FERAL Ink. Drawing. 12 August 2019

A few more from the stetchbook.

As the pages continue some of the inks have burned through the paper to create some shadows and traces on the following page. A pleasurable accident. This whole book is a book of pleasurable accidents. Of not over thinking. Of making a mark, a shape and seeing where it leads.

The lye water with the Avocado here is a particularly pleasing colour; burnt orange.

FERAL Ink 1
Nettle + Copper Oxide
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Nettle, Copper Oxide + Avacado
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Avocado + Lye, Copper Oxide
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Avocado + Lye, Copper Oxide.
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Avocado + Lye, Copper Oxide
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FERAL Ink. Drawing

Here are some images from an A5 sketchbook I have been filling with FERAL Ink. drawings. Using calligraphy nibs, brushes and an old piece of map-making stationery, I have been seeing where the marks lead.

In the walking and Ordnance Survey Map pouring, the symbols, marks and shapes used to document place – unique and yet also universal (countrywide) in their depiction – have meandered their way into my work. Gathering momentum as the pages and drawings continue. I follow where they guide. Sometimes sticking to the path, sometimes offroading. The tension of wishing to write, to explain, to give language is strong. I sate this thirst with repetitive lettering. For there are no words. Just the motion of leaving a trace.

Sketchbook Spread 1
Elderberry, Avocado Skins, Nettle, Oak Gall.
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Calligraphy Nib Marks
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Mapping an Unknown Place

A Walk into the Unknown: Gelli//Claberston, Pembrokeshire.

For some time now, it may even be a few years, walking out hasn’t always simply brought with it a feeling of connection to the beauty of the world and what I find there. It now can often sit on a bittersweet edge, and at times brings great grief. The reality of dwindling resources overpowered by money and greed, of more and more industry and disconnection by so many from the world around us all. A rise of mental ill-health and addiction. (I am currently reading Johann Hari’s “Lost Connections”. Reflections on this to come soon). The gap between rich and poor becoming greater. More fear. More right-wing politics. Especially those with the greatest power and financial resource.

Even now, as I write, the news babbles on in the background that Boris Johnson, new to power as Primeminster in the UK, has felt it vital to spend his first days stating his support of a new, faster railway between Leeds and Manchester. No mention of climate breakdown. Of the prospect of humanity’s extinction. It is this madness, and often feelings of impotence, that meet me in my daily life.

This is something I feel strongly about, yet there is a fear of expressing such things. I am not perfect. Nobody is. It is an ongoing process. But going that bit deeper than “reduce, reuse, recycle” is a reality we are facing. For me, this involves sitting with the grief and caring for the mental stretches of darkness and anxiety when they arise. Here is some writing that came out as I spent some time exploring recently. I venture out, away from the crowds of holiday makers in the villages near to home, to Clarbeston in Pembrokeshire.

We whizz through this green landscape and we don’t see it. It sits as a backdrop. Something that might make us smile, or feel something, as we peruse in its entirety, but the details are lost. To some it might be cow food, the place where cows go, where wheat grows, to others, it is lawns and places to gather or look at from the kitchen window. When was the last time you sat amongst it and watched? Watched the insect that made friends with your leg? 

I’m no saint. I drove here in my cheap old diesel car. 

The scene of the macerated hedgerows. Nature that got too feral for the passing cars. Gone is the heady scent of meadowsweet, sweet aroma of honeysuckle and tall swaying statues of grass and foxgloves. Maybe this needs to happen for the sake of the hedgerows. Does it? Does it assist them in any way? Or is it so we can see more clearly as we swing around country lanes at high speed getting from A to B. Today I cannot quite sum up a warm relaxed presence and peace. Today I am disturbed and desolate. Daydreaming of quiet roads and walking from village to village. Of one field once a cow home, hosting enough veg to feed a community for months. What will it come to? When will things be heard?

The Preseli Hills from Gelli.

The Preseli Hills from Gelli.

I spent last weekend at Buddhafield Festival in Somerset, and the conversation of Evolution of Extinction that was the theme of the gathering dug in deep. As Greta Thunberg states “This is an existential crisis.” Finding insight, community and strength in spiritual practice is something I return to again and again. More and more. The talks given by those engaged in Buddhism and activism from Buddhafield (the UK festival, not the Hollywood group reportedly a cult) will be available on the Clear Vision website in the coming days, and I look forward to leaning into this wisdom and support in these times.

