In 2011 I made a series of works that I refer to as “Burn” prints.
The series was made by placing a flat house shape, made from melamine, into a fire. Whilst the shape was burning I placed it on to paper. When the shape was removed a print was left; a ghostlike brand. During the burning the melamine surface fractured and the resulting burned shape have an appearance of a map or aged skin.
For Keepsake I am making a new series of prints, using a simple rectangular piece of melamine.
Home and family are for most of us at the core of our sense of ourselves. If we are fortunate they are secure enough that we can hold onto them and grow, but even in good times we have an awareness and fear of the threat of their loss. I have been a politically engaged person all my adult life and whilst my first response to the Grenfell fire and to so many deaths was one of anger about its social and economic context (and that perspective has not diminished) I have thought more and more about the many personal losses of the bereaved survivors.
The idea of the Keepsake project made me think about those things we might value and want to hang onto because they memorialise how we came to be who we are. I decided that one of my images would relate to a special family event. For such events there is often the one-off ceremonial garment. I still have fragments of my mother’s wedding veil from the 1930s, but for this project the loss of children’s lives made me think in particular of a baby’s baptism bonnet. Baptism is essentially a denominating event which marks the newcomer formally entering their cultural group.
I wanted my second image to depict an ordinary household object which could be elevated in a particular family to a special status. My image is of a glass sugar basin and sugar spoon. This particular basin was my mother’s, I saw it every day a child, as did my children who went to their school from her home. It is probably nearly 100 years old. I showed the image to my son, now in his forties and settled in the USA for more than 20 years and asked him if he knew what it was and he answered instantly “Nanna’s sugar bowl”. How fortunate are we that this ordinary item I took with me when my mother died is still our sugar bowl. I have recently wondered what seemingly ordinary items make their way in the backpacks of refugees across continents and what will be the stories told about them.
As a printmaker I usually use a combination of different printing techniques with hand finished drawing and additional colour. My images for Keepsake have a surface print background using embossed wallpaper. Memories of the past and of childhood often involve a remembered wallpaper pattern on a bedroom wall. The sugar bowl is depicted by a drypoint on plastic plate. Other parts of the images are created with marker pen.
For The Love Of People is an independent artist-led initiative which aims to apply artistic processes to wider social and political contexts.
For the Keepsake project we are creating a collective artwork called WE’RE ALL SOMEONE’S DAUGHTER, WE’RE ALL SOMEONE’S SON, which will be a collection of at least 72 “keepsakes”, miniature objects of wonder that contain our reflections of love, loss and life. We have been doing a variety of workshops with different groups and individuals. It’s never too late to get involved!
Get in touch with us on our facebook page if you want to take part 🙂
As part of an ongoing art protest project, #viraltile leaves ceramic intaglio tiles in public spaces for them to be discovered. #viraltile will be marking the route of the Bradford Silent Walk in solidarity with Grenfell.
The artwork “The Tower” represents:
22 residential storeys of the 24 storey tower block, 129 flats and 600 individual keys representing the Tower’s estimated number of residents.
I’ve made the moulds using liquid latex rubber and cast the keys out of jesmonite. The original idea of casting in porcelain didn’t work – but will experiment more in these new moulds. I love the way the metal keys have reacted with the latex – hence the different colours. This may alter on subsequent castings.
I decided to cast keys in a fragile material to depict the fragility of life. Each set of keys will represent a flat in the Grenfell Tower. 129 household flats. Each key represents a resident of Grenfell Tower – 600 is the estimated number.
We are living in extraordinary times! The image of Grenfell stands as a reminder of the death of a system that should be here to serve its people. We should be very sad for our society where our health and welfare are sold to the highest bidder, angry with a system that doesn’t support the most vulnerable and united in a hope that we can be part of the change that needs to happen.
Caroline Hick: River of Tears linocut detail
Caroline Hick: River of Tears linocut detail
A few years ago I chose to give up work to look after my lovely Mum who has Alzheimer’s. We came to live in Meanwood to be close to other members of our family. We are lucky – we are a close family. When I saw and read the news about Grenfell, I just couldn’t stop thinking about all those other families, who have been wiped out and devastated by a tragedy that could have been prevented.
This pair of prints is my way of trying to be part of an increasing number of people who want change to happen and justice to be seen to be done.