Outside In artist Rosie Stevens has just completed a project exploring and researching artifacts from the Wellcome Collection’s medieval European collections. Here, alongside images from the closing event for the course, she reveals more about the fascinating finds and her journey with the charity.
When and why did you join Outside In?
I joined Outside In in November 2016. I had been attending an art group with Mind and the facilitator recommended I join. Outside in looked like a great organisation and so I applied for an online portfolio.
How would you describe your work?
I would describe my work as eclectic experiments which manifest in the form of drawings, collages, video, spoken word and wonky sounds. I view art making like keeping a diary whereby I pour in my thoughts, feelings and responses to my environment. I’m not so interested in creating a particular style or process because, for me, experimentation and spontaneity is all part of the fun.
What appealed to you about the course?
The opportunity to undertake research at a museum which champions curiosity really appealed to me. I was intrigued to find out more about the Wellcome Collection’s medieval manuscripts and learn from the experience of having access to historical items.
What were the highlights for you?
A particular highlight has been been discovering MS.409; a manuscript which I have focused much of my research and response upon. The manuscripts itself had lots of interesting features such a clasps, holes from book worms, cut out pages and crossed out text. I became particularly fascinated with the crossing out because it had been so vehemently done. I then discovered that the medieval church did not approve of certain rituals and charms, which were written in the manuscript. As the crossed out text was thick with ink it’s hard to decipher what’s underneath and so the practices have been disguised from the reader. It was really interesting to imagine what kind of magical spell would be underneath.
Do you think it will influence your work?
I think my experience of research at the Wellcome Collection will influence my work because it has further fuelled my desire to experiment. I feel the research process is all about trying things out and following lines of enquiry’s, which is in-conjunction with how I make pieces of art.
Would you recommend a course to others?
I would recommend a course to others because it is a great process to journey through. You can ponder lots of questions, use research tools and be creative. The Wellcome Collection in particular is a friendly and fascinating environment to work in.