I was so nervous and excited on Saturday. Having set up all the work and felt it looked OK it was now down to the public to judge. My first conversation was with a lady who had taken one of my booklets. She seemed to be someone who had visited a lot of gallery spaces and also suggested I try the Ropewalk gallery in Hull for an exhibition, which I presumed meant she liked my work! She said she found it very evocative and detailed. It fit together well in the space and showed the pieces off well.
I had invited a number of participants and some of the craftspeople that had worked with me on the items, either telling stories or passing on information and they ALL turned up! I was so happy! It was quite the challenge to talk to everyone, but I managed to get to speak to everyone who had come to see the show. A number of the participants came and spoke to me. One participant said how evocative the object was and enjoyed reading the quote. She commented it was ectoplasmic and had a very spiritual experience. She felt very happy to have been part of the work. Another read the quotes and thought that one of the other participants quotes belonged to her. She was surprised at the overlap of people’s memories. She said she felt very posh waling round an art gallery and having a glass of wine and being part of it.
The craftspeople were really happy to see the work. They commented how beautiful it looked when the pieces were displayed in the setting. One of the craftsmen had his picture taken next to the work he had helped me with. He asked when I was coming back to learn more forging skills!
The two hours went so quickly, I had so many visitors including a friend who had travelled from London to surprise me. It was a very humbling and overwhelming experience to see so many of my friends from different parts of my life looking at my work. I think if I hadn’t have been ill it could have been more emotional as I was so pleased that people had come to see it. I think because I was a bit tired it all just happened and then afterwards at home I began to process it. I felt a bit sad I couldn’t have spent longer talking to people, but what it did show me was how many people I have met and made friends with over the space of the making part of the project. Over half the people who came, I didn’t know before this started…and I have already organised to see a lot of them again on a level of friendship that has been built due to their storytelling or crafts skills they have passed on.