Walking Stumbling Limping Falling by Alyson Hallett & Phil Smith

I just wrote this whole post then tripped up. My finger slipped on the iPad and I wiped the whole text away with one action. Such is life. Things change with the blink of an eye, an accidental swipe, a fall from grace. When our bodies are irrevocably altered by illness or surgery, our minds are too. And maybe what evolves is richer than what was there before. This book proves that.

It is the outcome of a conversation between two keen walkers who, for different reasons, were temporarily grounded. And it is a grounding read for those of us of a certain age. It reassures us that we are not alone.

At the beginning, I struggled to get into it, in the same way I find rising from a deep, low sofa, with soft cushions, difficult. I don’t recall finding that hard when I was younger. I wasn’t quite sure of the territory, there are quite a few unknowns until the narrative revealed itself. Like an anatomy of walking. As it progresses we get closer to the bone, deeper into the cells, delving through the surface tension and tentatively navigating the cracks in the pavements and mortality.

I enjoyed the comments about the association of falling with humiliation. How as children we fall constantly and it is part of learning, but we don’t anticipate that, as adults, we will have to revisit that process for some reason. And it will always be so excruciatingly embarrassing that we will leap to our feet as fast as possible. But sometimes just staying down there, reflecting on how the world looks from a new perspective, can be a revelation.

The list of scores for a fall is wonderful and witty. I’d like to add to that list if I may – Swooning fall: falling in love so deeply you lose your footing and, inevitably, end up on your back.

Thanks to both writers for a very pleasurable read, I recommend it to everyone. You can get it here.

Creative Canopy goes wild in the country!

What a brilliant day we had yesterday here in the Forest of Dean! We were at the West Dean Parish Council building in Bream to launch Creative Canopy and it was packed to the hilt! The perfect sunny day, we were able to spread the activities into the wonderful courtyard garden. Being part of the BBC Get Creative Weekend was great too.

There’ll be a press release going out very soon, but meanwhile, here’s a video link so you can enjoy a bit of what we had – though it won’t be as good as being there! And a few pics too.

Thank you to EVERYONE that exhibited or performed; that came to participate and join in; the cafe team; the Parish Council for letting us use the building; Arts Council England for funding the event and the Creative Canopy members that made it happen. Look out for more things in the future and if you want to go on the mailing list, put ‘mailing list’ in the subject line of an email and fire it over to fodcreativecanopy@gmail.com

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Print

Creative Canopy event TODAY in Bream, Forest of Dean

Inspired by Arts Council England (ACE) initiative Creative People and Places, today the Forest hosts it’s first event delivered by Creative Canopy. It’s a provisional name for a collective of arts practitioners and organisations in the area, who have been meeting regularly to discuss what can be learnt from Creative People & Places projects, and how that learning can be used locally. We have Sarah Butler & Nicole Collette giving us a presentation and hosting a workshop, come and be inspired by their wonderful drawings, words and animations from 100 Stories.

Here’s an example: How to Build Trust (Butler & Mollett)

Exercises 300 dpi_edited-2.jpg

With support from ACE, the process of enquiry begins by inviting artists to show and share what they do in the Forest,  inviting the public to come and see what is already happening here. A day for people to join in with activities by having a go,  finding out more about what is on offer, and being entertained too! A day for people to join in with activities by having a go, find out more about what is on offer and being entertained too! Expect music, trapeze, there, brass bands, jive dance, and lots lots more.

We’re part of the Get Creative Weekend too – a nationwide celebration of creativity.

Top that up with lovely weather, beautiful landscapes and FREE entry, why would you NOT come along today between 12 noon and 6pm?

Full programme here

Print

 

working in the arts & living in the Forest of Dean

It’s not an impossible thing to do! It’s not always easy, it’s a long drive to most places and feels even longer coming home. Because wherever I go I yearn to be back by the Severn and away from the traffic and noise of the cities.

I NEED culture, not just want. So am very glad I work in the arts, because I am constantly saturated by culture and nature, the ideal combination for me, not for everyone I know. Having long done battle with the “I really ought to live in the city” mind-game, I now feel fairly settled. The fact that I have returned to drawing is a good indicator of that. Coming from a conceptual intellectual background where every work must be loaded with meaning, at the moment, drawing is enough for me. I hope to have time and space to return to more digital outputs,but it’s certainly good for me now.

And so is the Creative Canopy initiative in the Forest. This weekend we launch, see my previous blogpost for details on that. And the local open studios group is reinventing itself as farOpen (Forest and Rivers Open), and will also set up other ‘open’ projects in the future – farOpen writing; farOpen events; farOpen exhibitions; farOpen food……it is so brilliant to see the Forest ‘open’ to new ideas!

So here is todays drawing, you can see the rest on http://www.hybrideyes.com

Have a lovely weekend and I hope you make it to Bream to see and join in with a wide range of tasters, showcasing the creativity that is already here in the community. And talk to us, tell us what else you’d like to see here too.

For now, I’m staying!

