Added on by Sabine Kussmaul, visual artist.
Black earth, volcanic sand and craters
I have spent the last week cycling and sporting around the North of Lanzarote. The bike allowed me to glide on long, winding roads through landscaps of bizarrely shaped mountains and broken up ground made from flows of lava seemingly petrified in mid-flow.
How, I wondered have the local people, their folk talkes and communal memories been shaped by the experience of living in such a special environment and living through the trauma of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Father Andrés Lorenzo Curbelo from the parish of Yaiza recounted that...."On the first day of September 1730, between nine and ten o' clock at night, the earth suddenly opened near Timanfaya,... An enormous mountain emerged from the ground with flames coming from its summit. It continued buring for 19 Days."

Would local people's feeling for their own position in the world, their relationship to the ground (and therefore agriculture) be determined by witnessing such events, and by living in an environment where the soil is black and vast areas of land are impenetrable and look to the eye as if a giant had stirred through flowing magma before freezing its shapes through a spell of magic.

Some of my thoughts when making new artwork move a lot around images of environment and buildings, real or fictive, and how these feature in people's thoughts, feelings, memories.


The Environmental Memory
I found that Malcom Quantrill elaborates about the wider context of such things in "The Environmental Memory". He explains that we all have a pool of imagined images that make up our past experiences and feelings relating to architecture, land and habitation. Such images, that we keep in our heads and that link to memories of life events and feelings feature architecture in a special kind of way. Each individual's personal  "pool of images" (that is my own naming of it here) makes up a structure or grid that make us read new existing landscape and building contexts (if seen for real or in a picture). 

I wonder, how people's set of imagined architecture could be used and challenged when I am planning and making new artwork that offers a visual experience that has real, imagined, impossible, strange, ...comforting, irritating, ....architecture in it. 

And what about shapes of houses or buildings in the forms of semi-visual memories ...
... Should I make new artwork that depicts  a town-full of one's own buildings of events and traumas, arranged in ways so it suits the structure of our memory...






Shapes to house memories of events or feelings
I have been experimenting with sketches in pencil, trying to paint/draw an environment that reminds of a place to live in or of an outdoor market square area where people could meet. 
I wanted to place objects there that are neither building, nor human form, but some kind of vagueness of a movement or an event like the faint memory of something that happened there or was remembered at that spot. 

What shape would I draw for the feeling of abandoned-ness, or for the memory of a wonderful childhood event,...?

It is intriguing to relate such thoughts to Gaston Bachelard's "Shells" and "Nests". He describes them as special features of people's visual feelings for things relating to architecture. In "The Poetics of Space" he writes how shells have an unresolved mystery and dynamic to them that encourages our creative thoughts and how nests have this quality of home, discovered after the children have gone, the past of some caring activity that is no more...
His book is very hard to chew, but worth while every page...though it seems that one has to grow a certain stamina to marshall through it.


Liverpool Biennial and Re-view Textile
Since last summer I have been part of group of textile based artists working in the Liverpool area. For this year's Biennial we are collaborating in small groups to produce pieces on which all of the group members will have worked on. The theme of the Biennial is "hospitality" and we are making this the topic of our works. The "end products" will be exhibited in "the Baltic" during the course of the Biennial. Very exciting. 
For now, artwork needs doing...








Transfigured spaces
January has been the time for planning. As part of Macclesfield's Barnaby festival at the end of June this year, I will be exhibiting new artwork that draws form the location of the exhibition, which will be Short House (on Short Street), off the 108 steps. So far I have decided to name the new artworks under the title of "Transfigured Spaces" as I will relate to the location, but in a loose, more abstract way.