window vinyls

Envelope Collection by Sasha Ward

Entrance drum, Swindon Central Library

My envelope collection has been put to use again. The opportunity came in the form of an exhibition, The Female Aesthetic - Women in the Public Domain, opening this week to coincide with International Women's Day. The exhibition explores the Thamesdown Public Art Archive, choosing work by women from the heyday of public art commissioning in Swindon, or that's how it seemed when we moved to the region in the 1980s. My exhibits are two designs printed on vinyl, one in the windows of the library entrance drum (above) and the other in the Window Gallery nearby (below).

Window vinyls in No 9 Gallery, Artsite, Swindon

I've been collecting patterns from envelope innards ever since I've had a studio. I used them, enlarging and pulling apart the lines that make up the intricate designs, in my commission for Swindon's new hospital in 2002. From talking to people about this piece - a back lit, full height glass wall (below) - I have come to realise that the envelope pattern story really interests them, maybe because it helps to answer the familiar question "Where do you get your ideas from?" 

The Chaplaincy, Great Western Hospital Swindon, 2002    Envelope patterns used in the hospital commission

Detail of Envelope Frieze in Swindon Library

It seemed a good idea to make a link back to that commission in my new work and to make the envelopes more obvious, celebrating their shapes as they fly along the window strip or around a central point in the Gallery Rose Envelope Window.

My collection isn't growing very fast anymore as letters hardly ever arrive and the envelopes are mostly swaps. In desperation I've started to include company logos and even just repeated words, reinforcing the fact that there are only a certain number of patterns, and their variations, in the world. 

Windows at night by Sasha Ward

The Mount House Gallery at night

The Mount House Gallery at night

As you drive from the west into Marlborough along the A4 the road kinks through the buildings of Marlborough College. On the bend the windows of The Mount House Gallery are visible from a distance and are lit up at night, until the end of this week, with the faces of forty of the 749 Old Marlburians whose deaths were caused by the First World War. One of those incredible WW1 statistics that we hoped to bring to life with this window display which is part of the exhibition "Have You Forgotten Yet?" The title is from the poem "Aftermath" by Siegfried Sassoon, an OM who survived the war although his brother Hamo, (2nd across, 2nd up in the left hand window below) did not.

Evening view of the windows

Evening view of the windows

The window vinyls look great from outside when the building is illuminated, and from inside the gallery in the daytime. I devised a patterned scheme for background colours and for the heads that were chosen from the photos the men had taken before they left for the front. We chose the heads on looks - direction of gaze, variety of age, no hats, no obvious uniforms - laying them out on the screen and getting to know their faces, before we read their individual stories in the citations that accompany the photographs in the Rolls of Honour housed in Marlborough College. Discovering the fate of each individual in this way was incredibly poignant. 

Daytime view from the inside

The individual stories are varied. You can be moved by a phrase ("shot through the heart") a death on Armistice Day, or his youth when he died. Here are four examples with portraits alongside.

 

HENRY FRANCIS SEVERNE, eldest son of A. de M. Severne, Esq. of Wirksworth, Derbyshire, was born February 16th 1892. He was at MC from 1906 to 1909. At Marlborough he was noted for his fine swimming. After leaving he became a mining engineer. On the outbreak of war he joined the 6th Sherwood Foresters and got his commission in September 1914. When his regiment was sent to the front he was mentioned in despatches of May 1915, and was awarded the Military Cross for saving the life of an Officer. On May 16th 1915 he was shot through the heart by a sniper at Kemmel, Belgium and was buried there.

 

GILBERT THOMAS GORE McMICKING, the son of Major G. McMicking D.S.O., M.P., of Miltonise, Wigtownshire, was born 1st August 1894 and was at MC from 1905 to 1912. In 1913 he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, and took a commission in the Cambridgeshire Regiment. When war broke out he was studying at Weimar and was at once interned. He spent three and a half years in captivity at Celle, suffering many privations, especially during an attempt to escape in February 1917. In January 1918 he was moved to internment in Holland, where he died, after a short illness, at Bois-le-Duc on Armistice Day, 11th November 1918.

 

JOHN STUART WAGNER, the son of J.H. Wagner, Esq. of Ditton Hill, Surrey, was at MC from 1914 to 1917. On leaving Marlborough he joined the ranks of the Middlesex Regiment and served with them until October 26th 1918 when he died of pneumonia in a military hospital.

 

ARTHUR BRYAN PHELPS McCLENAGHAN, 2nd Lieutenant, 1st Wiltshire Regiment, was at MC from 1909 to 1914. He was the eldest son of the Reverend G.R. McClenaghan of Bildeston Rectory, Suffolk. He came to A House in September 1909 with a foundation scholarship and by 1914 was a school prefect and Captain of Mitre at cricket. In September 1914 he joined the 1st. Wiltshire Regiment and was killed during a charge at Hooge, on 16th June 1915, aged 20.

Ron Jones House (part two) by Sasha Ward

Since exhibiting my window and wallpaper designs together earlier in the year, I have wanted to work on a project where I could decorate all the surfaces of a room. The IT room/lounge at Ron Jones House in Bristol turned out to be that project.

Linoleum Striato - Water Colour                                                                                    Left hand side of the room

Linoleum Striato - Water Colour                                                                                    Left hand side of the room

This slightly daring linoleum, "Water Colour" , found its perfect home as the centre piece for the new room. The colour is light but also rich, invigorating and in tune with our colour range. I used its streaks as the background for my wallpaper designs, and didn't mind that once it arrived in the middle of my room layout (below) the original floor design - suitably altered - was banished to the left hand half of the ceiling.

Net for my final model of the room

Net for my final model of the room

Before and After, left hand side

Before and After, left hand side

The IT room/lounge was two rooms that have become one, so part of my task was to link the two halves while giving each its own feel. The left hand side is the IT side, and although the new wall colour is neutral the glow from the ceiling blues the colour in that half. In the right hand side, the wallpaper wraps around the seating area with the richest gold colour continuing along the wall behind the new sofa and across to the open door. 

Before and After, right hand side

Before and After, right hand side

The development of the design from my original repeating three colour motif to the version used on the windows and walls here was mostly achieved by stripping parts of the pattern away and allowing other parts to float around. I also wanted to make my original inspiration (from the plant in the sunlight) more visible, so I added fine lines as radiating suns, stars on the ceiling and vertical plants on the walls and window vinyls.

Details from the right hand side - window and wall designs.

Details from the right hand side - window and wall designs.