Monthly Archives: October 2009

Varied Reading

My tastes in reading generally veer to the Fiction category.  Room with a View.  Time Traveller’s Wife.  Rebecca.  These are the sorts of things you will find stacked on my nightstand.  The pile of books is starting to take on a different appearance now that I am reading background information about my family’s heritage.  Family Tree magazines can be found stacked under the table.  A book about the changes of paper making through the years rests beside ‘The Hidden Gems of the Black Country.’  A copy of ‘Evil Obsession:  The Annie Cook Story’ broadens my reading to include North Platte, Nebraska, 1920 – 1958.  My grandfather was an FBI agent stationed in North Platte with the job of taking care of the Western part of the state.  Mr Kinsey was left to look after the Eastern side.  (Incidentally, I went to university with Mr Kindsey’s granddaughter.)  My knowledge of the world from 1800 to 1950’s is most definately broadening, especially on the themes of paper making, the Beeching Plan of 1963 which involved savage cutbacks of coal, iron and steal industries, as well as farming procedures of late 1800s.  My brain is getting very convoluted.  And my house very untidy.


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I was never into dating, until…


This is going to sound very ego centric, but I will risk it.  After all, aren’t we all trying to make the world around us and the things we learn relevent to ourselves in some way?  If we are honest, I think we can’t help but do that very thing.

I was never into dates until I started working on this project.  To be honest, my memorization of dates never strayed very far from knowing that WWI happened somewhere around 1914ish to 1918 or some such thing.  And that WWII was late 1930’ish to 1945ish.  It’s such an embarrassing thing to admit, but if anything, I am excruciatingly honest.

However, now when I hear a date or dare I say, see a Period Costume drama (which I love), I think ‘Maria would have been alive at that time…having a family…wearing those clothes….’ and somehow, I start to feel connected to 1854 and the church of St Leonards in Exeter where they were married.  And it makes me want to know more about that church and that town and what was going on and what people did and what people wore and what they even talked about back then.

I really do believe that this project will be a great big door to other people, to entice them to look into their own stories and to become aware of the dates and the wider world and what was happening at that time.  I dare say, I find is simply thrilling.

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Books, books, books

With the two day postal strike on the horizon, I thought it best to order my history reading today.  If anything, this will draw out the anticipation to the point where when I actually do receive the books, I shall break out in song.  Or perhaps perform an interpretive dance.  In the privacy of my own home, of course.

My reading list includes:

Stowford Paper Mill and Industrial Heritage of Erme Valley by Colin Harris

Richard Kingwell made paper in this mill.  And from what I can gather, his family lived in this area for quite some time.  If my tracking is correct, his wife drifted around the area up until the time of her death.  As for the children, well, one of them moved to Dudley (after the death of her father, Richard), then sailed across the ocean.  What a little adventurer!  Especially in the 1860’s!  Possibly during the time when the Native Americans were being driven from their lands.  Which makes me wonder if the farm they set up was on land previously inhabited by the local natives.  With Massacre Canyon down the road a few hours drive away, and a Reservation an hour to the north, it seems a likely possibility.  Oh my!  How I have digressed!

Then there is my gigantic gap in knowledge about Dudley in the Black Country.  I have therefore ordered two books about it’s history and am already assuming that these will only entice me to buy even more books.

I also plan to gather more information in the upcoming weeks as I am planning a trip to Dudley to see what I can see.  It is hardly possible to make plans about a place if you have not even visited it.  Unfortunately, my trip to Ivybridge Devon will just have to wait until the new year as that is rather a long distance to cover for recon.  I shall try to bundle it up into a nice mini break for the Mr and I.

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Making contact

Stowford Paper Mill in Devon

Stowford Paper Mill in Devon

This is where Richard Kingwell made paper in the early 1800s.  This is the last ancestor that I have been able to trace…to date.  There is also the mystery of Moses Green, but that trail too has grown cold.

Whilst I carry on the background information research, I have been forging ahead with making contacts in all relevent places.  The people I have been in contact with at Ivybridge seem keen on the touring exhibition.  They have put me on contact with a local artist.  I am ashamed to admit this, but I have not been to Ivybridge yet.  I hope you can forgive me, as it is on the other side of the country from where I currently live.

I have also made contact in Dudley and am currently trying to lock in an exhibition date in one of their fine galleries.  It’s all a bit tricky, not having large artwork to show.  I mean, it’s only descriptions and references to my current artwork (which is rather small and Newcastle themes).

It’s also a bit tricky as the work needs to be exhibited outside for a day, then it needs to be moved indoors.  Also, I am trying to cram each destination into one month.  One month in Ivybridge, one month in Dudley, two months in Nebraska, then the final exhibit in Newcastle.  So many things to consider!

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Angry artists hit out…

Well, my schedule of planning and application filling out is seriously suffering after the events of the passed two weeks.  There was a slight hiccup in that I spent most of last week trying to retrieve artwork that was wrongfully taken out of a gallery that had gone bust.

If you want to know the details, then you will find my comments with the local paper here

Ooh. That link looks tedious.

I was also key in informing several artists about the whereabouts of their beloved creations.  The whole thing was rather ugly.  The warehouse was full of artwork, from wall to wall, from floor to ceiling.  All of it retrieved to cover a debt that had nothing to do with any of us.  So…

I am looking forward to much better things.  Good things must be happening soon.  I mean, life can’t really dish out one difficult event after another without some sort of rest inbetween.  That’s how it’s been so far for me, anyway.

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