Artist Nicki Jarvis wins Mrs Smith’s Cottage Residency

Design-Nation member Nicki Jarvis has been selected by North Kesteven District Council (NKDC) as artist in residency at the historic Mrs Smith’s Cottage in Navenby. Nicki started work last month and will continue on the project until June 2021. The Cottage is owned by NKDC and was operated as a visitor attraction by them for a number of years until remedial building work required its closure. Now, with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Council is undertaking major renovation work as well as developing a new visitor centre and garden in an adjacent property.

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Nicki says, “I am completely thrilled to have been selected. The house is a really interesting traditional Lincolnshire cottage, special because Mrs Hilda Smith (who lived until she was 102) maintained a very traditional lifestyle there. Mrs Smith kept a daily diary and so we can ‘hear’ a personal narrative of her daily life at the same time as experiencing the frugal yet wholesome world she made for herself.”

As Artist in Residence Nicki Jarvis will make connections between Mrs Smith, the Cottage and her lifestyle that are relevant for the present day. Over the next two years she will work on a range of community projects with local people, including the creation of a Village Trail, and culminating in the production of a series of permanent artworks for the property. She says, “In addition to formal craft-making sessions and special events at the Cottage and beyond, I will be simply present in the community getting on with domestic tasks such as mending and embroidery.”

Emma Clark, NKDC’s Visitor Economy Project and Funding Officer, congratulated Nicki on winning this commission. She says “The NKDC project team are mindful of the opportunity to celebrate and promote sustainability, as practised by Mrs Smith, and we will be looking for lots of ways to build this in to the future development of the Cottage as a visitor attraction.”

Nicki Jarvis has been a member of Design-Nation’s portfolio of contemporary craft and design practitioners since early 2018. Programme Manager Hayley Banks says, “We are delighted that Nicki Jarvis will be ‘in residence’ at Navenby. This project is an excellent example of how Design-Nation’s contemporary makers are equipped with the skills and knowledge to celebrate tradition and heritage, developing new exciting work and events for the 21st century. We look forward to seeing how Nicki brings Mrs Smith’s story to life over the next two years.”