From These Windows: Online Collection – a selection of writing and art inspired by the collections of the V&A Museums.
On the beach in an indigo evening the strobe of St Mary’s lighthouse pulses through my body: absence, gleam, darkness, blaze. I turn and view the land. Light kaleidoscopes, fragmenting as I spin from black horizon to blood-spilled western skies. I press my foot into rippled sand and with strong toes scribe my name, then run, dig-dragging my foot behind me carving a weeping welt, a transitory trace. St. Mary’s searchlight stop-frames me in the dusk: blaze, absence, gleam, darkness. On my knees. I push my fingers into the sand, sharp stones scratch-scrape under my nails. My hands are a sluice box sifting for treasure. I have eyes on my fingertips and pockets full of jewels.
I stand my kaleidoscope on the windowsill, sunlight bleaches colours, pictures fade. This cardboard tube is softened by seeping damp and by my tallow hands. I believe in magic. Pointing the kaleidoscope straight at the sun I rotate the end (object chamber) fix my eye. Children from fractured homes learn to keep their eyes open. In my kaleidoscope lives a kingfisher with broken wings who dances to my command. I unpeel the yielding cardboard, crack open the plastic end, drop shards of mirror and stained glass into my palm. That’s the thing with magic, you shouldn’t look too closely.
I lie on my front, a piece of clear sea-glass between my fingers. Sunlight arrows through the glass, hits a sheet of blinding white paper. The paper stiffens. A yellow sun draws itself on the white surface, then browns. The paper thins and a small pinhole opens like an eye onto emerald grass. Soot blows into the eye as the lashed edges of the hole glow. Tiny flames flicker-lick then finally with a crackled sigh begin to devour the paper.
Though it is a ball of light this paperweight lies heavy in my hand, is cool and smooth to my tongue. My other hand closes over weightless space. I am the pivot-body of an unbalanced seesaw. The space in my right hand is full of the outside, of skin and air and breath. My left hand bears an ocean-green globe dense with shining things: bubbles, fragments of coloured glass, a grain of sand. I am pressing my feet into the ground, my open hands out in front of me, holding this sphere, this emptiness, this unbearable light.
Words © Andrea Turner
Artwork © Andrea Turner
||The creative pieces for These Windows were inspired by visits to the V&A Dundee, where writers and artists were given a guided tour of the Scottish Design Galleries followed by an interactive session exploring objects within the SDG handling collection:
|This piece inspired by: Kaleidoscope
The kaleidoscope is a Scottish creation, invented by Sir David Brewster in Edinburgh in 1816. He designed it to demonstrate his experiments with the reflection of light. Using a tube fitted with two or more angled mirrors, an endless variety of colourful symmetrical patterns can be viewed.