‘Wombling : Archiving Dad’ is a very personal project and a bit of a departure for me in terms of style.
My dad, John Taylor, died unexpectedly in 2013. He was our family’s mechanic, handyman, builder, plumber, accountant and all round problem solver. He had a tool for every job and had that ‘thing’ for every occasion, meticulously organised in his garage and workshop. Dad was both a collector of things and an extraordinarily thorough cataloguer and note taker. He had drawers packed with ‘useful things’, alongside collections of everyday objects and photographs, to catalogue and record many aspects of his everyday life. These collections were in part mundane, like the huge water cooler bottle filled with miniature shampoos from every hotel he ever visited, thousands of cigar wrappers and beer bottles, and every credit card ever issued. Some collections were poignant vignettes of restoration projects and home improvement, punctuation points in a life lived, as cars and motorbikes were painstakingly stripped and rebuilt to their former glories. And some of the collections carefully remembered and recorded every pet that we shared our lives with as a family.
It wasn’t always clear what Dad planned to do with his collections. There was talk of building a glass bottle wall, making a credit card collage and a wine cork pin board but none of these transpired. As my mum prepared to sell their house, and to embark on the fearful task of emptying the loft that groaned with Haynes manuals, and the flotsam and jetsam of Dad’s life, I set about archiving the collections before his ‘treasure’ was binned, recycled, scrapped or sold. The process is ongoing and these photos are work in progress.
In 2017 a small edit of 'Wombling' was exhibited for Carlisle Photo Festivals' Visualising the Home.
Through 2021 a book dummy of 'Wombling' has been touring Wyoming, US for Narratives of the Possible artists' book exhibition at Laramie County Library and UCROSS Foundation. The three indexical inspired books are made in the colours of the Lambretta scooters that were my dad’s passion. Known as ALE, YELLOW PERYL and STINGRAY, he raced these bikes as a young man in the 1960s. He restored them more recently, and competed in vintage bike trials up to the day before he died.