Conservation area

June 23rd, 2007

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80 birdhouses made from kits by me, were given away for free at the Brockley summer fair in June 2007. Anyone who took a birdhouse was also given a leaflet in which I explained where best to site their birdbox and how to look after it.
When we arrived, we were instructed to pitch up our folding stall next to the Green Party and opposite Oxfam. I developed my banter as the afternoon progressed, overcoming visitors’ shyness and suspicion with advice about how to use the birdhouses. This moved into conversations about the birds they had seen around their homes; including details of their gardens, yards or balconies. All of the birdhouses were given out within two hours, with families crowding around and taking several at once. The event organisers assumed the Green Party owned the stall and announced by tannoy that birdboxes were being given away. An employee from the RSPB gave me hints on improving the boxes, whilst Green Party representatives discussed their local policies.

The fair was held in an area where I could not afford to live. The numbers of small birds in London have declined by up to 90%.

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Deckchair Repair

August 1st, 2005

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For over a month I prepared a suitable place from which to conduct deckchair repairs, clearing out rubbish and making alterations to a shed in the sculpture yard at Wimbledon School of Art. Inside I set up a desk and chair, with radio and reference materials. Two rolls of replacement deckchair fabric (Mablethorpe and Bridlington) hung from the wall for visitors to choose from. Deckchairs that needed work were stacked inside, alongside wood treatments and tools.

I handed out leaflets to commuters at Wimbledon station advertising repairs and posted them through letter boxes in the area. A radius of two miles was mapped around the repair centre, from which I would do repairs for those who could not make it to the shed.

Around me, technicians, students and tutors continued with their work, stopping in for a cup of tea and the latest news of The Ashes (winning year). Every morning at 10am I arrived and opened up the deckchair repair. I rubbed down frames and teak oiled them, treating for woodworm, polishing fixings and replacing covers. Deckchairs were brought in for repair by members of the public, whilst sturdy chairs were set up in the yard for anyone who wanted to rest. My steady work set a familiarity and pace to proceedings. Visitors chatted and lounged, or peered into the repair workshop. At 5pm I closed up and went home.

1 August – 16 September 2005, MA show Wimbledon School of Art

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