This was Kate’s first workshop for us, and unsurprisingly it was a delightfully original project. She unveiled a horde of about thirty keys, in fact just about every size and shape of key you could imagine, from an allen key (not sure about the spelling here , but if you have ever struggled with flat-pack furniture you will know what I mean) to a tiny jewellery box key. And all manner of keys in between – big ones, small ones, well, you get the idea.
Kate made the point that keys are an essential part of modern living, with so much depending on them, from starting your car to providing security. We were tasked with choosing a key, and seeing where it led our imaginations. And the keys unlocked some fascinating work.
The very first story featured a huge rusty old key which turned out to be able to lock time, followed by a mysterious door at the top of a flight of stairs, which when finally unlocked slammed shut, imprisoning the intruder. Then we had a gruesome tale of a key found in a corpse, starring a vulture that turned out to be an emissary of Satan, and after this came one about a husband escaping from his murderous, transvestite wife. An everyday tale of country folks, really.
Two poems, one about the unlocking of a chastity belt, the other a song of praise to keys in general, and a story about a key being the beating heart of a clockwork bird. There were twenty tales in all, including one involving taxidermy, another with Fred and George who turned out to be mice trapped in a clock case (a lovely twist, this!), and a wonderful funny offering involving a boy attempting to open a tin of sardines with everything but the proper key. And too many other stories to mention in any detail.
Kate finished the evening by placing her own key into a toy carousel which then played a speeded up version of Silent Night as it turned round. It summed up a charming and creative workshop. Thank you, Kate.
Reading week next week, optional theme: The last I heard of him/her…
Look forward to seeing you there. Sally