It's funny how the smallest thing can bring back the fondest of memories, even something as simple as pulling on a t-shirt you've not worn for a long time. Recently I was digging through old clothes when I found a bright yellow and orange t-shirt. I remember buying it, it's child size, but I found the one that fitted me best, and go it anyway, I just loved it! I bought it at the Baltic in Newcastle, it's bright yellow, with a big orange Angel of the North on it, with the wings wrapping all the way round to the back of the t-shirt, and it makes me think of those times I climbed up and sat on those wings.
Throw back to 2012:
Team work: sometimes being selected for a team can be a bad thing, or at least not as complimentary as it sounds. Always being selected for the Maths or Engineering challenges for example, did/does that make me a geek? (Although when they served free food, it always felt good and I didn't care any more). How about being selected to be on the football team at school, I guess that depends who you get picked after, if you get chosen after the girl with a severe limp that can't run, you know there's an issue, or indeed chosen very last! Luckily, when this plan came to fruition, and Sparrow included me in her team, it wasn't like any of the above, it felt like a privilege to be part of her team and part of her artistic process.
Combining the art: Sparrow, a textile based artist, had a plan. She's spent months with a team of a different nature, slaving away over needles, creating the god of all scarves. It was to be added to the most viewed piece of art in the UK; The Angel of the North by Antony Gormly.
The angel was built in Hartlepool, a small seaside town quite close to my heart,I believe it was made at a place called the 'Erection Group' ... I not telling a lie, here's a picture to prove it exists (they've since suffered erectile disfunction and had to close shop)!
When the Angel of the North proposed, it received very mixed feelings. A monument so big and opposing on the landscape was never going to please everyone. Some even found it offensive that Gormly had based the statue as a likeness of himself, with the addition of airplane wings. There was also a great debate over the placement of the statue, as many claimed the area that it was placed in could have used the rather large amount of money for something more beneficial to the local community.
I guess this is when I first learnt about art. Unlike the maths challenges I'd attended, art isn't as simple as right or wrong. Everyone has their own opinion and they're all equally valid. Myself not even being double digits in age when the Angel was created, I remember my parents primary reaction towards the monument was of disdain, my mother being a fan of neo-classical architecture and pre-Raphaelite art, and my father much the same. Upon asking me what I thought, I simply repeated what they'd said, as any child of that age would do. My parents then told not to do so, and to think for myself, decide what my opinion of it was, and let them know after I'd decided. After giving it some thought, I came to a new conclusion, and in all honesty, I quite liked the Angel, the sheer size and simple lines appealed to me. My fondness and appreciation towards this particular statue has only increased since then. I'm immensely fond of this winged self portrait.
Less about the art, more about the mission! The team consisted of four of us, Sparrow, Brad, Witek and myself, we each had our roles and knew what to do. Sparrow obviously being the team manager, overseeing the installation, watch-out and vital extra hands. Brad working on capturing the event on still and moving image as well as helping with the rigging. While Witek and I were on the technical side of this task and were the ones that played with all the toys to set up the ropes and lines.
Working efficiently together, and taking a little more time than we hoped, we eventually had everything ready on a cold Tuesday morning. As wing-top technician, I headed up with the mother of all knitwear, with enough pearl stitch to make any grandma proud!
Climbing along the left wing to the neck of the angel, with no where to clip on once at the top, I soon realized the dream of tying this scarf traditionally round it's neck wasn't to be. With it draped over one shoulder, and wrapped around the torso of the Angel, I rappelled back down. It didn't go as we planned, and I couldn't help but feel like a failure, like the weakest member of the team. I guess not everything will or has to be one way or another, once again, no wrong, no right, this is indeed Art not Maths in the end.
Here's to team work! ...for more full accounts of the events of the evening, follow the links to Sew Your Soul, Sparrows site, and bradleygarret.com, Brads site. (Witek hates the internet.)
Sparrow is now woking on new even bigger, even better projects. This summer she will be opening a FELT 8 TILL LATE in NYC, and I simply can't wait to see it!!