Sally Kindberg’s 2017 notebook, Swedenborgian dust, and a missing tortoise?

Recently I looked at one of my notebooks from 2017 which recorded an exploratory visit to Swedenborg House, and another with its director. A pencilled note on a Post-It fell out of the notebook’s pages and I can’t remember the exact reference apart from a tortoise had got lost. There are plenty of possible hiding places.

I was commissioned to make a written and drawn leporello  about Swedenborg, his life and the eponymous house, with a map to give to children.  Workshops were planned, and  I was curious to explore this mysterious place.  No tortoise encounters by the way. There are two houses, but where does one house end and another begin?  There are stairwells, locked doors, a dumb waiter, staircases, cupboards, a labyrinthine basement and why was there a huge Victorian bath wrapped in brown paper and string on one of the upstairs landings on that first expedition? As well as a meeting place for the Magic Lantern Society in its downstairs rooms, where a couple of years later the director kindly let me launch my Hand Book, on a recent visit to the basement I noticed towers of half hidden boxes (one has a Noah’s Ark in it – the lion had escaped) and helpful handwritten notices indicating ‘the infinite’ and ‘apocalypse revealed’.

You may wander into another dimension altogether and arrive outside the Embassy of Haiti in the house next door when actually you were trying to get back to the bookshop.  Of course it’s a house of wonders, it’s dedicated to the eighteenth century mystic and polymath Emanuel Swedenborg, who influenced Coleridge, Conan Doyle, Jorge Luis Borges and Blake amongst many others.

Whilst in the basement I also discovered mouldering books, and took a little sample of dust from the top of an eighteenth century copy of a French dictionary of the Sacred and Profane. More recently I was given a tiny packet of more Swedenborgian dust. These little specks are now bottled and added to my Museum of Dust, now on display at Swedenborg House. Check out this intriguing venue for its Film Festival (December 10th), talks, exhibitions, bookshop, magic lantern shows and other fantastic events. And of course, my Museum of Dust (also containing TARDIS dust), and past and future workshops.

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