I have recently completed a very personal family tree. It was for the Art and the Letter exhibition at the CLAS AGM last year. I was enthusiastic when the topic was suggested at a committee meeting, saying "I have been meaning to do my family tree for ages!" So now I was obliged to get it finished in time to send off in February.
I have completed several pieces of work that have been collages and relate to landscapes and the natural world. The first was this piece that I worked on after being given the idea of layering tissue paper with natural food gelatine to stop the ink bleeding when doing a CLAS i2a course at Cheddar:
The second was an excerpt from the community poem Dart by Alice Oswald. I used the flow of a river from a trickle at its source to the wide old age stage, the rocks on the banks and stepping stones with layers of tissue papers. I used watercolour in the background and pulled the resist lettering forward through the layers with coloured pencil...
Next was piece started with Oxford Scribes and the late Gerry Glaister after a residential weekend for members at the old Wiltshire Study centre at Urchfont - now sadly closed. We worked on three different texts in the same piece...
Then my biggest commission for Salisbury Hospital; three pieces using the words of the poet in residence. The hospital overlooks the plains and countryside of south Wiltshire
I also drew on some ideas I had had on a workshop with Mick Paine at the CLAS festival in 2010 on rules and randomness
I have done two family tree commissions in the past - the first was all in French and went back to 1400. By the time I had finished it I realised I had hopelessly underestimated the amount of work required
Shortly after Christmas I started work on mine...
I had done a workshop on family trees with Sylvie Gokulsing at Oxford Scribes a few years ago and had been alerted to some of the complexities faced with designing these historical documents. I didn't want to leave anything out and I also wanted to create a contemporary piece.
I looked out all the information I had about the family. I had been collecting bits and pieces over recent years and two members of the wider family had done some quite extensive research so we had information that went back to the 18th Century including a semi famous painter on my husbands side and cobblers and cave dwellers from Herefordshire on my side.