A few weeks ago, I took part in a couple of drawing sessions at the Pitt Rivers Museum, as part of their Need, Make, Use programme. We were privileged with being allowed to draw objects from the original collection that are not otherwise on show. In one of the sessions, we were even treated to a haunting audio recording of the Haida people from British Columbia, whose ancestors made the object – a carved wooden helmet in the shape of an octopus. The combination of studying the helmet at close quarters and listening to the Haida voices wash over me, led me to accompany my drawing with a ‘conversation’ with the helmet. Don’t worry, I didn’t talk out loud… that might have freaked out the other artists. The second object I drew was also a helmet. This time, one made from the skin of a porcupine fish, made by the native people of the Gilbert Islands, Micronesia.
People who sketched in these sessions were invited to submit their work to the Old Fire Station, to be shown in an exhibition featuring 2D art during their Makers Month in April. Happily, my octopus helmet drawing was picked to be part of it. Maybe I should start conducting interviews with other inanimate objects.