Arrived early afternoon after 6.30am flight to Dublin and 2hour drive to the west coast. After settling into the cottage a trip into Kinvara to get familiarised. Deciding to eat out for the evening we then returned to cottage to discuss the week ahead. At this point things are pretty loose in the way we are going to take the week forward but I do feel are all confident enough in our abilities and are 'masters' at our practices. We have a rich and diverse way of working; me the physicality of the environment, Sue the mapping & recording the journey through the landscape and Paula being the sensory aspect and the recording of this through motional mark making on paper. e have each brought examples of our work and have a great deal of rich and diverse processes that are of interest. We have no need to worry! (Last famous words!!)
I am up early this morning I need to get out and breath in the fresh air. Went for a short walk close to the cottage. Beautiful quiet morning. Bird song, a quiet wind blowing on my face and through the trees, the sounds of cows munching grass and the live electricity flowing through the pylons blend in with the morning chorus. It has been a long time since I have experienced this sensation. Quiet stillness and calm. Thoughts of childhood and the sensation of roaming the fields come to mind. I feel on another planet, so far removed from my busy life at home. I collect ephemera some I don't recognise. I think and work well on my own, I get distracted when others are around.
The afternoon is spent walking the 'Craggy Shaw'. A beautiful coast line where the sea stretches out into the Atlantic. The shore is made up of stones and boulders of Limestone impregnated with marks of crustacean from 1000's of years ago. The whiteness of these rocks present an uplifting sense of place. The sea is turquoise blue in parts. Wild flowers of which there are many and some unknown to me grow set back from the immediate shore line. The day is hot with a cool breeze; perfect weather to be walking in.
I feel at home when by the sea, I feel free and able to clear my head. I am particularly drawn to this coastal periphery. Green agricultural land I see, view, work from on a daily basis at home but the coast is a fresh source of inspiration I feel I need to embrace.
Today was the start of the active work shop. A great bunch of enthusiastic artists from KAVA Arts signed up to take part. It was great to see them embrace our ideas of how we work and draw inspiration from the landscape in alternative and unconventional ways. After initial presentation of our practices and the processes we work with we travelled to 'Eagles Rock' on the Buren; a National Park. We spent time walking through this expansive landscape of stunning contrasts of green, wild flowers and sharp invasive limestone. The jagged upright limestone walls were especially stunning. A real contrast to the elongated dry stone walls of Yorkshire. Their lightness in tone make for such contrast within the vista of the Burren landscape. We reached a small secluded clearing consisting of many hazel trees and the ruin of a small dwelling and cave. Rivers and steams tend to run underneath the landscape within this area of Ireland but within this clearing is a well that feeds from a stream above the land. In 595 A.D St Coleman set out to be a hermit and made his life within this place living within a cave situated up a steep banking. He built an oratory which still remains today. The stream provided the purest of waters which are believed to have healing properties when drank or applied to oneself! The well is subsequently know as St Coleman's Well today.
The rest of the afternoon was spent in this clearing. We all engaged with our surroundings differently. I wasn't sure what to do but gravitated to the stream itself. It was a hot day and the cool water drew me in. Immersing my hands within the water helped me cool down and become physically connected. I experimented and played around with the stones taking them out of the water and placing them within cracks in mossy openings and rearranging them within the stream in a typical Andy Goldsworthy style.
I did struggle to engage and become inspired with materials from this place.I wondered if it was because the place was 'sacred' and I felt uncomfortable penetrating the materiality of the land. Taking something away from it to experiment with somehow didn't feel right!
Today we head off back to the courthouse (KAVA arts) to set up the space in order for us and the ladies from the group to use the space to develop work. After yesterday's visit to The Burren I have a need to be by the coast line and the sense of openness it generates. I head down to Kinvara Quay in order to begin development of my work. I remember seeing large pieces of sea moss clinging onto the rocks on the first day we arrived and I am eager to have another look and maybe use this as a starting point.
