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!