NC BLOG Rose Lodge

Place is latitudinal and longitudinal within the map of a person’s life. It is temporal and spatial, personal and political. A layered location replete with human histories and memories, place has width as well as depth. It’s about emotions, what surrounds it, what formed it, what happened there, what will happen there.  Lucy Lippard, Lure of the Local; A Sense of Place.

My life without galleries would be hard to imagine but as a curator I look for alternative spaces to engage an audience. With a background as a theatre practitioner I have a strong awareness of storytelling and narrative reflected in the way I approach exhibition making.I am interested in the ‘theatre of space’ as a site for creating interventions and encounters. These itinerant places can be a catalyst for the unexpected making of new connections and discoveries. The interaction of objects within a physical space creates a dialogue with the viewer and informs the interpretation of the work.

A creative partnership with Irish potter Jack Doherty began with, A Place in the World 2012. Here a house, also our home, provided an architectural framework and a domestic context to explore ideas around the social life of objects. Waypoint is our third project together and it has been a delight to work in collaboration with the New Craftsman St Ives to showcase a new body of soda-fired porcelain vessels to create an exhibition extending beyond the boundary of the gallery to connect with key historic sites in St Ives.

Waypoint is presented in three contrasting locations; the ancient mariner’s chapels of St Nicholas and St Leonard and the fishermen’s shelters. These are places used every day by people whose lives are grounded in the community. By placing Doherty’s vessel forms within a specific site, the intention is to create a thoughtful space in which to view the work with sensitivity to the context of place. A sense of place and a personal journey are central to the exhibition. We navigate our way through life making tracks and leaving marks along the way. In his book the Old Ways Robert Macfarlane observes; a walk is only a step away from a story, and every path tells. He describes how paths connect and how ‘they relate places in a literal sense, and by extension they relate people.’

NC BLOG Blessing Cup

Jack Doherty is the last in a generation of seafarers on the north coast of Ireland. He says; ‘My family were fishermen, sailors and boat-builders who made their livelihood in one way and another from the sea. I was to follow my own path. It is from this starting point that I made the work for ‘Waypoint’. The porcelain vessel forms have now become guardians of ideas and emotions, occupying domestic spaces in a different way. We see them in evocative places where they change with the darkness and light and connect with them in moments coloured by our own emotional state. They carry with them messages of everyday life and tell us powerful stories from places without word.

Connecting pots and people Waypoint marks a memory, time and place in a personal journey reflected in the history of a fishing community dominated by the sea.

Sarah Frangleton Curator

Waypoint is on show at New Craftsman from Saturday 5 September to 9 October, with site specific element on show throughout the St Ives September Festival from 12 to 25 September.

Waypoint Guardian Vessel LRes

Images – Top: Rose Lodge | Middle: Blessings Cup | Bottom: Guardian Vessel. Photos by Rebecca Peters