Mapping things out

It’s been a while – several months since I last posted to the site – but I wouldn’t want you to think I’ve not done anything.

All sorts of things have grown and developed since I started my first tentative posts on this site.  This site still remains as it was intended, a note book and journal of the work in progress.

What progress is there, then?

I’ve been very fortunate to find myself working at the very places that helped inspire this project.  Now part of the team of Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust ‘Interactors’, one of my tasks has been to bring the history of Sheffield alive in school workshops.  As part of my role at the museums, I hope to include some of what I do with this project in terms of workshops, performances and installations.  Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet is, after all, a wonderfully preserved example of the water-powered industry, so a perfect place to involve in my work.

I’ve also renovated and settled into a new workspace / studio in the heart of ‘Little Sheffield’ another place which fired my imagination when I visited Portland Works earlier in the year.  I now have my base in a former file grinding workshop in Harland Works.  Where better to be working, than a historic building that was home to it’s own ‘Little Mesters’.  As I stripped the grim carpets back and scoured the floorboards (see above picture) I found myself scraping off years of grease, presumable used to lubricate the machinery or grinding wheels.  Interior design show meets archeological dig.  It was hard but rewarding work.

Also, getting to know the modern city along with its fascinating past has been a real focus of the last months.  It’s proving to be a vibrant, proactive, busy place.  Festivals such as Tramlines, the brilliant festival of the mind, the Off the Shelf Festival, Sensoria, there’s so much going on, and so much of such good quality.

I’ve made a map.  An eight foot, nineteenth century ordinance survey serpent, which is spread across the north wall of the studio.  It is a map of the Porter Brook and it’s nineteen or so water powered works, the subject of my first run of pieces, songs and activities.  I chose to explore the Porter first as it’s the nearest to where I live and work, and as I’ve been getting to know it very well through many runs, bike rides and walks along it’s length.

It’s a great to call home, and and even better place to work, now at least.  My aim is to try and discover as much as I can about what it has been like through the ages, for the people who also made it home.