I live in a quirky town. Folkestone isn’t a rich place, and it is not without social problems, but thanks to the Folkestone Triennial, there’s art dotted around everywhere here. Under a bench at Folkestone Central station, you will find a tiny bronze teddy bear and on some park railings a bronze baby mitten, both by Tracy Emin, both commenting on the town’s high teen pregnancy rate. Mark Wallinger’s poignant piece highlighting Folkestone’s wartime history sits on the Leas, and Patrick Tuttufuoco livened up the harbour arm with his Folkestone graffiti-style sign. Look up or look down and chances are you’ll spot something arty or downright odd (or both). It might be by someone famous or it might just be by a local with a bit of talent and an artistic bent.
For this post, I picked out some quirky details around the town, famous art, little projects, architectural details and oddities that make me smile and remind me why I love living here. The first is an artwork from the 2011 Triennial. It’s by Ruth Ewan and it is a clock telling French Revolutionary time, with each day split into 10 hours, each hour was 100 minutes, each minute 100 seconds. I do enjoy watching people glance at it then do a double take and I like the placement of the clock within the repeated curves and circles.
Folkestone’s past as the last point of British soil for hundreds of thousands of soldiers is remembered in a novel way by the town’s knitters. Little red knitted poppies began to appear on the railings of the Road of Remembrance several years ago and now they number in their hundreds and are spreading out along the Leas. I loved the fact that the knitter of this particular poppy went to the trouble of adding the detail of the stamens and I am pleased with how vibrant the colours came out (no editing adjustment) in the late evening light.
The next two images show details that caught my eye. I’ve looked out over the Leas Cliff Hall many times, but I don’t think I’d ever noticed this row of lions before. They’re at feet level when you walk on the Leas, and most people are too absorbed by the view out to sea to notice them. The other image was just something weird that I couldn’t get my head around; a chair with a giant floodlight post growing up through the middle of it. I don’t want to think about the Freudian implications!