Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Gollum’s Pocket

I have decided to make a piece for a collaborative project with Charnwood Arts' Big Knitting Group, Every Pocket Tells A Story. This will be an exhibition at Loughborough's Charnwood Museum, which will explore the history and the future of the pocket. (

I thought about my pocket...all the things I would carry if I had pockets like Mary Poppins’ magic bag. A standard exercise on creative writing courses is to think about what the characters carry with them in their pockets or bags, as it is supposed to help you understand them and what they would do in different circumstances. I always carry a compass attached to my bag; very handy when popping up out of a tube station on a gloomy day so that I don’t stride confidently off in the wrong direction.

I decided to make Gollum’s pocket, the sad, slimy forlorn creature from the Lord of the Rings. The outside will be dull grey and green muddy colours, but the inside will be bright and shiny and full of treasures. The pockets have to be no bigger than A6, and not have anything but writing inside which tells their story. I’ll attach the treasures so that they are spilling out and visible.

The most obvious treasures are the gold ring and a fish head attached to a skeleton. I have some shiny gold sweet wrappers, so a ring is easy. The fish is a bit more of a challenge. I was wondering about making the skeleton from toothpicks, or laminating a drawing, but Rod suggested fraying cloth. This seemed like the best idea. Whilst making this I also noticed that curtain hooks have a certain fish skeleton look about them so maybe another time I’ll use them.

I used a bit of artist’s canvas and cut out a fish shape. I then frayed the two sides, and pasted glue to the whole thing. I used some PVA diluted with water which I had left over from another project months ago. Anyone know why PVA and water left in an airtight jar smells completely disgusting? I decided to use it anyways – I don’t suppose the aroma will last, but if a slight stench assailed the nostrils when approaching the pocket that would be very appropriate if a bit surprising.

I’ll make the head and tail from some shiny silver trousers I bought a couple of decades ago which for some reason I don’t wear anymore. A bead for the eye and that should made a great half eaten fish.

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