Monday, 28 January 2013

Bucolic Bliss

I discovered that Helen Ede was bedridden most of the time she lived at Kettle’s Yard so this may explain why she didn’t really want to come out of her room when visitors came to the house. She had cancer (I don’t know of what) and a heart condition. Jim lived to a fantastic old age but Helen died in Edinburgh just two years after they left Kettle’s Yard. Jim had a weak stomach caused by imbibing nerve gas in the first world war. Vegetarian, they ate very frugally, mostly pureed vegetables. I have heard that Helen was a fantastic cook and another recollection is of a huge piece of beef being put directly on the dining room table, presumably for guests.

I looked at Helen’s bedroom, Helen’s books, her view onto the churchyard, which Jim maintained and the books in the library. The books reflected Jim’s love of Alfred Wallis, with a large collection of titles such as: English Popular Traditional Art, British Craftsmen, British Botanists, British Handicrafts, reminding me of the beautiful book I have just taken out of my local library The Unsophisticated Arts by Barbara Jones.

I really want to create something that brings nature into Helen’s bedroom as that was one of her passions and something she couldn’t indulge in as much as maybe she would have liked. The sound of sirens and the sight of taxis and the flow of traffic is still perceptible in the otherwise calm and tranquil Kettle’s Yard and more than one account suggests that Helen would have preferred to have lived in the country.

Photograph in one of Jim's books

Selection of Jim's books

Some of the house plants that spill over shelves laden with pebbles, shells, glass baubles and rocks.

A page in one of Jim & Helen's books

Jim's bed

Helen's bed

A photo in one of Jim's books

Helen's bedside table

The library at Kettle's Yard

Page from one of Jim's books

Chair in Helen's bedroom

Page from one of Jim's books

View from Helen's window

Pages from Jim's books

Helen's bathroom

Ideas of things: a moth mobile-there are a lot of mobiles in the shop, a nature, erotica quilt-something else I might like to give to Helen, a Victorian water garden full of wild flowers. Something hidden in her cupboard or drawers…I was reminded too of the moth chrysalides, which I had in my space at Aid& Abet. They didn’t emerge until several months later after a visit to the cinema Alex and I came back to find a pool of brown liquid by the chrysalis shell and a huge furry Eucalyptus moth pumping its wings up under our coffee table. Ants might be nice too but probably too dangerous to introduce to the house.

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