1982 was the centenary of Virginia Woolf. We (the Blackie) celebrated this with a series of activities called 'Sister to Shakespeare'. 'My Room' was created as part of these celebrations.
We wanted to make these celebrations relevant not only to people who read Virginia Woolf but also to the kids and adults of inner- city Liverpool where we live and work. We also wanted not only to read and talk about Virginia Woolf's work - but also to make concrete both the need for an equality of creative opportunity for all, and the need for people (and from Virginia Woolf's point of view particularly women) to have their own space. My Room was our response to this.
Once the box was designed and built people were invited to pick a space and put within it an object which they would either like to have in a room of their own or which they felt would tell everyÂone else it was truly their own room. The work was started as part of a summer play project, run as a participatory workshop during the week of 'Sister to Shakespeare' and finished during workshop sessions with young people.
The objects were made by kids, teenagers, art students, working artists, housewives...most of the objects were made at the Blackie by the people who chose them, some were made at home and brought in, and some were designed and chosen by one person and made for them by another.
Once the box was complete it was exhibited in the entrance of the Walker Art Gallery, from there it went to the Childrens Hospital where it remained for some years before returning to the Blackie. During the latest phase of redevelopment it was taken apart and stored. In 2013 it was reassembled (remarkably we located 95% of it) so that it could be exhibited as part of 'Art Turns Left' (Nov 2013 to Feb 2014) Tate Liverpool. It then returned to the Black-E where it is now on display.
The box was designed by Wendy Harpe, and built by Tony Mercer, the workshops were led by Deepak Popli, Mel Young, Wendy Harpe, Julia Hallam and David Harding with students from Dartington College of Art.
Below is photo of the box, a photograph of the box being worked on, photographs of the items in their spaces and a photograph of the finished box. There was a list of who filled which space - this is now lost. If anyone knows who created specific pieces please let us know.
Right the box being worked on during Sister To Shakespeare
Left the completed box.
The photographs below are of the individual objects and are arranged to reflect the three sections of the box. They read from left to right.
Above Joey Brodie's broken heart being installed and the heart in situ.
Below the Heart is a space full of cushions see above
Above, next to the Heart, an installation of String and Matchsticks, below that John Szarkiewicz's Fishing Flies and Stamps on cork.
Next to the String installation are Curtains with embroidered Silver Music Notes made by Sally Morris and below the Curtains a Coke Can on a plinth and then a suspended Purse.
Above the Weaving being made and in situ followed by a Bent Cane next to an Eye - the result of Shirley Cameron's workshop held during Sister To Shakespeare.
Below these are a wardrobe, a woman standing before a table and a typrwriter.
Maria Agatha's Ballerina and Tony Mercer's Tools made by his son Kevin .
Below the Tools a Teddy Bear and an Installation consisting of a suspended sheet of silver foil with flying paper birds in front of it.
Silver Tree and in the space beneath a Draughtsman's drawing table.
Wooden construction by a student from Dartington College of Art above two Plaques by Joanna Benson and Esther Jonas
Glider, below it a Wood Burning Stove and Name Plate with John Williams carved on it made by John Williams.
Below the Name Plate a Clock Springs installation by Eddie Berry and a Rainbow Sound Deck with Rainbow Sound Waves
At the top Unglazed Pots, below this Angel Fish in a space with a gravel base and mirrored sides, under that a Tent with a foot peaking out and finally a Body Wrapped in Gauze. The Tent and Body were both made by students from Dartington College of Art.
Then there is a tall space occupied by Lisa Agatha's Foxgloves which were purple but are now brown with age. And then a space with Found Objects above A Zig Zag made of perspex with polystyrene pieces.
Next The Little Girl on a grass mound, below that a Computer made out of wood and then a Â£1,000,000 note
In the centre section, across the top , is a Mango Stone suspended before strips of paper and Maud Sulter's Knitting
Under these A Book written by ? and under The Book a Blue Car on a Ramp
In the centre Stones in Resin by Eddie Martin below that a Fortune Telling paper
Snooker Cues and below that Two Sphinx made out of plasticine.
Then an Abstract Painting below that a Four Poster Bed made by Geraldine Martin and then a Transparent Cube with objects suspended within it.
Tall Window, within the space underneath it, Bill Harpe's installation of Shells and Leaf followed by Judy Bate's Silver Thread Macrame Hanging
Waves made out of dental wax A foot with a Running Shoe, A Skipping Rope and Buster's Flute
At the top Flowers made out of coloured plastic film and beads. The Frog, beneath that Stephen Knox's Homage to Stevie Wonder
Making the Windmill and the Windmill in its space. Below that a colourful Hat.
Stella Mae's (dancer in Sister to Shakespeare) Motor Bike which sits above the Kite. And a large Sweet on Plinth which sits above the installation next to the Kite.
In the corner Ed George's Kite followed by a Dartington Art College student's Installation of bits of material on wires
In the spaces above the Fish a Boxer and a Yellow Guitar
Fishing Rod and Fish followed by Wendy Harpe's installation of Polished Bark hanging from a twig
Pool Table above a Rocking Chair which should have a figure in it
Figure Screaming on Plinth and Dressing Table by Karen Bowden
Below a Radio followed by a Silver Rope Ladder with Flowers and the flowers being made.
Bunch of Keys by Julie Hallam, a Yellow Harp, below these a small black and grey Boat
An Artist's Palette in the bottom left hand corner space under Leroy Agatha's Hovercraft