SITE SPECIFIC | Jenny Pope
St Marks Church Graveyard, 287 Portobello High St, EH15 2AR
tel 07766 332048
I am drawn to St Mark’s Graveyard, a collection of graves, markers and indications of people’s lives, and a commemoration of their deaths since 1828. I am particularly interested in the lives unmarked, only recorded in archives and registers, too poor to pay for a permanent stone. To read the early registers is to realise that behind each interment there is a bereavement that was just as real for those who lived and died more than 100 years ago as it would be for us today.
I am drawn to emphasizing these ordinary lives, everyday and compelling stories such as - ‘the seven children of Robert Farmer, labourer, Easter Duddingston, born at 12 to 18 month intervals and all dead within a few months of birth.’ (From an early church register, quoted on church website) I have been wondering about some of the stories untold, what about Mrs Farmer? What did she go though to lose 7 children? I saw on another gravestone the words ‘indescribable grief’, and feel that a visual piece, without words could be a point of contemplation about historical as well as contemporary losses.
The sculptural form will be suspended between 2 trees on the northeast boundary of the graveyard and have a softly undulating surface, curves and gentle roundness, perhaps nest or cloudlike and of human scale. It will be made with good quality linen woven over a willow framework. I see it as a focus for visitors to sit quietly, in a place that holds so much history, maybe for local people with a family connection or more generally for all our losses.
Jenny Pope has a studio at WASPS in Albion Road, Edinburgh. She trained at Edinburgh College of Art, gaining a BA in Ceramics and then graduating in 2005 with an MA in Sculpture.
Her sculptural pieces are inspired by beachcombing, collecting, bone structures and geology. She has a fascination with the inescapable changes that happen in our internal lives and also externally in the natural environment.
She uses a broad range of materials including porcelain, limecrete and found materials and is currently exploring textile processes.
She exhibits regularly in the UK and has won professional development awards. She divides her time between practicing artist and mental health work.