Recently, Kettle's Yard (housing a notable Cambridge art collection) held a local 'Open House' in a nearby church which had opened its doors to celebrate our neighbourhood. At its heart was a print studio where we were invited to create our own silk screen prints of a limited edition print by the artist in residence - Isabella Martin. She called it A Collaborative Map of North Cambridge 2016 featuring the past, present, future and imagined, green public spaces and waterways.
At different times I have lived on four different roads in the area and my father pastored a church here. The map contains many comments from long-standing residents when much of the area was fields: 'courting in the haystacks', 'coronation party on Green's Road', 'Chivers apple and pears orchards'. Some went way back - chalk bedrock and mining', 'an iron age fort' and others imagined 'Spiderman on Kendal Way' 'Unicorn on Arbury Road'.....!
Carol and I were guided in our print making as ink was strategically placed on the screen and we dragged a large blade slowly over the surface. Raising the screen to see the finished products produced gasps of delight. Mine was blue (102/250) and Carol's was green. While they were hung up to dry we enjoyed some refreshments and wandered around a small exhibition of some Alfred Wallis paintings. Living in Cornwall, he was a naïve artist who only started painting in his seventies when his wife died. Oh, the memories they brought back! When I was a student I used to visit Jim Ede at his home Kettle's Yard long before it became a famous art museum. One term he loaned me an Alfred Wallis picture to hang in my college room. He said that he liked art to be part of daily living. Now such pictures are in galleries all over the world and sold at huge prices! What a risk!
Both of us felt exhilarated by our participation (in very small ways) in this collaborative project and enjoyed the moments of creativity. Another reminder of the power of collaboration!