In India I travelled from one city to another, looking at textile and jewellery workshops. As I did so I thought of the late 19th century voyager to India, Caspar Purdon Clarke, who was sent in the 1880s to purchase objects for the Victoria and Albert Museumâ??s Indian collections. He seems to have sent the items back from Bombay, now Mumbai. He collected some very everyday items as well as costly ones.
I wanted to do something to create an echo, however slight, of that earlier journey of Purdon Clarke; to suggest a kind of fold in time or revisiting, though from a different distance and point of view. This is what I decided to do.
Before I left for India Iâ??d been collecting scraps: English postcards, old cigarette cards, an image from the chapel of Royal Holloway, which dates from the same period and where Iâ??m based as an artist. These went with me in my suitcase. Once in India, in each city where my travels took me, I found Indian postcards and Indian ephemera â?? sweet wrappers, labels, bus and train tickets, Indian block printed papers, etc.
At every place I stopped Iâ??d create a post card by collaging motifs from the two sets of material, English and Indian. Then I posted each one back to a colleague, Dr Sonia Ashmore, in the South Asian Textiles department at the V&A, where they arrived with Indian postmark and stamp. Mail art!
Here are a selection, redolent I hope of these journeyings and exchanges.