 30 years later. It is suspect that it had been in a skip and snatched by the wind.
Yes, stepping outside is always a creative adventure and a bit of urban archeology. There is always the possibility of finding something inspirational for a new artwork or finding the perfect something to add to a developing piece. Sometimes my assemblages will sit for years until I find just the right thing. It could be something found on the side of the road or hidden in grass until spotted. I have spent my whole life training my eyes to hone in on shiny and/or unusual things.
A current developing piece that has been patiently waiting to be finished started with the neck of a guitar I found washed up on the beach. I have used an old part of a writing box as the frame lining it with an old game board. I keep adding and subtracting bits. The focal point is the box with a camera lens in the middle with an eye embedded in it. Who is looking out of the box at the viewer?
The half moon silver pieces I have had for well over ten years. It was serendipitous to find identical pieces in copper a couple of years ago at a boot sale. I found the long decorative pillars just this summer at a boot sale and I believe I’ve nearly got all the bits to complete the piece. Hoorah! This piece is evolving into a story about music and life journeys. Life can be a game questioning how are you going to play it? Where are the game pieces? Who are the game pieces? Now I have a choice of putting those on the piece or do I allow the viewer to imagine what or who they are?
Below this piece begging to be complete, I have a drawer that I keep my treasured found finds. Not much categorizing happens in this drawer other than throwing rusty bits in a bag. The bigger bits go into a box. If they are pieces of run over glasses (those things for your eyes) they will be tossed into the glasses box.
Part of the fun of getting inspiration from unexpected finds is once collected, the disorganized picking and trawling – probably not the most time efficient but much more fun.
At the end of the day, treasure finding adventures can be plastic days or metal days or days of finding strange pieces of wood. Whatever the object it needs to speak to me before it is picked up, handled, marveled over and brought back to live with all the other amazing creative possibilities. Objects speak to me louder than texts when out on a walk. The phone is for sitting down and a nice cup of tea.