My work during the Stories Out of Place project took several forms as I explored the two sites. I wanted to investigate the relationship between people (myself included) and these places - and to look at stories, anecdotes and impressions people had created of these environments.
Following the sites through the seasons was extremely important and inspirational for me. Both Calke and Clumber offered an incredibly rich and varied landscape of buildings, woodland, water, fields, pathways, clearings and more formal gardens. Places where things of such different scales co-exist and depend upon one another.
They are both places where humans have collected for years upon years – be it trees, plants, stuffed birds, wax seals, fossils and so very much more. These collections are evident and displayed in different ways – both inside buildings but also in the gardens and woods. I’m fascinated by this urge to collect, to hoard, to gather - and to then categorise, arrange, display and label things. I’m also captivated by the way nature encroaches into these human collections, often changing and adding to them.
I’m drawn to little snippets which hint at things – evidence of the activity of humans and animals where the full story is hidden and you are left pondering and questioning. I was fascinated by the signs I found – people had deliberately left their marks in various ways, others by accident and even by carelessness. Everywhere there was rich evidence of insects, birds and mammals.
I gathered photographs and thoughts through spending time alone in certain spots, watching, listening, waiting, wondering… I collected many second hand books and layered words with my photographs, trying to create books and my own little “mini museum” that asked questions and hinted at possible stories and tales.
Within this I collected certain things such as shadows across the landscape and buildings, found words, marks and objects left by people and animals, and textures, patterns and tiny hidden away traces of activity.
I wanted to create guides to the sites that are more abstract rather than literal depictions – hinting at possibilities and asking questions rather than answering them.