‘Sole to Soul’ Croome Redefined – Croome Court, National Trust
I worked as a creative resident at the National Trust’s ‘Croome Redefined’ project. This was a four-year project when the house underwent repair and restoration as well as involving creative practitioners to work and respond to the heritage site.
‘Soul to Sole’ was an intricate installation where creative practitioners were given the brief to encapsulate a character from Croome’s past, exploring themes of ‘loss and survival’ within a pair of shoes.
With decades of history, Croome still holds an echo of its former self and everyone who has ever lived there. The two micro installations were sited within the shoe-rack housed in the basement of Croome Court.
As a creative resident I worked collaboratively with shoe designer Maud van den Broecke, who made the leather shoe constructions for my pieces combining glass, ceramics and printmaking to materialise my responses.
Wendy and George Hogarth were the inspiration for my contribution to the ‘Soul to Sole’ project. George Hogarth was a fighter pilot in the RAF during World War II and Wendy was in the Wrens working as a radio mechanic. They met and married whilst they were both based in Croome.
My works explore the relationship between fictitious and factual history. I met Wendy Hogarth and recorded her lucid memories of her experiences at Croome with her future husband, George. These conversations provided a way of imagining the day-to-day domestic challenges of living at Croome during World War II, when it was the centre for research into radar and a resting place for fighter jet pilots.
‘Our hot water bottles at bedtime were used for washing in the morning, and the loos were flushed when necessary with a bucket of water. (My husband who was a pilot living in 7 Site remembers his batman melting snow for shaving purposes). Once a week we were taken by transport, piling into the back of a naval lorry, to Malvern Wrennery for baths.’