March 25th 2017. Studio 11 Gallery - Humber Street,
ReROOTed, Hull 2017 UK City of Culture.
Hull is my 'home town'. I accumulated the plates from charity shops and stuff my mother got her friends and neighbours to donate. Somehow, the ritual draws me back.
Found / donated crockery (50 plates in a box under the table)
My father's wall paper trestle table (probably home made in dark wood - with traces of wallpaper and paint on it)
Two found chairs
a white cloth
A found cardboard box
Candle and matches
I invite an audience member to sit with me for as long as they want. They can stay or give up their chair to someone else. A mature woman sits down. Later several other women take the seat, including a young girl of perhaps 12 years. (No men sit with me).
The table and chairs are set, with a box of crockery under the table.
I cover the table with a cloth.
I sit. The other woman sits.
I take a plate from the box, put it on the table.
I take a candle and box of matches from the floor near to me.
I light a match - light the candle - let the spent match drop to the floor.
Using the candle I 'smoke' the plate:I hold the flame close to the plate surface so that the soot of the candle gathers on the ceramic surface.
I hold the plate in my right hand, turning it between finger and thumb to try to expose the whole surface to the candle flame.
The plate becomes hot in places.
Candle wax drips onto my hand and forearm, and onto the white cloth.
Once covered in soot, I casually place the plate back onto the table.
I extinguish the candle.
I repeat the action with new plates from the box until the candle is spent.
Arounnd twentyfive plates are casually piled on the table.
I extinguish the candle for the last time, placing the stub of wax on the table.
I leave the space.