As anyone who knows me will confirm, I have a bit of a thing about memories. Making them, recording them, keeping them and perhaps, at times, trying to make sense of them. This weekend, chatting to friends about the programme for the Cheltenham Literature Festival I spotted one of the themes for 2013: Memory. There are several events which look very tempting, including this one and this one.
The subject is very much on my mind right now as I’m trying to get my road trip journal going, having abandoned it half way through due to a lack of time. I’m aware that memories recorded at the time are very different from those remembered later and will refer frequently to scribbles in my notebook and the photographs I took for my own reference, like the one above. Of course, I remember my room number in the first hotel of a trip, I might even remember the second…but as the days pass and we check into another hotel, I sometimes make a quick snap “just in case”. After all, we’re security conscious enough not to carry our room key around in the wallet with the room number on it! Thankfully, there’s a clear visual clue in the photograph to which hotel it refers to – The Eisenhut, of course.
Fast forward to this morning, then. I was in Cirencester (not Baden Baden, as you might think from the map), having my hair cut and walked past Brewery Arts where there was an intriguing exhibition on. I usually drop in when I’m around, just to see what’s what, but today that title hooked me in, needless to say.
Oh my. The work is lovely. The design of the exhibition is super and the stories so inspiring. But what I found most impressive were the stories told by the artist by means of her reflective journal, shown alongside the finished artworks. Working with a group of elderly people in a care home and with some isolated carers, she created material for the exhibition, “A Celebration of Life and Love in Clay”. The clay faces and other items on show are only part of the project though, because the process of making prompted so many profound responses, emotions and memories from the group, which Claire carefully explored and recorded with great sensitivity.