As I clear out my studio, I’m reminded of work that was unfinished, unmade or sometimes wilfully undone.
On a brief residency in Penrith, I was working on making Other Eden, a pack of cards, each one about an interesting but overlooked local place, custom, or theme. The cards would be used by local shops and cafes to playfully guide visitors off the beaten track and away from familiar paths. (‘Pick a card, any card…’) They’d also be used by the local NHS, facing a recruitment crisis, to show people that the area was interesting enough to be worth moving to.
Sadly, only three images are left – they’re in the slideshow above. The cards featured interesting places crowdsourced from locals (a swimming pool, cafes, a great bookshop), alongside things I’d found through my own research, like the connections of James Joyce, TS Eliot and Kathleen Raine to the town. Other Eden was rejected (by an awful arts organisation I was working with who are based in the town) and remains unmade.
As part of my research, I also made a zine, exploring Penrith’s rich cultural history. Apart from a couple of artist’s proofs, it has also remained unpublished.
This is an early draft – so there are a couple of things I’d remove, a couple of minor typos, and it doesn’t mention TS Eliot’s stay in the town which I’d add. It starts to head in some interesting directions which, with time, I’d have explored further.
Consider it a sketch, not a finished painting.
Download the Penrith Reader 0.2 (pdf) It should be printed as an A6, folded and stitched booklet.