What was that something about The Waste Land I could never pin down?
What was that something about The Waste Land I could, pin down.
Shared experience in the picture book, evidence I did not imagine the journey.
A swan song of sorts for me, Violet Grey dissolved, remnants mothballed.
Found a violet flowering yesterday in the dank November gloaming.
Until hyacinth and lilac shanti shanti…we inhabit a new dawn.

Wendy Freeman
November 2020

These words are dedicated to the memory of much missed, inspirational fellow performance poet, musician and writer Dave Reeves. Dave and I were What Lies Beyond, sadly our last performance together, was Waste Time (a do) on September 23rd 2018, at The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in Coventry, for Journeys with “The Waste Land” project. I shed a tear.

Thank you to Karen Parker (the Keeper) for producing the treasured Picture Book mentioned in the poem.

Waste Time (A Do). Curated by What Lies Beyond at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum. Coventry 23/9/18.

Inspired by T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Waste Land”, the studio was filled with interactive creative possibilities related to quotes and references from the poem, providing a transient audience with an intriguing Art Action event for all ages. Dave Reeves was under cover as the “Bradford Millionaire”, he had invested well in the “Blind Prophet” beach tent with T.V. installation. I noticed children were particularly drawn to the white static screen. An empty glass case represented “Nothing with Nothing”, a conversation piece to stretch the intellect and imagination.

“Shanti Shanti Town “ by Ali McKellar. A colourful flock of knitted birds, an aviary full of Hope and Peace. New birds were created during the event, and added to this thoughtful display. The ambient sound from Hang-drum musician Chris Lyle, provided atmospheric dimensions. Visitors had the opportunity to play this unusual instrument and create their own weathering soundscapes.

“Shall I at least set my lands in order.” Land artist Simon English displayed specific visual points and written observations of Change, from his epic art work England re-visited alongside the original map covering 75 researched points in 1970 and revisited in 2010.  An accessible conceptual art work which provided much discussion.

“Violet and her Accessories” aka Wendy Freeman, a  circular banquet table of violet themed place setting assemblages, incorporating ingredients from the poem and her journey with the project, using sand and symbols to invigorate “The Violet Hour” and the Margate and Coventry links. Her accompanying 3D poetry, works in progress , were, a violet umbrella of recycled art notes, to Help Yourself. and a concertina clothes dryer of clothes hangers, for the invisible women from the poem,

An  Activity Corner provided materials for drawing Enso and a mask of William Shakespeare for Selfies, both proved popular and well chosen productive elements from Eliot’s very many references in the poem. Contributions from visitors on the day included a life drawing from Karen Parker and Eve Fleming provided a jigsaw puzzle and worked on her textile book of Lichen. Visitors were invited to guess the number of currants in a jar on Violets table, referencing “with a pocket of currants” from the merchant in the poem. Mrs Kendall from Redditch, who counted the currants in the jar,  said “I didn’t realise wasting time could be so much fun.”

Over all, a curious, inspiring event with lots to do and think about. A contemporary legacy from the poem, which may have amused Mr Eliot.

Violet Grey.

Violet banquet table with Violet Grey (aka Wendy Freeman) and Eve Fleming

I am sad that this post was not published at the correct time last November. No excuses it just slipped past the Keeper! Dave is missed and Wendy continues to pursue a lively creative life in her home town of Stratford-upon-Avon. Many happy memories of the Journeys With “The Waste Land”

Poetry by Wendy inspired by the Journeys With “The Waste Land” can be found here.

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