I don’t usually post the random nonsense that I occasionally write on here, but I thought I’d give it a go. I am still doing crafty things, but not ones I can really share yet. Maybe I’ll go wild and actually get round to updating my gallery!
In the meantime;
I have recurring places in dreams, rather than recurring dreams. There is a whole different Newcastle in my head, and I do different things in it, go different places. Sometimes I introduce friends and family to these places, in my dreams, suprised that they have never visited before. Sometimes, these places are just part of Newcastle, as familiar and well trodden as the ‘real’ version.
One place I’ve visited recently is a museum and art gallery accessed from an underpass on the Coast Road. The Coast Road runs through the east of real Newcastle, it’s a busy duel carriageway taking people from the edge of the city centre out to the coast. In my dream-Newcastle, there’s a section of this road, near the city centre, with a tunnel running under it for pedestrians, and a sort of concrete walkway continuing uphill underneath various buildings. It’s in a similar style to various walkways that do exist in Newcastle, but a bit more polished, more Brutalist.
In my dream-Newcastle the large building over the walkway, right next to the road, is an art school. I’m not sure if it’s a college or university, but it is quite pretentious. There’s a large sculpture garden to the rear, with a river running through it. I’m not sure where this river goes, as technically it should be flowing straight into the road… I’ll blame the poor drainage planning on it being a dream. The art school is partially open to the public, it has a very good shop featuring students work for sale and art supplies. It also has several galleries for visitors to explore, some with changing exhibitions of students work and some with permanent displays. Some of it is quite good, although the student stuff is very hit and miss. In my mind.
The main reason I visit this part of dream Newcastle is because of the, very underapreciated, gallery space underneath the art school. It can be accessed only from the dodgy walkway up from the underpass, but it’s worth it. It’s kind of a church, sometimes. Other times it’s a deconsecrated church, or parts of a church that have been dismantled and moved here. It’s always the same space though, in its feeling. It feels calm, peaceful, slightly melancholy without being depressing. Parts of it are the same grey concrete as the walkway and the art school building, but other parts have soft white walls. This seems more cozy and calm than bleak and minimalist when you’re there, even though it’s a very large space.
There are wooden pieces. Beams and church pews. Sometimes these are arranged traditionally, if the space is a church. Other times, they are placed as though they are exhibits, singled out to be appreciated one at a time. The wood is old, dark, well used. It has that matte smoothness to it only years of use will replicate.
At the back of this space is a strange room-inside-a-room affair. It has white walls that reach to the high ceiling, but they have blocky overhanging sections. It looks like an unimaginative builder has tried to box in an ugly feature. On one side there’s an opening, one of those offset door/corridor things galleries have. A soft glow of yellow light is just barely perceivable on the walls around it.
Inside the little room… It’s something special, I remember that. Exactly what? Nope. I think it changes, but it is really special. There’s gold, and something religious about it. I think you have to look up to see it, maybe some kind of carved ceiling panel? It’s worth visiting, and I’m constantly amazed that more people don’t know it’s there. In my mind. I recently took my sister to see it. I had to wait outside with her dogs so I didn’t get to see her reaction, but she said she loved it when I saw her again. (Which wasn’t for awhile, she’d eloped with her ex-boyfriend and I had to try and get the dogs home on a horse and cart with a small child I’d found starving and cold outside… Dreams!)
This isn’t the best bit though. In the church/religious museum space, there’s a dingy little staircase. It doesn’t look like it’s public access. There’s no signs saying you can’t go up, but there aren’t any saying you can either. It has mucky glass walls and rickety steel mesh steps. If you do venture up, it’s a hard climb. They’re steep stairs, the light is cold and dim. The banister is thin and cuts into the palms of your hands, the edges of the steps are sharp.
Above is a hall, another gallery. It has more dusty glass walls sectioning parts off around the outside, but the middle is devoted to one large display cabinet. Inside is a woman, a sculpture in wood and gold. I can’t remember her position exactly, or her face, or how she’s made, but I remember she’s serene, and sensual, and so very beautiful. She’s as tall as a house, but spread languidly across a white plinth in this forgotten room. Parts of her are broken, sometimes. Parts of her are driftwood, other times. The glass partitions at the back are workspaces for the conservators working on her. Other times, she’s whole, the spaces are for students using her as inspiration. It’s quiet here though, reverent even. I remember no one knows who made her, or why. More people should know about her, visit her and appreciate her. But then, if they did, she might not feel as special.