The End, already…

The shed has been dismantled and my Pops collected it early today to take back to the family home for use as a potting shed. I am really happy that my Mum will get some use out of it and it was really great to be able to share the joy of the whole project with them. They were here briefly on Friday for my graduation, which was when they saw the shed and arranged to collect it this morning.

The graduation was strange as I feel like I haven’t finished yet at Brookes* and the MA feels so very long ago by now that the ceremony was kind of like an afterthought. I didn’t really get into the spirit of the graduation ceremony, truth be told. I’m just more interested in what I’m doing now and in what needs to happen next than in getting a belated congrats from the University for something that was happening last year. Many of my colleagues from the MA programme obviously shared my sentiments as there were only 5 of us from the programme present for the ceremony.

I kidnapped my folks from the marquee afterwards and we went to play in the Botanic gardens. I was sorry they had to leave in a hurry and thus didn’t get to see the wonderful sound-machinery made by Leviathan Whispers. They are brass musicians (my parents) and so would – I think – have enjoyed the big horns.

Leafy-horn, constructed by Leviathan Whispers.

After my folks left, I wandered around the gardens, marvelling at other horns;

…and observing the uncanny similarities between the images of pollen on Rob Kesseler’s handkerchiefs and fruits in the solanacea beds of the botanic gardens. I don’t know whether or not this is a Thornapple seed pod, but it certainly looks like the one I have in my book of herbs and plants.

Thornapple seed pod, I think…

Pollen grain image, printed onto a silk handkerchief in Rob Kesseler’s work at Magic Hour.

I have loved working at Magic Hour; the shed truly has been magical, the feedback has been manifold and valuable. The space itself – The Botanic Gardens – is an incredible place to be and work.

It has been amazing to meet all the participating artists in the show, and to have an opportunity to work with gardening and art as one idea. I am going to make an artist book out of all the feedback and give a copy to everyone who has been involved in making Magic Hour. A large undertaking, but also a befitting destination for all the amazing feedback people left and a good long-term manifestation of all that joyful shed-ness.

To combat that slight day-after-Christmas feeling that follows the end of a show, I decided to turn my decidedly unripening tomatoes into green tomato chutney using the recipe that was in the conservatory at the Oxford Botanic Gardens as part of their ‘Great Growing Picnic Season’ education project.

The tomatoes are two very random and interesting varieties donated to me by Will, husband of Oxford Kitchen Yarns’ inimitable Katie. I am fascinated by the way the varieties turned out; one is almost shaped like a bell, while the other has produced tiny, tight, cherry-like fruits. Neither varieties have enjoyed the wet, cold summer this year. But hopefully in their green state they will produce a lovely chutney.

*…being as I still have a PhD to complete there…

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