Saturday, 11 February 2017

Preparing for #Word and Thread - on March 5th-

#Eliot#sculpture in the City#Espacio gallery#Walking with The Waste Land#Cecilia Vicuña#LiziSanchez,Cadenetas#Quipus#International Women's Day#Vivienne#Where's the Sense in It?

Thoughts that developed as a result of our field trip on February 9th.


 A walking field trip from Espacio Gallery on the Bethnal Green Rd. through Sculpture in the City at various locations ending at Leadenhall Market.

Participants: Veronika Marsh   (Linguist, and artist)
                     Virginia Fitch.     (Walking with The Waste Land)
                     Allan                    (Poet, writer , student of life)
                     Helen Peacock     (Artist, currently exploring wires and tensions)
                     Jill Rock               (Sculptor and performance artist)
                     Elspeth Penfold    (Artist, weaver, exploring walking as research)
I have invited participants on these walks to take a leap of faith with me as we are never too sure how the walk will evolve or who will turn up on the day. When questioned about the route I say that there is a heartfelt aim that we will somehow arrive at our destination.

This is all very difficult to explain, hence the leap of faith.The following explanation might be helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnteiRO-XfU

Perhaps one of the most important characteristics of the rhizome is that it always has multiple entryways. Likewise this walk has multiple entryways.


1. Threads an Exhibition at Espacio Gallery, including a piece of my own work "Quipu". 

Quipu was made during a residency at Sun Pier House in Chatham, last July from materials gathered during a walk organised with the Walking with The Waste Land group for  The Writing Buildings symposium at The University of Kent. 

It now seems clear that threads as a metaphor are looming large in this walk. 

2.  A second entry way is Palabra e Hilo, sited readings of a  poem by Cecilia Vicuña, Threaod and Word. Vicuña  is a Chilean Poet and a walker who weaves words. Like TS Eliot, Vicuña's writing is a stream of conscious thought with references to mythic ideas but hers are rooted in Andean culture rather than European. 

The fragmentary introduction of poetry readings from different sources ties in well with another entry which is:

3. International Women's month, celebrating the work of Sarah Lucas and Lizi Sanchez.
Kevin and Florian - Sarah Lucas

Lizi Sanchez is a Peruvian artist, whose work Cadenetas, paper chains, offers a different entry point to an engagement with the walk. 

 The fragmentary introduction of poetry readings and interventions as we walk plays with Cadenetas as we go spotting and discovering the copper chains installed along the site of Sculpture in the City.

 Sculpture in the City

 4.The exhibition Program of Sculpture in theCity offers  a further entry point. Artists and walkers have chosen to engage with sculptures along the route.

 4.Walking with The Waste Land is another entry point.
This is a walking group which is a part of Journeys with The Waste Land, at the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate.

 The group  have been using walking as research to explore the poem as a contribution to the wider Research group for an exhibition opening at The Turner contemporary in 2018.

Sited readings of The Waste Land by TS Eliot will take place along the route from Espacio to Leadenhall Market.

These readings engage with site and open ideas connected with Palabra e Hilo

5.If you enjoy walking as research you might like to join a walk I am organising in Margate, on March 11th, as a part of POW Thanet , Let's Talk about Vivienne. 

Vivienne Haigh-Wood Eliot has been seen variously as a femme fatale who enticed Eliot into marriage or his muse without whom some of his most important work would never have been written.

for more about this: walk:http://www.powthanet.com/lets-talk-about-vivienne.html

So there we have it Rhizomes a useful tool to allow ourselves the freedom to engage creatively. 

Add caption

 These events are all threaded together by the people I have invited to participate in the walk from Espacio Gallery to Leadenhall Market. I am interested in people and what brings us together. I am delighted with the ideas and interventions that have already developed as a result of the field trips.

 Using walking as a research tool to develop ideas and bring people together to collaborate creatively is proving to be incredibly rewarding. The metaphor of the Rhizome allows us not to close down opportunities for discovery, chance encounters and ideas.

Thinking about Rhizones, Ropes and the knots made by participants walking on Thursday

I am looking forward to our walk on March 5th!

Our walk last Thursday was no exception.We were, in Ingold's words, wayfaring rather than transporting.

The ropes I make and give to participants in the walks to document the experience by making knots play with this concept of wayfaring.

"Every place, then , is a knot in the meshwork , and the threads from which it is traced is a line of wayfaring"- Walking Threads, Threading Walk"; Weaving and Entangling Deleuze and Ingold with Threads

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Terminalia Festival of Psychogeography 

Exploring Boundaries and Monuments.     

A walk from Vauxhall Bus station on Thursday February 23rd

I was researching the Mythic Method and the essence of Modernity, which as I understand it does not mean returning to the past but giving an understanding to the present, when I was contacted about the Terminalia Festival. 

