Hartlepool in winter, in its desolate ballgown of closed pier Victoriana, hunches her shoulders against the wind. Chance it or dance it, under the arches the artist gathers her materials: used condoms, a sea-bitten toothbrush, bottle-tops, rusted through. Hands to work and hearts to God, she mutters to herself, turning over ideas, hopes and feelings. The next show would be like the promise of the wind at her back filling her sails with the beauty of change. It was themed for Shelley: Changed Futures, Chanced Futures and Naught May Endure but Mutability.
She passed the first of the painted doors without a second glance. Her mind was busy, collating, curating, a taxonomy of objets trouves: a cork, slotted with a verdigrised 20p, the names of the celebrants almost legible. She turned it in her hand. That was the nature of her work, her life. Possessions and purposes, always sliding in a state of making and unmaking. A scattering of gravel, a lighthouse of coloured sand, the broken body of a doll, one arm missing, tears on its face inked in blue pen. If looks could change, she murmured, stroking its torn and matted hair. I'd give you peace of mind. Instead I'll give you a piece of my mind. You shall have your place in my show.
Hartlepool, sand and gravel, like a small poem by Betjeman, shuddering under its snakeskin sky, waiting for the storm to break.
The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele