Darning the Land
Darning the Land: Seam, 2011
Maurice Lea Memorial Park, Church Gresley
Temporary site-responsive work developed through a main commission awarded by re:place.
Maurice Lea Park lies within the parish of Church Gresley in Swadlincote, and before its renovation in 1930 had served as common land. Here coal was publicly accessible to be picked during pit strikes in the late C19th. Before its recreation as a public park in 1930, it was deeply scarred. The work attempts to reference its history, and connect people to the past when the land supported people on a fundamental level, through the metaphor of darning.
The work references the lineage of civic planting, reflected in towns across the UK where public gardens were for the exercise and release of the workingman, a tradition upheld within Swadlincote at both Maurice Lea and Eureka Park.
Physically, the piece is a double running stitch of 59 flowerbeds each 1.7m x 0.5m wide, spanning an area 80m x 2m across a section of the park, planted with 700 individual native grasses. The piece references a seam: a seam of fabric and a seam of coal. It uses the language of textiles to mend, and creates a form that the individual can weave himself or herself through.
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