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Clacton-on-Sea's mesmerising carpet bedding

Jaywick Escapes

...is our working title for our consultancy / lead artist-ry with Essex County Council in and around the shabby but very interesting Essex town of Jaywick, where we have been asked to develop new proposals for improving the town's green spaces.
Earlier this week I spent a night in neighbouring Clacton-on-Sea where the seafront has a fairly recently revived Edwardian garden full of traditional carpet bedding, which is so lurid that - as our project colleague Crispin said - "it does funny things to your eyes".
As a girl brought up in a Scottish seaside town, I have an abiding affection for this most unfashionable horticultural habit, unsustainable and frankly crass as it may be to buy thousands of tender, freakish plants from Holland, nurse them along in the reluctant British summer only to compost them just a few months later. I also think bedding now has a historic legitimacy, just as the more decorous revived knot gardens have a place within certain restoration projects.
Of course Jeff Koons has used bedding to great effect in works like his giant 'Puppy' but I don't know what if any place Victorian / Edwardian era bedding has in the American cultural or social past, what it speaks of there.
We haven't found any stretches of bedding in Jaywick though there are some very colourful planters here and there, and some very charming private gardens. There is something about the lavishness of the Clacton bedding, its sheer bling, in comparison, that speaks volumes about the status of these neighbouring towns...

Jeff Koons 'Puppy'

Island postcard: the nightclub & caravan park
Image: Pope & Guthrie

Postcards from our Island

I've just been adding some nice photographs of our Island to the Artists' Impression section of the site. We've recently been revisiting the project (motivated partly by the approaching need to re-house the model), & I must say it's always a pleasure to see the place again ... especially when you don't actually have to get the huge sections of the model out of their crates to do so! I even had a quick walk around the game yesterday ... no one on the pier but there had been a few tourists off the boat of late.