Through this walk and it’s connections with Terminus the Roman God who ruled over boundaries I hope to explore these ideas further.

“ Instead of narrative method, we may now use the mythic method. It is, I seriously believe, a step toward making the modern world possible for art.”
T.S. Eliot, from Ulysses, Order, and Myth (1923)

The mythic method  is  also connected to Eliot’s idea for allowing the audience to participate and workout the meaning of an artist’s work.

There is a wonderful exhibition on at Pallant House in Chichester exploring the Mythic Method :http://pallant.org.uk/exhibitions/current-exhibitions/main-galleries/the-mythic-method-classicism-in-british-art/the-mythic-method-classicism-in-british-art

For details about the Festival and this walk: http://terminaliafestival.org or check out my previous blog posting.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Exploring Boundaries and Monuments. 

Terminalia Festival of Psychogeographyhttp://terminaliafestival.org

I was recently contacted about the Terminalia Festival of Psychogeography by the walking network Women Who Walk. I am looking forward to taking part in the Festival , please let me know if you'd like to join me on this walk. 

"On 23 May 2006, following the passing by Parliament of the ‘Serious Organised Crime and Police Act’ prohibiting unauthorised demonstrations within a one kilometre radius of Parliament Square, the majority of Haw’s protest was removed. Taken literally, the edge of this exclusion zone bisects Tate Britain.”

 The Terminialia Festival, a one day festival on Thursday February 23rd celebrates Terminus, the Roman God who ruled over boundaries and whose statue was merely a stone or post stuck in the ground. In recognition of Terminus and the ritual of celebrating the Roman New Year which traditionally began on March 1st, the walk will focus on exploring the memorials and statues along the trajectory.

 We will observe how and what we choose to commemorate and celebrate through our public spaces. Each participant in the walk will receive a hand made rope which they can make knots in to record the experience of the walk. 

We will be walking at 11.00 am from Vauxhall bus station to Waterloo station via Tate Britain, the site of Mark Wallinger’s, "State Britain”in 2007.

We will then follow an exploratory walk  to Trafalgar Square and on to St Paul’s , ending at Waterloo Station. This should take a couple of hours allowing for a tea or coffee break en route. 

Following on from this walk, on the 25th of February, there will be a second walk in Seasalter near Whitstable, in Kent. On this walk we will walk to “ Mick’s post” where we will tie the ropes knotted on the London walk to Mick’s post in a symbolic ritual of the celebration of Terminus. Mick’s post is a white post in Seasalter which has been erected near the sea wall to indicate the boundary for the digging of bait in the estuary. 

Images from these walks will be posted on Twitter @womenwhowalknet @elspethpenfold, using #Terminalia. To find out more about my walking as research please visit my website blog:

 If you would like to attend either of these walks please contact me: elspethpenfold@yahoo.co.uk

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

An Introduction

 I started the group Walking with the Waste Land  assisted and encouraged by research curator Trish Scott to use walking as a research tool as a part of the wider Research Group A Journey with The Waste Land, at The Turner Contemporary in Margate. The Research group has been working together for over eighteen months to curate an exhibition about TS Eliot’s poem, The Waste Land. 

During this time the walking group has undertaken a number of walks with community groups and the wider public using sites around Margate to read and explore aspects of the poem. 

We are now developing ideas for  two walks, Thread and Word which will be taking place in Shoreditch on March 5th . and Let’s Talk about Vivienne, a walk which will be a part of POW Thanet on March 11th in Margate. 

Please see previous blogs, for more about Let's talk about Vivienne and if you are interested youcan check out previous walks.

A Discordant Walk, on January 19th 2017
 What follows are some of the ideas that emerged from this walk.

1.The idea for a discordant walk came from my listening to All in a Chord on Radio 4 which pointed to the impact that going to see Rites of Spring by Stravinsky, had on TS Eliot. 

The chord and its composition made me think about how experimentation and pushing boundaries led to a wonderful piece of music which then influenced the writing of a poem about writing poetry. It is well worth listening to and I have added a link here:

The discordant chord made me also think of the Eliot's marriage and it reminded me of the structure of the poem itself .Furthermore  the power of the music as a physical experience seemed to me to link with the research process we are using which involves the physical activity of walking as a way to research the poem.

2. Music and Chords also came to mind a few days later when I was researching the links between walking and weaving and found a link to "Walking Threads, Threading Walk”:
Ropes made for participants on a Margate Walk

Weaving and Entangling Deleuze and Ingold with Threads

I started to use knots and ropes to document  the walks after recalling   reading about Tribes in Papua New Guinea who used ropes and knots to document their walks in Tim Ingold's book Threads.

sylvanno Bussoti

I love the above image. I found it as a result of my reading and it reminded me of the relationships between what appear to be things that have no relationship, in this case knots and strings and musical annotation which goes full circle back to the inspiration for a discordant walk.

