The Distance Diaries – Part 1

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I remember watching my bampa emptying out his pockets onto the kitchen table.
Out poured an odd collection of objects that he carried with him every day.
The two that stick in my mind, are a pencil sharpened with a knife and a bundled length of string.
I believe he carried these things wherever he went.
Perhaps it was learnt from childhood.
Maybe it was a habit formed in the army.
Or just a quirk of his own; a plan to be prepared for all eventualities.

I hadn’t thought much of these objects until a couple of years ago when a friend gave me a small bundle of string of my own. He had come across it on a weekend away and, knowing that the artwork I was making was thread based, he had brought it back for me.
Just a small length of white and black twisted cotton.
I pinned it to the wall of the studio and forgot about it.

Then it moved to the new studio, in my home, and it came to life.
I began considering it in my work.
It could be twisted into a cats cradle. A game of nostalgia, play and communication.
It could be used to measure the distance between one object and another…one length of string, two lengths of string, three lengths of string…
With a pencil tied to one end and a pin through the other, I could draw a circle of any size.

And that is when I remembered my bampa’s string and pencil.
With these things he could measure the distance from one object to another.
With them he could draw a circle.
With them we can connect through time and space and death.
I hope this memory was real. It is to me.
So, who needs a ruler anyway?

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