FullSizeRender 25.jpg

 

 

Creative Canopy – things are stirring in the Forest of Dean, activities bracing for the weekend…

FREE EVENT – PART OF THE BBC  GET CREATIVE WEEKEND

Sunday 9th April                 12pm – 6pm           West Dean Parish Centre in Bream

In 2016 Arts Council England chose the Forest of Dean as a priority area for the South West Region due to comparatively low arts engagement and investment. They want to see more cultural, creative, artistic events and opportunities in the Forest and are willing to invest significant money to make this happen. Artists and Arts Organisations from across the District have all been working together for the last few months to make this ambition a reality. The working title for this project is ‘Creative Canopy’.

The community will be at the heart of Creative Canopy so there will be a number of free events over the coming months that will enable important conversations to take place between artists and local residents. The first of these will take place on Sunday 9th April between 12pm and 6pm at the West Dean Parish Centre in Bream. It will be a an event full of  singing, theatre, painting, crafts, printmaking, dancing, textiles, music of all kinds, circus and more – a great selection of wonderful things to see and do. In return Creative Canopy simply requests participants talk to them about what kind of cultural events they would like to see take place in the future.

The afternoon will also feature an exciting presentation from guest artists Sarah Butler and Nicole Mollett who were commissioned by Arts Council England to creatively map the Creative People and Places Project. Their inspirational work, More Than a Hundred Stories, will give attendees an opportunity to see the fantastic work that has been taking place in other parts of the country and will hopefully fuel ideas for future projects across the Forest of Dean.

Come and join us! You can try things out, find out more about creative groups in the area, and participate in workshops and talks.

And come and talk to the team, tell us what you think of what is happening here, and what is NOT happening that you’d like to see more of.

And see my new pop-up banner!

Flow pop up design

get creative logo GetImage.aspx

 

The historical context of my current drawings

When I began to work on a new set of panoramics this year, after some years of not making any artworks, it felt like stepping into and old pair of slippers. I thought at first that was because the subject matter, the River Severn, is so close to my heart. But there are other reasons, which connect back to earlier works I have made.

Looking back at my pre-masters portfolio, I discover panoramic drawings of landscapes of mountains in Ireland, and intaglio prints created by numerous plates, run through the press together, to create a tessellated image – including many panoramic sections.

FullSizeRender 9

Post-masters I find drawn renderings of imaginary landscapes in cyberspace and poetic collages of drawn marks and lines.

FullSizeRender 8

I have always loved drawing at human scale, having done a significant work on a UNESCO funded residency in Bandung, Java in 2002. That work involved me being filmed drawing huge copies of love letters from my father to my mother from 1949 with charcoal on the gallery wall at Selasar Sunaryo Gallery, then washing it away, leaving traces on the wall (video). The story of my father captured from letters and the place, revisited then erased. Other works involved printing the letters on gelatine sheets, visceral, fleshy and corporeal. Memories.

gelatine letter

Most of my recent works are concerned with the River Severn, but that process of engagement did not begin this year – but six years ago – with Tidal Severn, a collaborative work created with Suze Adams. We photographed from either side of the river, Suze on the east bank, me on the west bank, as the bore passed between us. Our gaze connected the sides of the river, and connected us too.

The 2017 drawings began with a huge drawing on paper, five feet square, on which I played with foregrounds and backgrounds, charcoal and chalk, collage and washes. It was absolutely about the process, of body and landscape, the experience of landscape and of place. The panoramic drawings I’m now working on expand on that approach.  I’m now mapping out several, all informed by photographs taken at several locations along the Severn. The locations are identified by stories of events at different places along the riverside, between the Severn Bridge and Newnham.

Flow Contemporary Arts is named after the river, particularly making reference to the constant exchange of masses of water, know as the Severn Bore.  Almost daily, the river and the sea gain ground from each other, then yield, forming a wave of energy that sweeps up-river. This phenomenon is so present in my life it could be perceived as a battery charger that constantly injects me with shots of inspiration.

The drawings I am doing now are powered by that, I hope it shows.

450 metres of cotton wick Clearwell Caves by Sandi Carr

The forest has some fascinating places that many people consider to be merely tourist destinations. Yet some provide brilliant locations for contemporary art to be shown in, and Clearwell Caves is one of them. The exhibition by Sandi Carr that opened last night, is one worth seeing. If you take a peek at her website you will see she’s interested in visceral materials, and this new installation reflects that.

Quirky as always, one arrived in the car park to follow the path down to the caves, lit by tea lights inside jam jars. Nice and simple. We were a bit confused because there seemed to b e no-one above ground and all the doors to the caves were locked. Another pathway lined by fairy- lights led up and away from the mine. Soft and gentle underfoot, we started to follow the meandering path, which went up and down and around bends. at one point my friend said no, let’s go back, there’s nothing there…but we persevered and found the back door to the caves standing open and inside a roaring fireplace. Magic. We could hear voices, so ducked a little as we went through the caves a short distance where we found nibbles and a drink waiting. Further in we found the art works, as simple and honest as the original structure of the caves. Well lit by more candles.

I’m not going to describe the artworks – you need to go and see them in situ, because being there is important. But suffice to say they are poetic, beautiful and relevant. And relate to their title which is the heading of this blogpost.

Enjoy the visit!

fairy lights.JPG