I also found a reference  to Tim Ingold's description of  writer as weaver (text, textere). As a weaver myself who now seems to be spending a great deal of time walking and writing  it reminded me again of the meanings that are found in textiles and made me think about the straps I have been weaving. I had a conversation with an artist on a walk last Saturday about the fact that I was making the straps without knowing why I was doing this. Maybe I do know really, are they related to the walks, I wonder.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Seasalter in the frost in January, an estuary walk.

 Reflections on last week's walk from Espacio Gallery to Leadenhall Market: a field trip for our walk Thread and Word on March 5th.

Feedback and Reflections from our field trip on January 19th

  These are a few of the thoughts that have remained with me after last week’s walk, the observations made and the discussion that followed after the walk

 I thought these were worth sharing as the purpose of the walking is research and responses. A very big thank you to Naya, Sheelah and Jennifer for their contribution on the day and also in helping to formulate the following.

The thoughts, reflections, ideas, connections.

1.The site of sculpture in the City of London, with so many tall buildings, engages your senses. They draw the gaze up and  can make it difficult to focus on the sculptures. Whether you agree or disagree, it brought to mind  this link to the site and the history of Sculpture in the City. I think it is helpful to know more about the Sculpture in the City program and the designated site so I'm providing this link.

(This is not a great photo but it demonstrates how subtle and unobtrusive  the work by Lizi is) 

2. Cadenetas-  by Lizi Sanchez, is so subtle and evocative, resembling paper chains caught in the trees and buildings,

I thought about the association between Lizi’s work and ideas of fragmentation which link to both the poetry of Cecilia Vicuña and TS Eliot.

It made me think about the process we are engaged in, using poetry, artworks and artists from many different backgrounds to create personal interventions in the walk, with spaces or gaps in between, chains or fragments that link us together.

 I thought the the following article which I read some time ago was an interesting connection and how the spaces in between can tell us as much as what is in front of us.

3. Does reading Cecilia Vicuña's poem in Spanish give you a greater insight into the poem and it's associated imagery? I had a very interesting exchange of emails about culture with Sheelah and it led me to this. See the photo alongside.

"Palabra e Hilo/ Word & Thread is published in a numbered edition
of 300 copies, including 26 signed and lettered by the author and
translator, on the occasion of Cecilia Vicuña's exhibition "Precario"
Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh,
October 26th 1996 - January 5th 1997."

Serendipity! The Threads exhibition will be travelling to Edinburgh in July and Inverleith House is within walking distance from the gallery where we will be exhibiting. More about this nearer the time.

More links, on a closer reading of the poem there is a reference to "Mary Frame" , to be found in the text "Weaver of Worlds: from Navajo Apprenticeship to Sacred Geometry and Dreams", which speaks to me of the mythic method used in Modernist writings and the work of TS Eliot.

And finally.......
'quipucamayoc' a piece I made last November

4.The photo above "quipucamayoc" is of a piece I made in November from the knotted ropes of the walkers who took part in a walk for Armistice Day in Margate.For more about this and an explanation of the origins of the title:


There was some discussion after our field trip last week as to whether the knots made by walkers should by shared and their meaning explained. Is there a  logic in the knotting?

I am undecided. I think textiles tell their own stories. As explained by the anthropologist Frank Solomon, " Khipu cords are paths guiding the hands, eye and mind to the trans temporal source of things". Maybe they represent the things that you can't find the words to explain?

I am looking forward to our next walk.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Preparing for Thread and Word a walk from Espacio Gallery to Leadenhall Market on March 5th at 1pm.

This walk is by invitation only, please email me if you would like to take part.

The walk is part of a programme of events organised at Espacio 
Gallery as part of the Threads exhibition curated by the Artists’ Pool. 
This exhibition brings together artists from varied creative practices, backgrounds, cultures and countries to explore the threads that connect us through our experiences, humanity, gender, friendship and relationship. 

"Cadenetas " a drawing 
With this in mind I have invited artists, writers, friends, performers and walkers, to celebrate the threads that bring us together which will be reflected in the readings, interventions and performances as we walk. The route I have chosen is from the Espacio gallery to the site of Sculpture in the City where we can reflect on the achievements of the two women sculptors from different backgrounds, Amy Lucas (English) and Lizzie Sanchez (Peruvian) whose work is represented amongst the public artworks. Lizi  Sanchez’s work “Cadenetas” (paper chains) is particularly evocative of the sentiment guiding this walk.
'Cadenetas'  at the Hiscox building
Lizi Sanchez's work which is discreetly positioned  along several sites as a part of Sculpture in the city.

