Residency at The Walled Garden at Great Glemham House Part I
In 2019, I produced one of my largest site-specific collections to date, working with the walled garden at Great Glemham House for the Glemham Series.
The work I undertook at Glemham will likely require more than one entry; there is so much history there and so many individuals connected to the care and upkeep of the site. For now, I thought I would explore the set-up for the Pomarius residency there, working on-site from April to the end of Autumn.
The walled garden itself is connected to the main house in Great Glemham. Slightly further down the Alde valley is White House Farm, home to the artist and curator Jason Gathorne-Hardy. It was through his invitation that I first began to work with the garden and my residency in 2018 would be a return to the site four years after my first visit.
The intention for this residency was to collect as broad a range of produce as possible, capturing the year in the vegetable garden for a site-specific collection. I actually set up the residency studio on the estate farm, a brief walk from the gardens and main house. Utilising one of the pig sheds at White House Farm, I was able to walk up through the woods, across a meadow, and enter into the back of the garden — a true secret garden experience if ever I’ve known one.
The gardens themselves are lined with enormous victorian greenhouses, some of these still contain the now unused cast iron heating system. At the centre is a water feature and between apple and pear trees, broods of chickens are staggered in wooden coops.
My visits to the garden were often observed by one of the gardeners on site. Personally, he was horrified to see the produce entering a kiln opposed to a kitchen. After a raid on the chilli house he concluded my hoard would make for a very nice chilli con carne if it was heat I was after, no furnace required.
Making trips up to the garden, collecting produce, and heading back to the pig sheds, my intention was to capture the freshness of the produce. On arrival back to the make-shift studio, I quickly prepared sprue systems for each specimen. In batches I then ‘first coated’ the produce.
First coat refers to the very first stage of the investment process in Italian Investment Casting. It’s essentially the initial detail-capturing layer applied to the surface of the sculpture or object to be cast.
Having captured the produce this way, I stored each variety together, a note with each set describing the type of produce and if they would requite a particular temperature to achieve a good cast. I could then filter them back to the main studio, a box at a time, to complete the casting process.
More details on the Glemham series may be found through the festival gallery website: www.galloper-sands.co.uk