Rhubarb Jam – 19 December

When Colleen said that she would really love to use this Edward Bawden wallpaper inside a Still room (where she would make jam, amongst other things…) I felt that the distinctive sounds of preserve-making and a hot, sugary, rolling boil should make it into the Sonic Wallpaper piece.

SW 2097 (by Edward Bawden) – image © MoDA and used with their kind permission

I recorded jam-making once before, for an exhibition at The Jam Factory in Oxford. There I wanted to re-introduce a sound which had once existed inside the building, and to use sound to reference the history of the site. However for Sonic Wallpaper, I was using the sound of jam-making in a slightly different way; I wanted an industrious-sounding culinary recording to sit under Colleen and Annie’s discussion of putting SW 2097 inside a kitchen or a Still room. Jam-making produces a glutinous sort of a sound to my ears, which is also a little bit scary because of the furious way that it boils stickily, at high temperatures.

I am very lucky in that several people picked up on my own love for this Bawden print and thoughtfully sent me items featuring it for my birthday this year. As well as a birthday card with Bawden’s lovely cows on it, I was sent a tea-towel and a cream jug by my mum, who remembers the Bawden print most dinstinctly from her participation in the Sonic Wallpaper project. When I made the jam to record the sounds for Sonic Wallpaper, I used the tea towel featuring the print to clean up the inevitable sticky mess!

Listening back to the Sonic Wallpaper piece which I produced to accompany SW 2097 I fear the section of the boiling jam isn’t quite long enough for anyone to really get into the sound; I am happy to be able to re-publish it here in all its roiling glory.

I have one copy of the Sonic Wallpapers book to give to someone who would like to have a domestic listening experience for themselves! The book has all 18 wallpaper designs from the MoDA collection used in this project, and a CD in the back which contains all the soundpieces. There are introductions both by myself and Zoe Hendon who is the curator of MoDA, and notes on what people said, and what sounds were recorded, for each wallpaper included in the project.

Sonic Wallpapers book

Sonic Wallpapers CD

To win a copy of the book, you just need to leave a comment here about a wallpaper that you remember from your life, and one sound you recall from the room where that wallpaper was. If you cannot think of a wallpaper design and a sound, you could also leave one thought/response you have to this project. On 24th December, I will draw a number at random and post out a copy of the book to the winner!

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