Making a day trip out of an unexpected chunk of time we went to Down House, the home of Charles Darwin. Not sure how impressed I was by the house – it felt more as though w were walking through a giant guide book – there were a lot of text boards. They have tried to make these eye-catching…and they are very informative…but I wanted to gain a sense of the house, the home, which I didn’t (and you’re not allowed to take photos inside the house). Outside in the garden and the famous Sandwalk was a different matter.
However, before we left the house we were warmed by an (incredibly expensive) hot chocolate. Draining left this beautiful lace pattern and I thought of Inger. I risked getting told off to take a photo of this because technically I am not taking a photo ‘in the house’ but ‘in the cup’!
The garden contained a hot house with some orchid and very Victorian fashion plants. Lots of visual fodder. I was considering how the leaves join the stem – and how the flowers join the plant. I know they have grown from out of the main plant but they are protuberances that give a concept of having been joined.
Feeding this into the brain…
Then out into the cold of the walk:
The creeper joined the wall with some kind of beaded sucker on close inspection. New trees grew out of old ones, fungi revealed themselves and pots joined pots. I like the barrel because it was marked. It just attracted my attention.
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After I nearly had a Lottie meltdown at the other visitors (evidently you can only be interested in Darwin if you have reached a certain age, class and attitude which I don’t conform too – which of course then meant my children and I were less worthy visitors which must have been the reason for the rudeness we received) I was gently herded to the car before I vented aloud.
Being near Chistlehurst we went to revisit these great caves. I’m evidently more akin to troglodytes – we had a brilliant time. Our guide was fantastic and even left us (with our permission) in the dark without the oil lamps just to experience the caves as they truly are: so dark you cannot see your hand even when it touches your face. It wasn’t scary. There was a safety and warmth. Even my girls said it didn’t feel a scary dark – it was more frightening when we were returned the lamps and they cast flickering shadows and the darkness was pushed away. The dark then became separate and frightening. Interesting. In being one with the dark it felt safe. Pushing the dark away with light created a barrier and boundary and a worry of what was lurking on the other side. I wonder how consciously I create with this awareness in my work? Up until now probably not at all. But from now on – hopefully frequently. The moment I make a mark, I separate. The moment I create a dark and light area I push much more into the boundary and place of separation.
Light can be an imposition on dark, rather than something that keeps the dark away.
It is not dark I am frightened of, but what could be out there hiding from the light.