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Page last updated: February 19th 2012
Page first published: February 19th 2012
Witney Yarn Mosaic
Some extracts from his project blog and link to a slideshow gallery showing his work.

At the start of his project blog, Rob Turner asked himself a question:

What is the importance of history?

I have to depict the history of a town. This was my proposal and it was accepted.

Suddenly then; history has become a real thing, not just a word on a piece of paper that represents....well er just ...stuff. I am left wondering now what value history has in our communities or society in more general terms, outside of academic study.

October 2008:
"We study the past to understand the present; we understand the present to guide the future." -- William Lund

I found this when I was googling rather silly questions about the value of history. It was by far the best thing I have found so far!

History is important because WE ARE the past: we are the sum of all the events--good, bad, and indifferent--that have happened to us. This sum product guides our actions in the present.

The only way we can understand who we are and how we got to be that way is by studying the past. Similarly, the only way we can understand others is by studying their past. If we don't understand what made them who they are--in terms of how they think and act--we will make all sorts of mistakes in our interactions with them.

Think of how you treat people differently based on how you know them. The same is true for countries when it comes to diplomacy. Our failures in Iraq were borne of a limited understanding of who they are (because we haven't taken the time to truly study and understand their past).
March 2009
Well today I have just about finished preparing the cartoon for this project and I have orderd the tiles. It is something like 11 months ago that I went for the interview.

Tomorrow I will have to re-organize my workshop and prepare things to accomodate it, something I quite like doing. It is exciting to start, at long last.

December 2008
'A Witney Yarn (detail)', coloured pencil. I will redraw this so the ground is on the outer edge and sky inwards. I did not miss the target with my designs, they were well received.

It is very embarassing if they appoint you as the artist, you present your ideas and then it goes rather quiet, 'cos you missed the target!

I have jumped that hurdle it seems. Touch wood

June 2009
Witney exported blankets woven on machines to North American Indians who wore them as capes, exported with the Hudson Bay Trading Co. I would have thought the Indians would have woven their own blankets, but then there you go, its a funny old world.

For me the machine represents western capitalism and the Indian some kind of more attractive 'other'. I am looking forward to depicting him in this mosaic, but I have to focus on another project now and I will have to wait may be as long as a month before I can meet my friend the Indian.

August 2009
finished 6 weeks or so before the rescheduled installation date.

September 2009
What is the importance of history?

I still can't tell you. But it is very important though.
Is art about documenting and recording?
Is it about anything else? How do you make art?
Does it go like this:
- collect, edit, balance and make?

None of that's particularly historical. So the answers remain elusive still. I am waiting to start another mosaic. It is Historical. But what is really occupying mind in those emptier periods is I have got to install this Witney mosaic. It has to fit in the site made for it. I have got to make it fit.

It probably will fit. But if it dose'nt...... WOW...... I'll be using my ingenuity.

I had a friend once, who said, ' The measure of a good craftsman is how they solve problems when things go wrong!

Shut up, your making me nervous...
Go to galleries section to see Rob Turner's Witney Yarn Mosaic...

See Rob Turner's blog