“Throughout this project I have been looking at what ‘makes it through’ when an area is developed.
During the most recent phase I’ve focused on a specific area between Bartle Hall and Cottam. It falls within the NW Preston Development area and soon will be bisected by the Western Distributor and East West Link Road.
While approaching the end of my Expanded City project I felt a strong duty, and need, to make something, to make something useful, in a readily accessible format. And to give that something to those who already live in the area, to those who move into the new houses and possibly developers. I am interested in the relationships between the existing residents who fear, and maybe resent, the developments, and those who look forward to moving into a new home.
The lino print map of Nether Bartle is my ‘accessible and useful gift’!
That I chose to make a map was not a surprise to me – but the leap into printmaking was. I had in mind early wood-cut maps that were sometimes hand-coloured. They combined pictorial images, geographical features and distortions. The material itself forced selectivity. Type for placenames were sometimes set into the woodblock. It seemed to me that lino might be a suitable, less difficult, alternative to wood-cutting (I’d have attempted a wood-cut if there had been a significant source of wood in the area).
The intention is that the map functions in many different ways; to trigger memories, conversations, ideas; to connect people to place – and each other. Working with the lino forced me to be decisive about design elements and content – it’s either black or white. However the simplicity is deceptive as the map simultaneously references the flora, fauna, history, topography, personal narrative, mythology – of place. Everything plotted on the map represents, for me, a research journey. . . . . .
The central section of the map is ‘to scale’ and shows the fields that have been designated for development – the fringelands are not to scale but give context and orientation. The central area is currently filled only with hedge-lines and traces – little flecks of lino – left from hundreds of years of farming. The intention is to hand print on the developments as they occur and update a master digital copy from which prints can be made.
Hopefully the skeleton map will also be appropriated by others, to be used in different ways that I haven’t thought of. . . .I’m planning on a series of maps showing fieldnames, personal maps of walks made, a plotting of plants found and – eventually – a map of place names.
It has been necessary to dig and delve extensively before attempting the placename map. Firstly there is no need to name a place or feature until having a relationship with it. Nether Bartle was named when I identified my area of focus, between Lower Bartle and Cottam. ‘Nether’ is an adjective to describe something that lies below or under. It is synonymous with the word ‘lower’. Bartle is thought to have derived from the Old English word ‘bere’ meaning barley, although some say it could derive from the Old English word ‘bar’ which would transcribe to ‘boar’. This second suggestion is based on the theory that this once being a heavily wooded area there would have been a plentiful supply of boars. There are boars on the Birley family crest (they lived here at Bartle Hall), their crest is picked out in red below the conservatory windows. Others suggest it is from the diminutive of Bartholemew. . . ! As I’ve walked and talked, I’ve spontaneously begun to name points in the area , such as ‘Donkey’s End’, and picked up un-charted names used by others, such as ‘Nine Hare Field’ – each with its truth/significance/story. Some of these may resonate with people moving into the area, and become absorbed into its culture. I believe there is a better chance of them doing so if they feature on a map.”