The moss is still there and as I investigate it and pull it away from the rock I pull it away from the rocks its vibrant green under side is revealed. In its mass state it has a textile quality. This energises me and I collect much of this material in the hope that it will become some source of matter that I can work with.
Initially I envisage drying it sewing into it ? wrapping ephemera around it? or using it to bind something with but as I talk to others and discuss its qualities I realise that small sections of it are more interesting than the large piece. As I sort through a small section I begin to pull it apart. I begin to explore the moss in a more forensic detailed way. Needles brought to demonstrate my needle pricking process are used to dissect the moss. It pulls apart as strands that have a thread like quality. These strands begin to form beautiful delicate and sensitive line drawings. I will carry on with this process and work towards evolving/ developing fragile line drawings with this material.
Many of the original workshop ladies from yesterday were unable to stay for long but stopped by to say hi and see what we were up to . It was good chatting and gaining more knowledge about the area from them and getting feedback about the day yesterday and our current work in progress. It is clear they thoroughly enjoyed yesterday and hope to be in tomorrow to try and put some work together.
A hugely productive day with much creativity, conversation and sharing of processes and techniques between the ladies of KAVA Arts. The Courthouse was a bustle of activity with artists developing their work for the final exhibition on Friday and inquisitive visitors interested in what we were creating.
Paula managed to find the time to do a demonstration of 'marbling' influenced mark making with Indian ink and water which went down extremely well with everyone watching.
Everyone is engaged and energised by our presence and it is humbling to receive such positive feedback about our individual processes and how our work is influencing others. Needle pricking, rubbings and imprinting, folding and manipulating are some of the processes that are of influence. It is clear that our embracing of the environment on a deeper level: our embodiment through physical and sensory contact is having a marked impression on this group of creatives.
My own personal response to my time in Kinvara is materialising through the manipulation and investigation of the sea moss I worked on yesterday. Today I have concentrated on the dissecting and teasing apart of this lush green material. Throughout the day I have used less and less individual quantities of the moss to create delicate and fragile drawings. The moss when pulled apart is fibrous and made up of the finest of thread like materials. The tensions arising from this dissection makes for a focused and challenging process and the outcome is generating such sensitive work. From the positive feedback I am receiving I am convinced that the work has its place. To break down this organic mass into small micro drawings contributes to the understanding of its materiality. I will continue in the development of these moss drawings and produce as many considered examples in order to collate a series that will be shown in the final one day exhibition on Friday 23.6.17
Day 6 saw the finalizing of our individual work and hanging ready for the one day exhibition on Friday. My own work consisting of 15 4 x 12' individual dissected drawings of sea moss on sketch book paper bought at the local supermarket in Kinvara. From defined and visible formed drawings the series diminished into barely visible physical marks. I also displayed my sketch book from the week alongside some framed skeletal leaf work which was available to buy.
I was pretty much on top of things a s far as my own work was concerned. Because of my time management skills I am able to get things sorted and pull everything together as far as the overall project. With some people behind in there production of work I moved the project on by helping framing and curating work. It had been decided that by 2pm we were to stop making and start curating and that we would not leave until it was ready for the next morning. This did go to plan with only Paula needing to frame some work near the end of day. She stayed late to sort out but the exhibition was ready for the morning!
The final showing of our work and our collaboration with the KAVA group was from 10-4pm. A local farmers market on the street outside drew many people into the courthouse throughout the day. Sue, Paula and I were all available to answer questions and meet the Kinvara community while members of KAVA dropped in. It was evident how much our individual practices influenced everyone and a theme of abstraction ran through nearly all the work. The less is more aspect was embraced and the honing in on micro marks and drawings made for a theme running through everyone's work.
'What a lovely end to an inspirational week of work and fun with our visitors from across the water in Leeds. Three MA students, Paula Hickey, Sue Wright and Carol Sowden in collaboration with some KAVA members. Great to meet you guys and thanks for your input and stimulation. It all came together at the end too in a magical mix of lovely work exhibited just for one day. Pure serendipity' Rosaleen Tanham, KAVA