Monday, 11 February 2013

The Extravaganza goes to Norwich

January saw TOTU arrive in the Forum in Norwich. The Forum is a very modern glass-covered atrium/publicspace in front of the equally modern city library. Its an incredible space in the centre of town run by The Forum Trust- an independent charity that supports education, heritage, new technology and creativity. We at The Unfinishables HQ were very happy to be a part of it.
James and Ray helped us set up and we were up and running just after lunch on the Sunday. It was a new experience to build and take down the Extravaganza with people milling about all round it. The process of building the exhibition pavilion in an open public space proved fascinating to many people, and we were asked lots of questions about what it was going to be and how the pavilion construction worked, which we answered as best we could whilst teetering on top of tall ladders screwing the roof rafters!
Then the snow arrived. Norwich came to a standstill but luckily we were staying at Hazel's brother-in-laws, which was very snug and close to The Forum so we could slip and slither backwards and forwards quite easily in the snow.
People who did brave the weather were thrilled to see a bit of colour and excitement and we had lots of lovely comments in our visitors book.

'One of the best shows I have ever seen here. Fantastic.' Simon Marsham

'What an amazing, inspirational piece! I'm going to pull out some of my unfinished pieces and look at them with a new eye.'  Caroline Smith

'Every creation tells a story. It is very touching and a privilege to look into the creations of the people who have given you their unfinished work. Great work. Thank you.' C.Wang

'Wonderful  exhibition. Beautiful feeling inside the textile pavilion. Therapeutic and timeless. Love all the stories'  Melanie Hines

'So evocative, so personal, such a wonderful affirmation of life.' Nicky Turner

'Wonderfully joyous' David Edwards

'Just like home'  Bea Bennett

Lots of brave and gallant people turned up to the event on Thursday which we had organised for East Anglian project participants and their friends. We thought it would be interesting for them all to meet each other and share their Unfinishable stories face to face. The participants who came were Maggie Jackson, Judy Purves, Sue Calverley, Kate Bass and Sue Wright. We all sat and talked inside the Extravaganza which was closed for the occassion. We were so busy talking we forgot to take a picture of the gathering! But it was extremely nice to meet them all again and get to know them better.
 We had had an interview broadcast on Radio Norfolk about the Project so were feeling quite like stars ourselves!
Alongside our exhibition in the main atrium was an Unfinishable digital display compiled by The Forum's Richard Fair. This was shown in Fusion (The Forums digital gallery), on an impressive curved screen that stretched round the walls. Individual pieces zoomed towards the onlooker from a background collage and a voice over told the story behind it. 
Norwich also saw the debut of the Unfinishable film made by Bea Holden! It explains the project and captures some visitors reactions. Played on a wide screen that was unfortunately placed opposite our table we got heartily sick of the sound of our own voices by the end of the week. But the sound track, based on Massive Attack's Unfinished Sympathy by Maxence Cyrin, naturally - stood the test of repetition very well.
We talked to lots of people and heard many more Unfinishable stories whilst in Norwich. It is a lovely part of touring the TOTU project that we come across new pieces and makers that we wouldn't otherwise see.

Thankyou Donna Younger for all her assistance

Alison and Lynsey Calver brought along Alison's Grandfather's World War I unfinishable embroidery to show us. He went to war very young having falsified his age but survived. They know nothing of the inspiration or reason behind this piece, nor why he stopped, but it's now a family treasure. 

The film by Bea Holden.

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