Thread and Word - an introduction:

This walk is both a departure from and a continuation of  the work I have been undertaking for the last eighteen months as a part of the A Journey with The Waste Land Research group at the Turner Contemporary in Margate. I have established and led a walking group to research T S Eliot's writing of the Waste Land and it's connections with Margate. For more about this:

I have chosen to use readings from 'ThreadWord' by the Chilean artist CeciliaVicuña for this walk because Cecilia Vicuña is a woman from my part of the world. In her poetry she follows T S Eliot's focus in writing a style of poetry that is concerned with it's function rather than form .
"Metaphors in tensions, the word and the thread carry us
A weave, Metaphors in Tension
threading and speaking, to what unites us, the immortal

(Thread Word, Cecilia Vicuña)

The walk  brings together several strands of my art practice. Cecilia Vicuña is a Chilean female artist whose art is a recurring influence for me .I share her belief that it is through doing and making that new work emerges and creativity is developed.The act of making takes you into a different place which allows for expression that sometimes cannot be put into words. By using walking as research and connecting it to place and people through everyday interactions and sited interventions I hope to create opportunities for participating walkers to gain a sense of interconnectedness in a world that is rapidly becoming polarised and inward looking.

Weaving and rope making, with their rhythms and repetitions can take you on a journey, using your imagination and bringing  you into a different realm of story telling: 

                       "Word is thread and the thread is language

                        Non-linear body.

                        A line associated to other lines.

                        A word once written risks becoming linear,
                        but word and thread exist on another dimensional

(Thread Word, Cecilia Vicuña)

The words of Thread and Word are very connected with the ideas and ambitions of the exhibition at Espacio, celebrating the common threads that bring us together, and connecting with my own work bringing people together with shared interests through walking.This has also found expression in my making ropes for the walkers I have invited to participate.
'Is the word the conducting thread, or does thread
conduct the word-
Both lead to the centre of memory, a way of uniting and
 (Word Thread, Cecilia Vicuña)

It is my intention to continue to explore these connections through walking by using sited readings and performances chosen by members of the Walking with The Waste Land research group and invited artists. 

I will also be asking participants to use ropes to document the walking experience as recorded in my work Quipu, which has been selected for the Threads exhibition at Espacio. The knots are a recording of emotions, reactions and engagements during the walk

A Khipu (Quipu or Chinu in Aymara) is an Andean storage device made from chord .
(Frank Solomon)

This concept is not uniquely Andean it is also found in the Pueblos of New Mexico, it is referred to in the Bible, Numbers 15:37 -38, Herodotus mentions one during the Persian wars and they can also be found in the Ryukun Islands and Hawaii.

I am interested in exploring these connections through walking, sited readings, performances and interventions. 

Ropes made  for participants and knotted on a field trip organised on  January 19th
More about this and my walking practice can be found on my blog: http://elspethpenfold.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/fragments-and-thoughts-explanation-and_14.html

 I look forward to collaborating with the invited artists, friends and walkers and in sharing their work and responses to celebrate the threads that bring us together. I hope that the walk will help us explore a common bond and provide us with new opportunities and experiences to develop our art practices.

Monday, 16 January 2017

I am also so delighted to be organising this walk on March 11th.

                                                    Vivienne Haigh-Wood Eliot (28 May 1888 – 22 January 1947)

‘Let's talk about Vivienne’ 
An Artist Led Walk by Elspeth Penfold with Turner Contemporary 
‘Walking the Wasteland’ Research Group
Saturday March 11th 2017 11.00 a.m. - 1.30 p.m.
Meet: Turner Contemporary 
Finish: Dreamland Margate

‘Let's talk about Vivienne’ is an artist led walk by Elspeth Penfold with the Turner Contemporary ‘Walking with the Waste Land’ research group. As part of International Women’s Day celebrations in March 2017 we will openly and collaboratively celebrate Vivienne Haigh-Wood Eliot’s influence in the writing of the Waste Land with sited readings and interventions along the walk and reflect on the contribution of the ‘ghost women’ in TS Eliot's writing. Vivienne Haigh-Wood Eliot has been seen variously as a femme fatale who enticed Eliot into marriage or his muse without whom some of his most important work would never have been written.



The Walking with The Waste Land group have been preparing for this walk and already have some wonderful ideas in place.

 We are doing a bit of fieldwork and will be undertaking a discordant  walk on Wednesday  January 19th. I will keep posting as things progress.

Tickets for the walk on Saturday March 11th can be booked through POW Thanet, we have limited numbers, so book as soon as you can! We look forward to walking with you.