Friday, 25 April 2014
One of the nicest pieces of work that I ever made was a gift to a Professor of English Literature, whom I was dating at the time, many years ago, now. It was a limpet shell, pale, steep sided, scrubbed clean of the echoes of the sea, and of the remains of the flesh of the creature once dwelling within, inside which, in the form of a spiral, I inscribed, in pencil, the words of a love poem by Robert Herrick. The shell, an enchantingly simple, bony tent-like structure, was delicately tinted in shades of ochre, buff and cream, the smooth interior surface accepting the mobile graphite as if it had been designed for just that. I placed the shell, weighted with words of love, in a small box lined with white tissue paper, and could hardly contain my excitement at the prospect of bestowing it.
The relationship is long over; no correspondance has passed between us for at least a decade, but I remember the man, and the shell, and my longing both to give it, and to keep it. It was received, as I recall, in the very spirit in which I had fashioned it. One can ask for no more than that.