28 July 2009

Family History in Artist's Books

Inspired by my family history, I am seeking to make art work linked to the lives of my ancestors and family.

Strike (2008)

Strike (2008) by Mary Pullen
My unique artist's book Strike is currently being exhibited in the Mile End Ancestors exhibition, organised and curated by English Heritage.
I created the hand made wooden match seller's box and contents in response to tales of my paternal great grandmother's experience of working in the Bryant and May match factory, Bow in the late 19th century. My research took me back to the Mile End area where she and her mother had lived.
I became struck by the link between the socio-economic conditions for women in the same area in 1888 relative to those of 2008. Strike aims to comment on these observations.
A Tribute to the Waller Siblings (2007)

A Tribute to the Waller Siblings by Mary Pullen
Hand dyed paper and printing in album structure.

Detail from A Tribute to the Waller Siblings
Collograph print using stitch 

My maternal grandmother and her siblings are the subject of my unique artist's book A Tribute to the Waller Siblings (2007), focusing in particular on a visual record of the life of these ten children linked to the Greenwich Peninsular in the early 20th century. Passing the North Greenwich area as a child, seated in the back seat of the car, emerging from the Blackwall Tunnel, I observed my 'Grandma's school' and have long been inspired by the latticed design of the early gasworks' cylinder. Following the study of my Mum's 1950s London A to Z, I set off on a field trip for research to the area and discovered street names intact, the school still standing and a row of period cottages next to the Pilot Inn.
I am pondering visual ideas relating to other aspects of family history......

16 July 2009

Storytelling and Memory

I am fascinated by folktales from around the world. These tales seem to have many fine threads which link us as a global community and enrich the soul on reading or hearing. The fine line drawn with many folk tales between fantastic events and grotesque horror draws the curiosity of mind. The imagination is fed by the fantastic events and magic conjured in the lines of each story.

Intrigued by the idea that as adults we have a tendency to think that we have minds full of well recollected childhood tales, I decided to set about on a visual, text and sound investigation of Memory and Storytelling. This project resulted in a limited edition of hand bound artist books with hand set letterpress type; graphic design wall mounted grids of analysis; studio portraits; and a sound recording of a storytelling event.

The contributors were very generous in spirit and with Fairy Tales, and the resulting body of work is a fascinating insight into the theme of Memory and Storytelling.