Tactile Mapping (La carte et le Vêtement)
Hosted for residency in Folkestone, 2023


Josephine Javier is an artist based in Nantes, France. Javier’s work combines the natural world with human experience into a workshop based, process led exploration usually culminating in an exhibition or installation. For Javier’s work in Folkestone, we invited the community of people who would not usually engage in the ‘art world’ to come and share their stories and experiences of the town. Javier guided them through a workshop in which the participants were invited to share stories, draw, model clay and map their story of the town. The participants were invited to a ceremonial clay firing of the shapes they had created during the workshop. Javier worked with local artist Paul Smith who shared his experience working with clay and worked with Josephine to fire additional clay ‘pearls’ in his own kiln. The process culminated in the form of a ‘cape’ which was adorned with the shapes of the community mapping process, and ‘pearls’ made also by the community.

Welcome to “Tactile Mapping” an artistic endeavour that weaves the tapestry of Folkestone’s past, present, and future through an immersive workshop and collaborative creation. Join artist Josephine Javier at the Urban Room for an open and active workshop, a celebration of community engagement, intuitive expression, and the rich history embedded in the town’s landscape.

The workshop invites participants to engage in intuitive drawing, clay modelling, and map marking, offering a hands-on exploration of their personal connections to Folkestone. No prior artistic experience is required; instead, the focus is on curiosity and experimentation with local clay. This natural material becomes a symbol of the town’s essence, inviting participants to connect with the very earth beneath their feet.

Conversations during the workshop will unfold organically around each participant’s unique relationship with Folkestone. An invitation is extended to delve deeper into the environment that shapes daily life, encouraging a closer look at the town’s hidden narratives and untold stories. Through this interactive process, attendees become both creators and contributors to the evolving artistic narrative of Folkestone.

Inspired by the collective material produced during these workshops, Josephine Javier embarks on the creation of an epic cape. This ceremonial garment will be adorned with stories, maps, moulds, personal narratives, and drawings contributed by the townspeople, as well as Josephine herself. The cape serves as a tangible and symbolic embodiment of the shared experiences and diverse perspectives that form the community’s identity.

As a prelude to the cape’s completion, a spectacular clay firing ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, July 9—an event open to all. This mesmerising ceremony becomes a communal celebration, where each mould created in the workshops is prepared and added to the cape. The firing process itself becomes a transformative metaphor, echoing the collective spirit of Folkestone’s residents and the town’s ongoing evolution.

“Tactile Mapping” transcends the boundaries of conventional art, transforming the Urban Room into a dynamic space for community expression and collaboration. It invites residents to reflect on their individual connections to the town and encourages a shared exploration of the multifaceted layers that make Folkestone unique.

Join us on this artistic journey, where every stroke of clay, every line on the map, and every personal narrative contribute to the unfolding narrative of Folkestone – a living, breathing testimony to the resilience and creativity of its people.


Curatorial text by Jacob Bray