Living Calendar

The first advent calendar I remember was a snowy landscape splashed in chunky glitter. Little numbered doors were hard to see and fiddly to open but I was delighted when a tiny candle or perky robin was revealed. It was all about finding the right number each day. The increase in open doors a very satisfying way to get to Christmas.

This year has been hard, with family illness and the Grenfell fire outside our window. Immersion in creative work is how I usually deal with stress, but with little or no studio time I kept upbeat by writing & collaging in a little red book and taking photos to print or instagram.

When Rowley Gallery suggested I might like to tackle Making Space for Hope I welcomed the chance to swiftly collate my 2017 bits & bobs with seasonal materials to edit, knit and frame a calendar work for their window. But alas, it was neither swift nor simple, with so many little treasures vying for a position, I changed tack and looked up the word Advent.

Online meandering took me through the liturgical year, ladybird poems, christingles and a long list of words recently eliminated from the Oxford Junior Dictionary: lobster, acorn, lark, magpie… I realised 25 spaces were not going to be enough – perhaps I could squeeze more than one thing in each pocket?

Settling on a layout of three squares for each day, numbers that appear mark both December days and the floors of Grenfell Tower. Altogether seventy-five knitted pockets contain one hundred and eighty-four fragments to get me to Christmas and beyond.

With thanks to my assistant

Twenty-four storeys

Frames of reference

9 thoughts on “Living Calendar”

  1. Susie Freeman’s Grenfell Tower Advent Calendar is such a poignant tribute to that terrible tragedy while at the same time being a wonderful symbol of hope, joy and expectation for the new year and beyond. The attention to detail and the unique, eclectic nature of the elements is what you would expect from such an accomplished artist. Every object seems to tell its own story. It is a treasure hunt of colour, texture and gesture. Each pocket beckons to the beholder to explore its meaning whether explicit or subtle, every object having its own personal resonance for the viewer.
    While the pockets immediately reveal their contents unlike the traditional advent calendar, the whole visual experience is very satisfying and a joy to behold. I love it.

  2. Love it Susie, as usual… I do admire your ability to get work done despite everything, my creativity has been trampled underfoot this year and can’t find the space to do anything. Love the tiny chocolates and the hand and think I may have given you the blinking eye? All love XXHolly

  3. Thank you for kind comments Anthony, Jo, Eve & Holly – Yes bee ribbon, winking eye and gold ‘dog’ to jump over the moon all thanks to you Holly xx

  4. I came across this quite by accident and cannot tell you how captivated I was by your work. From childhood I have always had a passion, maybe a slight obsession, for anything sparkly or made in miniature so I immediately felt connected. Thank you for sharing.
    If my name seems familiar I’m Christy-Annes Mum.

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