Poem by Alanna McIntyre

Alanna McIntyre got in touch following her visit to Radical Craft at Pallant House Gallery. This is the poem that she wrote following what she described as a 'healing' visit, following a period of emptiness … 


Dug up the dandelions

Weeded two bags full

The physicality of pulling

Out the roots like

Pressing out blackheads.

The satisfaction of

Squeezing loosening

Leaving a clear space.

Shower breakfast

One quick telephone call catch

The bus in town no 700

Worthing Littlehampton

And eventually Chichester.

The route elongated

Like material

Winding through the countryside

Bits I’d visited with the car

Soon after your death.

Now relaxed and enjoying

The sun through the window

On the top deck

Little flashbacks

Acknowledged but do not linger

Keep with momentum of the bus.

And today being Sunday

Most of the shops

Places closed so eyes

Focus ahead don’t look back.

Disembark at the market

But no temptation to buy

Only a cheese straw

Chewy, satisfying as I walk

To the Pallant Gallery

John Piper’s paintings

His furnishing materials

Marketed by Sandersons.

His hangings for churches cathedrals

Woven foliate heads

The four seasons

Sunflowers and architectural outlines.

Subtle colours juxtaposed

With vibrant hues.

Radical Craft

Alternative ways of making

Outside in where the

Artists’ uses their skills

As way of communicating

Like I do with words and art.

Knitted shoes with

Grass and straw

Plaited grasses make

Delicate woven hats.

Nut folk seed pods from the

Eucalyptus tree with added

Found things figures of good luck.

Ceramic figures, dinosaurs

One in textile one in metal

Other shapes wound round in

Clingfilm and coloured threads.

Jeans twisted round with

Tape shaped into a different life.

A flag stitched in layers and

A table stitched set for four

Shown on the video screen.

A short clip of an artist

Whose floating mobiles

Emphasise colour, shape, texture,

Swing joy into our lives.

A stitched picture with birds

Where the black crow was made to

Cover a tiny tear in the material,

The other embroidered birds

Are rainbow coloured.

Trams made with recycled stuff

Intricately put together.

A suitcase lovingly restored

Mounted as a person

With paper-maché head

One part of the open suitcase

Is divided into little rooms

The other side

Full of beautiful luggage labels

Describing the journey.

A collection of wooden objects

In a wooden cabinet

With yet another drawer

You can pull out carefully

And your sense of smell

Is engaged as well.

A person made from detritus

Washed up from the Thames.

Coiled jugs made into birds

Beautifully coloured like totem

Bowls. Stained glass painted

Symbolically transforms trauma

In coloured birds animals human form.

Seven suits in twisted coloured metal

Hung from metal pieces where

The reason,occasion that

The suit was bought is engraved.

Architectural cotton threads stiffened

With fibre resin or sugar made into buildings.

A small ironing board so colourful

Cotton bobbins dangle from the sides

The top decorated with cherished items

Legs adorned with shiny bits and bobs.

Glossy cloth decorated

With tiny seed balls of thread.

Recycled glass edifices strong yet fragile

Like the brain.  Machine embroidered

Figures gather in an African scene.

The metal cranes recycled

Bits and pieces intricately

And lovingly made.

A conglomeration of the weird

And beautiful made into

A sculpture in my mind

The thing I remember a most perfect shell

Towards the apex.

Large figures made of woven birch bark.

Match sticks carved as tiny figures.

Graphite pencils with miniscule

Sculptures only seen through a magnifier.

The life size figures from India

Made of cloth with embroidered faces

Where the artist had transformed

A whole area with his figures.

The ribs chips and Pepsi stall

Showed us the artist’s favourite food

Neatly stitched in place.

The garden trees covered with coloured

Crochet squares pompons hang

Animals pop from knitted pockets

Downpipes wound round with coloured threads

Celebrating colour and zany happy

Collaborative crafty art.

The bus to Littlehampton has just

Left the train station is nearby

It’s quicker no need to retrace

This morning’s journey.

The heart shape covered lovingly

In coloured yarn has soothed

The ache I wonder what magic

Secrets have be wound within

Going home is now ok

Thank you all.


Image: Maria Wicko, Untitled (Bird)

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