Yan Tan Tethera

What Counts?


I was commissioned to make a piece entitled Yan Tan Tethera, as part of the What Counts project, being produced by Motiroti, to commemorate, reflect and comment on this year's UK national census. The exhibition opens at the Rag Factory, off Brick Lane, London on Sunday 26th June 2011. Further project events are to be confirmed.

download : YanTanTethera by Amie Slavin

Yan Tan Tethera is a gentle exploration and celebration of traditional, grassroots methods for counting and categorising. My starting-point is the ancient system used by English hill farmers, to count sheep: Yan tan tethera methera pimp sethera lethera hovera dovera dick

From this beginning I am putting out exploratory tentacles to investigate other traditional ways of counting. I am particularly looking at textiles and stitching, bell-ringing, measurements such as hands, feet and fingers, and systems used for reference to both time and speed, on boats and ships.

On reflection, maybe its title should be Bells Boats and Bah-lambs ... or perhaps not!