Yesterday we finally moved everything out of Dave Pearson's old studio space at Globe Arts. His studio had sat there, untouched, since his death - in fact it is probably three years since Dave had been there himself. It is one of the larger spaces at the studios, and inevitably the time had come when other artists needed to move in and take over the area, which sits at the top floor of a Victorian cotton-mill complex and is reached via an antiquated (clapped out) Victorian lift .
There were 8 of us - Ruth and John from Globe Arts, Margaret and her friend Paul, Dave Chadwick and myself, Chris Pearson plus Julian from the See gallery. Then there was Derek Smith, who spent the day filming the proceedings. Organisation was slightly chaotic, but things got done. By things I mean - photographing every artwork as it left the building (Margaret and Paul); filling two skips with rubbish and any damaged work; carefully removing 600 paintings (Ruth, John, Julian, Chris), and loading and driving these to the old studio in Haslingden, then unloading them and finding storage in the, ever-shrinking, available space (Dave and I). We worked from 9.30 in the morning; by 6.30pm everything had been done, leaving just a little tidying needed round the edges.
People approached the work in different ways; Margaret was, as usual, methodical as she needed to be in order to record the work, her attention alighting on pieces she specially wanted keeping. It was hard not to be affected by having to tip old paint brushes, coffee mugs and other personal items into a skip. Not to mention the pieces of work that were either damaged or simply unable to be stored in the space we have. There is a tension between wanting to keep every last item that Dave produced, and the need to retain the refurbished studio in Haslingden as a reasonable place to view his work and to some extent that tension is reflected in Margaret and my own slightly differing sense of priorities. But in the event a sensible compromise has been reached, and there's a corresponding relief that (almost) all of Dave's work is now gathered safely in one place.