I tried to get funding for this project recently but no go. I thought it was a nice idea though.
Across the street Hidden Secret Everyday The Deep Ford Memory Loss Transformation Time Tide Water Absence Presence The Past The Future History The Source Seasons The Wild City
Reconnection – A Day in the Life of Deptford Creek
I have been going to The Creekside Centre since January 2010 to write my blog (The Creekside Hermit), take notes and make work. Just opposite Creekside is the Crossfields Estate and I have often wondered how many residents are aware that the Deep Ford, from which Deptford takes its name is right on their doorstep. Additionally, the only access to the sole beach on the Creek is via the Creekside Centre.
The gates of the Creekside Centre have been described as “forbidding” . The Creek lives its own secret life throughout the year and I have been lucky to be given access to this very special place. I go to the Creek every week to make observations. This simple act has transformed my life, my work and my relationship to urban wildlife and I feel that it is crucial that local residents are given the same opportunity. Rampant urban development has resulted in access to the river in any meaningful sense being denied to locals and Creekside is one of the few places where this is still possible.
My proposal in respect of the Crossfields Estate Residency is the reconnection of Crossfields residents with this ancient source situated just across the road from where they live.
During my time at Creekside I have based my work around the diaries of Gilbert White (an eighteenth century amateur botanist) and a medieval Book of Hours. A Book of Hours was used as a calendar and to divide up the day into devotional hours. The division of time and the calendar in medieval times was directly linked to nature.
The workshops will be loosely based on the idea and structure of a book/diary with the Creek as source and inspiration – A Day In The Life of Deptford Creek – and all that could spring from this initial idea.
My proposal is for the group of Crossfields residents to spend time at Creekside at various times of day during the two months of the workshops and take part in a Low Tide Walk (up and down the Creek). I have structured the timeline so that we experience the Creek at all times of day for us to make observations of the tide, weather and wildlife.
My own experience has been that from a simple act of going to the same place over a period of time and making simple observations that it can be a starting point for something complex. Water, tides, rain, wind and all other manifestations of the natural world serve as powerful metaphors for so much and it is this flow between the inner and outer worlds that we would also explore during the workshops. Using the idea of the book as a starting point we could use a variety of media including photography, film and sound or even create a communal blog as well as drawing and painting – depending on who will be attending the workshops and on the outcome of our discussions.
The exhibition itself would comprise two linked but separate venues. My own works-in-progress to be shown at the Creekside Centre and the residents’ work to be shown at the Crossfields Estate. This would result in a physical reconnection between Crossfields on one side of the road and Creekside on the other.
There is an amazing ecological system right across the street from Crossfields. I would like the workshops and exhibition to serve as the beginning of a relationship between the Crossfields residents one one side of the road and the Creekside Centre on the other and for this historic and ancient relationship between local people and their river to be preserved.