The world in a box

Sometimes an artist creates a work where you understand how it is done but cannot imagine being able to do it; carving a block or marble into somebody recognisable for instance. Other times you cannot guess at the processes the artist has used to get the results. Jackie Attwood’s amazingly intricate boxes come into that category. They incorporate found objects, screen printing, transfers and result in something which looks as though it has a special purpose, though you are not quite sure what. A time travelling machine perhaps; a device for listening in on the thoughts of others.  It is easy to imagine being sucked into to that word.  In one of her boxes there are a stack of spectacles; they could have magical properties, Jackie works as a technician at Sussex Coast College; her work has been exhibited in Rye  and there was an exhibition of her work last week in the Corridor Gallery.  Her speciality is screen printing; her passion is making these amazing boxes. Most of them seem to involve some kind of narrative. Look closely at the screen in the box below and there are a tiny pair of knickers; the woman in the box is working as a prostitute and you can see the attitude of society printed on the cubes to the left. In a film she would be played by Helena Bonham Carter looking wonderful. It’s romantic steam punk.

One of Jackie Attwood’s boxes. Behind the screen are tiny garments
Jackie Attwood: the boxes incorporate screen printing and found objects.
One of Jackie Attwood’s decorated lightbulbs
Jackie demonstrates her way of working to students at Sussex Coast College

Jackie browses antique and junk shops for suitable boxes; she takes inspiration from old books and then builds up layers of meanings. She screen prints things you would have thought would have been impossible to screen print such as the interior of a light bulb – it is actually done by means of a transfer. The boxes, Jackie told me are unplanned; they develop over weeks as she finds and puts together the right components. Jackie also makes other craft objects, extraordinary ceramic buttons for instance; I had an image of her working away like one of the characters in her boxes – surrounded by wonderful things, somehow not quite of our time.

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