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List Capsules

April 16, 2010 Artist Responses 1 Comment

List Capsules

Having the deadline for the Glasgow conference encouraged me to finally finish off these list capsules, they have been sitting half done on my workbench for weeks. It took me a while to figure out how to seal in a paper roll…and not need to do anymore soldering afterwards. I was very inspired by the chatelaine lists, the roll of paper in a metal tube that we couldn’t read and the beautifully made tape measure in the sewing box.

List capsule showing printed paper strip.

I plan to make more of these and different versions, the printed numbered strip is only 1 to 0 …I want to make a longer one next…Letterpress room willing . The one I made for Glasgow is on the right and has a list of all the things I needed to prepare for the trip..I have cut off the end and let it get trapped inside like the roll of paper in the metal tube in the bygones collection, no one will ever know now what I did..unless some is patient enough to tease it out.


AAH conference…

April 15, 2010 Uncategorized Comments Off on AAH conference…

No planes on the flight path at the end of my garden

Very sad that we had to cancel the AAH conference today, the ONLY day in aviation history that all of UK airspace has been closed down…and the only day Alex and I were due to fly to Glasgow….Never mind..we are both well prepared now for any conferences or talks on Mary Greg…and my bag is still packed.

Printed Lists

March 28, 2010 Artist Responses Comments Off on Printed Lists

Test print next to type.

18 Point Baskerville Type

As I have said before, this project has allowed/encouraged me to try other things.

The hand printed books in the Mary Greg collection enticed me to try out the letterpress room at MMU. The room was “downsized” recently but there is still a good selection of different sized and styles of letters. A wonderful technician called David has lovingly sorted all the type and keeps it all in order.

Setting type is harder than you imagine, to begin with you have to try and work out which way to set it so it doesn’t come out backwards, and the 18 point type I chose is quite tiny to keep in place..I tried to do the number 10..but it was beyond me in the time I had. The letters are kept in place by strips of metal held in place by long magnets

The trays are all set out, with a plan were each letter and space is, so that bit is easy (Thank you David). I decided to put a gap between each number to make the list easier to write on.

All I need to do now is try and finish the metal cannisters that these lists will be stored in.


Work in progress

March 20, 2010 Artist Responses Comments Off on Work in progress

Some test prints of the LIST strips for the list capsules.

I spent my lunch time in the letterpress room trying to print a thin strip of numbers to put inside the list capsules I am making. I used 18 point letters, Baskerville type, and they proved very hard to set.Ideally I would have liked to put gaps between the numbers, but that proved beyond my skill.

I love the lists of objects Mary includes in her letters and the letterpress printed books in the collection. I still hope to print some cards on the printing press of one of Mary Greg’s lists. I think that might take me a while to set up.


“String too small for use”

January 22, 2010 Artist Responses 1 Comment

Library - 0334Library - 0333

The Samuel Crompton threads which Sharon and I found in the stack of Mary Greg’s letters has been chosen by MAG for the BBC HISTORY OF THE WORLD series.

Sharon and I are putting some of our work alongside the threads from the mule into a cabinet at MAG.

I am also going to exhibit my box of “string too small for use” which was purchased from a market in London many years ago for 50 pence.

The box is full of off cuts of string, some so tiny it would be hard to find a use for them and it inspired me to make a set of work to give them uses, some of which I will also include in the cabinet at MAG.

Finding the Samuel Crompton threads was such thrill for me. My work has always been based on starting with something like a bit of fluff or a scrap of paper or a lonesome pine needle and upping its status by giving it a story..or history. So finding the first threads from Samuel Crompton’s mule amongst the letters was magical.

You can find the full A History Of The World article here.



December 20, 2009 Developments Comments Off on Haptic

On Tuesday 15th December 2009 Liz, Alex, Sharon and I went to a conference in Leicester. It has been a LONG tiring term at MMU and I wasn’t sure I had enough energy to join them on the drive there (Thank you Liz for driving). Glad I did, see the link below to read all about it. I also picked up a word which I will use more often as it is vital to teaching and learning.HAPTIC.


Damage Indicators

November 29, 2009 Artist Responses Comments Off on Damage Indicators
Ideas for Damage Indicators

Ideas for Damage Indicators

As I said in my last post, the Mary Greg project has sent me into areas of work which I had never considered before. Amongst her letters were hand printed cards. I took the opportunity at MMU to join the students in a letterpress induction as I really liked the aesthetic of the cards.

Creativity isn’t aways a simple step by step process, and the idea of the printed cards has combined with another idea I had about the chatelaines and how they are often mending kits. I thought how the rips and lost buttons needed to be pointed out to the mender and how this could be done. I have embroidered red arrows onto some of my own coats to show loose seams and lost buttons and have begun to make metal arrows. The problem being that indicators will cause more damage in themselves. I have only done my first proof copy of the Damage Indicator card so I can see what to change, David in the letterpress room has offered to help me add a border and arrows. It is a trickier process than I had first thought, David has a real skill in setting up the tiny pieces of type. I do also plan to reprint one of Mary’s cards if the Gallery give me permission. (do you think it would be a problem Liz and Alex?)


Packing Artefacts

November 29, 2009 The Collection Comments Off on Packing Artefacts
Selection of Mary Greg's collection packed ready for transport to MAG.

Selection of Mary Greg's collection packed ready for transport to MAG.

This is a picture of the art of Museum packing,as done by Linda, an art in itself.

I have found working with all the staff at Manchester Art Gallery to be a real pleasure and a huge education. It is a very rare privilege to be invited behind closed doors of any institution and to be able to work with and talk about the Mary Greg collection over time with them has been a very rewarding experience. Just being able to watch the care and attention given to the collection was beautiful. The broken birthday candle wrapped in bubble wrap and gently cushioned in huge pillows of tissue was afforded the same care as a priceless roman artefact. Once an object gains a museum accession number it is a treasure, and so it should be.



November 28, 2009 Artist Responses Comments Off on Chatelaine



I thought it was about time I started recording the projects I am doing based on the bygones collection. The first, and most important to me, is based around the chatelaine. practical objects, attached by a short chain to a womans belt. Pins,thimbles,pencil and notebook. I especially like this one in the collection as it is so simple, one that looks like is was used. I have already made pencil holders (before seeing this one), string holders and am now making a list roll (based on the roll of paper in a tube we found recently), also folding tools, quick repair kits and damage indicators.


Hazel’s Sketchbook

October 18, 2009 Artist Responses 1 Comment
Keys and other found things

Keys and other found things

mary Greg 006

I thought I should add a few recent pages from my sketchbook, I am still working on some ideas based on the roll of paper that was trapped in a metal tube which we found in Mary’s collection. This is my working sketchbook, it sits next to my workbench and everything gets put into it:- Quotes from radio 4, paper templates,collaged and found bits,as well as thoughts and ideas. It isn’t really meant to be looked at by anyone apart from myself. Although it is an important link in the ideas chain(Part answer to the the question..”where do all your ideas come from?”).