Category Archives: Photographs

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Bereft

I longed to see you.
The longing filled me with it’s emptiness.
Paralysed with the fear of rejection,
I waited.

My heart ached,
Awoken from my dreams by your voice,
It swelled & filled
With joy.

Temporary in it’s bliss,
You spoke of others & with each word
I faded away,
Invisible.

Yet
not impermeable
To pain
Inflicted by those words.
You left.
The hours passed.

Longing returned
To fill the void.
Bereft once again,
Wondering how long
Till I must hear you.

Then when hope had almost faded,
I hear you again.
The pleasure in both our voices clear,
Palpable.

My laughter rang out
I became visible
Once more.
Your shock in my delight
Restraining you,
Yet feeding you.

Much later
You would seek me again,
With your words if not your voice.
My opinion needed.
To reassure or reaffirm you?

My words
Stronger than my voice
Betray my heart.
My desire to be visible clear.
My need
To your needy.

Time
Stops within the waiting.
Its cruelty
Sharp & stinging,
Its emptiness
Back to fill me.

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Trip to Margate Continued

Whilst in Margate this weekend I also visited The Walpole Bay Hotel Museum & Napery.
This lovely old hotel in the Cliftonville area of Margate, is just a few minutes from The Turner Contemporary Gallery and Margate’s arty, vintage quarter in the Old Town.
This hotel is a 1920s grand dame of aged splendour,  complete with wonderful gated lift.
But aside from it’s accommodation this hotel is also a museum!
It is full to the brim of fascinating objects, many used originally in the hotel, others donated by residents.

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The foyer is full of lovely furniture and objects as well as several display cases of smaller items. But the main museum is on the 2nd floor. The corridors that wind their way round the lovely old fashioned gated lift, are full to the brim of seemingly randomly placed objects. They are actually grouped in some instances, with many of the defunct bathrooms, scullery etc used as tiny display rooms.
This museum is curated in the Victorian style of overexuberant collecting. Every corner, display case and wall is covered in some object or photograph, print, painting or shop sign.
It resembles a magical junk shop and it’s hard not to rummage through as you can access the items so easily.

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This museum was delightful in it’s over nostalgic way and I’m sure that the hotel guests thoroughly enjoy reliving their childhoods or earlier visits to the town.
But the museum and decor of this hotel are not the only treasures.
It also has a Napery.
I know, what is a Napery, I hear you ask?
Napery is the collective noun for household linen, in particular tablecloths & napkins.
The Walpole has a collection of napkin art!
I wondered if it would be doodles on paper napkins or origami folded napkins? Like swans and such…
But no. The walls of the restaurant and the 1st floor are covered in framed linen napkins that guests & visitors have used as their canvas. There are some drawings, paintings, poetry, prints, appliqué,  embroidery and all sorts of variations of the above with all manner of media used.

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The most famous artist on display is no doubt, Margate native, Tracey Emin. She has had many years of association with The Walpole and has contributed in many ways. There are t-shirts, books as well as some of her drawings & napkins on show in the restaurant.

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There are even some of Tracey’s more explicit work on display, covered by a very polite warning notice.

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I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the Walpole and all of it’s treasures and look forward to visiting again, perhaps for a cream tea on the verandah watching the sunset, gorgeous!
I also couldn’t resist asking for a napkin. Now to create work on it that might be worthy of gracing The Walpole Bay Hotel walls.
I feel some paper boats stitched on to an image of Margate harbour coming on…

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But then there were all those gorgeous cases dotted around…none more beautifully evocative than this one, containing past residents booking cards…

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It looks like a case full of unsent loveletters. Beautiful in it’s simplicity.
It was the last thing I saw, tucked in a corner like a secret…
Watch this space for work inspired by this visit.

PS: The hotel is providing artist in residence stays for published authors,  please see details on their website’s front page. Enjoy your stay!

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Filed under Photographs, Reviews: exhibitions, fairs, shows..., Sketchbook

Parliamentary Archives Visit

Last week I visited The Parliamentary Archives at Westminster Palace. This visit was organised for The Society of Bookbinders (London & South Region) and about 16 of our members attended.
We had a tour of The Victoria Tower where the Archives are stored and learnt lots about it’s history, all whilst circling the open well at the Base of the iron staircase that runs up the Tower.

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The entrance pictured is used by the Queen when she opens Parliament and armed forces are stationed within the Tower as security on such occasions.
The Victoria Tower was purpose built to house The Parliamentary Archives, in direct response to the devasting loss of records, in the fire that laid waste to Westminster in the 19th century.
The archives still hold an amazing collection and the library still holds stunning examples of books, records, documents and artefacts from both The House of Commons and The House of Lords. The House of Lords did not lose as many records, so they have a much older collection than the Commons. You can find stunning calligraphy, illumination, all on parchment.

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The age old question that all bookbinders/conservators encounter, that of vellum v parchment, was raised by one of our members. Lara Artemis, the Collection Care Manager, explained that if in doubt, call it parchment. It is most commonly used for pages/leaves/textblocks; vellum, being thicker, is most commonly used for book covers/binding. Vellum is traditionally from calf, parchment from sheep.
It can be very difficult to differentiate, even for the experts, so a generic term of parchment may be used for both. The pictures below are fabulous examples of vellum bindings that the library holds.

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These are gold tools still used in book conservation.
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Book Presses for finishing books.
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The room that contains the most parchment, is truly the most awe inspiring!
We all squeezed into The Acts Room, the archive containing all the Royal Acts of Parliament.
Jaws dropped and there were squeals of delight.

The next images should help illustrate this, but only a visit of your own will give you the true experience of scale in this important archive. You stand within centuries of history, real history. If you close your eyes you can hear the scratching of ink, onto parchment, made by Monarchs of every age.
Each Act in each Regnal year, is clearly labelled, some private Acts are relatively small, others are 100s of metres long.

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This was a thoroughly enjoyable and inspiring trip. I urge you to visit this Archive and the many others here in London or in your local vicinity.
Every Borough holds an archive and most artefacts can be handled, a fantastic way to get close and personal with history; binding, books, documents, illuminations and extraordinary texts.
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