Each piece of work will respond to aspects of the house, garden and the long held skills of local craftspeople (specifically Burfield’s Glove Makers). The work will explore the depiction of the natural world within our domestic spaces; with reference to the arts and crafts influence in the 20th century renovations of the house and garden, and the many depictions of strange flora and fauna in Lyle’s eclectic collection of wooden panelling. The work is also designed to question assumptions about the aesthetic of leather, provoking a closer look, and articulate the diverse and patient making involved in working with such a material in both a contemporary and traditional context.
I imagine a spectacular flower taken from the Jekyll influenced white garden to place within the house, although on closer inspection all is not as it first seems! A hybrid of plants from the garden, and flora and fauna taken from the panelling, a spherical form made of many components or ‘flower heads’ will allow a variation in each one; an eclectic but cohesive hybrid! This piece is primarily made of vellum with hair sheep and deer leather (from Burfields) detailing.
Integrated into this piece will be a tribute to the glove makers at Burfields. I was very struck by the intuitive knowledge of material and process which the glove makers seem to possess which is only achieved through hours and years of practice. Each maker will be represented by a single component, a repetitive plant form echoing the quiet, patient making involved in these processes. Most will be anonymous although I’m hoping to get a list of names. I’m also in the process of collating specific information about the glove making lives of some of the Burfield employees allowing a more personal dedication in some aspects of the work.
This piece will be based on a pair of gloves which Burfield’s have kindly agreed to supply. These will be the correct fit for head gardener Christine Brain. The gloves will be covered in leather lichens made from the leather scraps supplied by Burfields and based on lichen forms found in the garden at Barrington.
Although rendered impractical by the application of the lichens I thought it would be appropriate that the gloves fit Christine as a tribute to her work and expertise in the garden.
As lichens are an indicator species they tell an alternative history of the house and its’ environs in the century since its renovation. The archive records state that the walls and gates are 20th century constructions but stone may have been recycled from earlier building.