The only venues I have visited twice are the Hornbeam Centre and the Forest Recycling Project exhibition. ‘Eklecticos’ at the FRP was definitely better second time around. The whole space seemed clearer and tidier, the tables had more stuff on them and were all labelled clearly. Order had been imposed on what really did seem to be a quite chaotic first day. Clive Mahoney had methodically labelled and numbered everything including the price. His key rings and pen holders, luxury pet carrier and lamp with a shower hose flex and car suspension spring were very entertaining and quite ingenious.
Same goes for Andrzej Jazdzewski's plants in scanner and printer beds, pet carrier and apple clock. The work that came out of the collaboration with 'ThinkArts' gave a nice splash of painted colour and texture and it was fun trying to work out exactly what the jewellery was made of.
Going up the stairs of the Hornbeam Centre there was the same pleasurable sensation of running a hand along the soft banister provided by Karen Logan’s big red ball of wool. However, at the top of the stairs there are large wooden letter shelves which dominate the very small landing and there is no obvious indication which way you should turn. There is moment of confusion before you head uncertainly into the room containing Anna-Lucie Feracci’s survival garden but still no sign saying who the work was by or what is was called.
The first time I went I didn’t actually realise that Dee Honeybun’s work was down the corridor to the left. I thought that was just the kitchen and offices so I completely missed it. Also, I was with the first walking tour so there were a lot of people trying to get up and down those narrow stairs which added to the sense of claustrophobia and confusion.
However, I think the second visit confirmed that it wasn’t actually the work, that I found difficult but the arrangement of the venue itself. Because of the logistics of this challenging space, clear signage and labelling is really important. Although there was text provided by the artists to explain each work, this was on a separate piece of paper downstairs in the café and was in a very small font. In the café itself Julian Beere’s large and meticulously constructed window piece looked great but it was not immediately clear to me who it was by, or even if it was part of the Trail. However, something that wasn’t part of the Trail and perhaps deserves to be was the plum cake…. YUM!