Keeping things just tickety-boo (Blanket return)

Blanket, cleaned and returned to where it was found.

Year: 2003 - 2018

There is a fable, of which I know not the origin, that tells of a hunter that travelled the earth seeking the rarest of wild cats to add to his trophy collection. For years he searched, through the harshest of Winters and the most arid of Summers. He climbed the highest mountains and struggled through the darkest of forests until one day his luck turned and there, stood right before him, was the cat of which he had been seeking. The cat looked at him and he looked at the cat. And for that briefest of moments, rather than aiming his weapon, he simply stood and watched as the cat quietly went back into the forest.

As soon as the process of documenting an intervention begins, it starts to erode something - straight away it starts to become insistent about being recognised as some poetic act in a process of witness by proxy.

It is for this reason that I limit documentation of interventions with many going unknown or unnoticed. Often it's just my enthusiastic dog acting as sole witness. To not lay claim to their authorship almost seems diametrically opposed to the cult of the self I have grown up with in this post-Thatcherite society so insistent in its needs for individual validation. Yet, because of this, I am driven to occasionally document them in order to provide that evidence and so too also be validated. The rest of the time they are just possibilities of discovery that, just like the hunter and the cat, perhaps allude to moments that might just somehow appear to be fleetingly real.

Blanket return was one of the first returns I ever documented. Possibly a homeless person's, I found it left in an alleyway covered in vomit. I bagged it, took it home and cleaned it. Then I stitched its hems and once the repair process was complete, returned it a few days later back to the alleyway where it was discovered.

I never did know if it was a homeless person's blanket. What I do know is that it was a perfectly cheerful middle-aged lady that I saw walking off with it a few hours later.

In 2018, some 15 years later, chance would have it that a meeting took place in a studio not far from this very alleyway and being reminded of the work it came up in conversation. It was then that a wonderful addendum to this work came to light...

Just across the road from that very alleyway, there is a church - St. Stephens - where I was delighted to learn that by pure happenstance lie the remains of one Edmund Blanket who was buried there in 1371 and the very same man accredited with inventing the eponymously named blanket.

This one is for you Edmund.