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Little Silverdale

Part 2 Project 2008
Gemma Loving
Oxford Brookes University, UK
Abbey slides the vase of chamomile closer towards her on the polished surface of her writing bureau so that she can smell the fragrance from the open flowers. Her hand plays with the corner of the letter on the desk as she gazes out of the window. A curt knock on the nearby door jolts her thoughts back to the present; folding the letter away into the bureau drawer with a careful rapidity Abbey smoothes her hand over her hair to tame a curl and moves to open the door.

* * *

Scraping his boots to rid them of the mud that has caked their worn sturdy soles Mitch breathes a satisfied lungful of content in the crisp country air. He exchanges his outdoor footwear for softer shoes and walks up the elevated path back home.
Approaching the kitchen door he turns to greet Marnie who rushes in ahead while Mitch turns to the sideboard upon which, as expected lies a round loaf of warm fresh bread and a generous portion of mature cheddar. Next to these is another culinary delight which makes Mitch smile; a slice of passion fruit cake. Holding Marnie’s drinking bowl under the tap for a couple of seconds and then shaking some dry food into another the man and his dog sit down to eat.

* * *

Having arrived Harriet feels unexpectedly and unpleasantly listless. Underwhelmed and somewhat sardonically amused by the miniature scale pomposity with which she was greeted by the front rooms, she is relieved to find that the plush green carpet does not extend throughout the entirety of the house. The sparseness of the back rooms holds its own brand of oppressiveness however, which by dusk has loomed so heavily over Harriet in her fatigue that she rests on the corner of the bed to pull at the soft bed linen and abstractedly caress it in her hands for some comfort. The light from the withdrawn sun shines coldly through the window and it is as much as Harriet feels inclined to do to watch the changing shadows on the plastered wall.

Gemma Loving

The project traces the daily lives of three inhabitants,who live alone, of a small hamlet, Little Silverdale, and describes their interdependence and relationship. The individual lives are described visually in a variety of ways; in particular intensely felt soft pencil drawings that show the theatre of those lives, as a set of intensely remembered scenes recalled by Harriet, an actress, as delicate collages that describe the kitchen tools of Abbey, the neighbour who cooks and cleans, and as practical clear details provided by Mitch, the local countryman. The work is shown in three distinct and separate portfolios embodying each of the three characters and reflecting their character and roles. The project presents an architecture from the point of view of the characters inhabiting it. It explores the psychology of the characters, their experience of past events, how it determines their current circumstance and their perception of each other. Harriet the actress for instance remembers the important events in her life such as the death of her husband and the roles she has performed on stage as a series of stills in a scene, pauses in time in which she imagines herself quite clearly, her position, the light, the bed with its rumpled sheets pulled back, the view in the bathroom mirror. Abbey's life is one of domestic activity, cooking, looking after others, trusted by everyone with the keys to their houses, ordered, calm and considerate. Mitch is practical, works outdoors, walks the landscape, tends the marshes and the bird hides. His world is one of making and repairing. He designs in physical terms the landscape in which the others live, by small adjustments over a long period of time..

Prof David Greene
Prof Andrew Holmes
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