Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Archive Bound

Spent a morning at the National Education Archive at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park , just wandering through the shelves and trying to examine what I like about being there. Started to ask myself what is on my mind when I visit the archive: anticipation and glee at being allowed in to examine these books and boxes of things that people have donated or loaned. I suppose there is a sense of being connected to the past that inspires my imagination.

Boxed up parcels, hand written labels in old faded inks, bundles of slim book volumes held together with string to stop any escaping. The packaging alone is enough for me, I almost don't need to see what is inside them. Rows and rows of books, old and worn, faded colours, barely held together sometimes.

Its a slightly surreal place to me, it feels like a secret place, even though appointments can be made to visit, the fact that I am alone makes me feel like a child - I can't believe my luck. This is similar to how I feel when I find a new objects to collect - that sense of being lucky to have been in the right place at the right time.

I am seduced by the books and boxes, the bindings, the labels, the wrappings, the fact they are encased makes them precious, fragile, almost out of reach, but not quite.

When I look at my found objects, I turn them over in my hands, feeling the surfaces, studying the marks on them, odd scribbles from past owners that often don't mean anything to me and yet I am still fascinated by them, I'm not sure why? I suppose I lose myself in them, they provide me with access to another world, another time - mini histories that I can explore.


  1. Can I tell you how jelous I am! Its like a secret world full of beautiful treasure, the paper wrappings like silk, binding a secret so special you have to unwrap it carefully. I love the labels tempting you to carefully touch and read what is inside (I think I need to work in a place like that!!!)thank heavens for people who care enough to collect. xxx CA

  2. Thank you for your lovely comment - I know that I feel when I go there that they must have made a mistake to have let me in!