Next Thursday is the next Extinction Rebellion Pembrokeshire meeting in Haverfordwest. The three groups from the county have come together to make a super group. Alongside this, the beginnings of a Regenerative Culture affinity group are taking shape in Narberth. We are due to meet on August 5th.

This is the way forward. The only way. Coming together. Making and strengthening connections.

In my time back in Pembrokeshire, I am glad of the space and peace to take stock and prepare for surgery, and I am also aware of the way rural life can work itself into a feeling of disconnection and loneliness. Going out and forging those connections, whether, with a pathway, a beach, a human, a group, a voice, a project, a set of values, this all takes focus and effort. This is where I focus.

I can greatly relate to this post from writer Elizabeth Gilbert from a few days ago:

Elizabeth Gilbert - Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Walk into The Unknown: Port Lion + Benton Woods, Pembrokeshire.

On my return to Pembrokeshire, the county where I was born and raised, I decided to get out and walk paths I hadn’t walked before. To encounter the unknown in the landscape in this time of life limbo. Walking with the unknown. Strengthening the body. Supporting the mind. Piecing together my knowledge of the landscape, from coast to estuary to wood and hill. A mid-30s life audit. Taking stock. Taking time.

Port Lion, Pembrokeshire

Port Lion on the Cleddau Estuary, Pembrokeshire.

It was the hottest day on record. My walk through Benton Woods cut short by the heat. Settling under a young conifer I write. Addled musings on Silence. It comes through in fits and starts. The work of Sara Maitland is in the forefront of my mind. Silence. Being alone. Here is what I wrote. Raw. Incomplete. A work in progress. A pondering in transit.

The heat assuaged by warm breeze through branches so high I could never hope to touch. Roots unseen but firm from years of estuary winds and mild winters. Walking out. Such freedom in the lungs, unless what has been laying silently mouthing vitriol now makes is presence known and those breezes rip away the roots of sound and smell. This body. This walking pace. A double-edged sword, silence. The healer. The destroyer. It depends what I find there and how I relate to its treasure. There is always treasure but sometimes I mistake the gold gleam for fangs and feel the bite deep into unseen flesh. 

Aberdaugleddau. The mouth of the two swords. The two sworded river. 

There on the path, under beech dapple and silky oak leaf, we rumble. A meeting of this humanity, this unity. That which the mind has fixed, prone to dropping a bough without warning. That which is movable set to slow me and show me. That which is ink on paper mere icing sugar on a cake I can eat better with tongue quiet and still.

I pause to gather interesting objects. Spots of colour. Curious textures. Together they sit in a line.

A museum of noticing. Of curiosity.

Found Objects - Port Lion

Found objects from walk. 

Emerging from the woods I find shade on the shore. Cooler here. A liminal land that I am not used to. A different coast. There I pause to look and write again. Less grappling with higher, wider, deeper wonders. More seeing the here and now and appreciating the moment.

Serendipity bobs softly on the water, mast clinking in the estuary breeze. Silky oak leaves dappling light on the stony shore, hanging low ready to kiss the heads of those who roam the salty Bardot. Fluorescent buoys accompany dormant boats on this July Thursday afternoon. Sky and water Welsh riviera blue and not an ice cream licking tourist in sight. Thank you to the goddess of Ordnance Survey for bringing me here to a new land. A mini-vacation in Mediterranean heat, down arid path strewn with sunbleached tree bones. Following the double-edged sworded river back inland with my eyes, I spot the distant Preseli Hill peak: scorched and dusky brown. On the waterline stoops and old man. Stick supported. Back caked in seaweed. Body made of wood. I had to look twice.


 

Artist Residency at Dove Studios

I recently had the honour of being accepted on to a group artist residency at The Dove Studios, Somerset UK. In celebration of the amazing space The Dove is, Amazing Space III will be the exhibition of work running throughout the Thursday – Sundays of Somerset Art Weeks 2019 (21st September – 6th October.) We are creating site-responsive work together to be included in this beginning with the words “START BY NOT KNOWING”

I am currently three days into the five-day residency and as we all take a breather for the day to rest and digest, here are some process images from my time spent. Chalk, charcoal, rope, queerness, boundaries, edges, blurring, conservatism, the unknown and mapping are percolating in my down day off-site.

Colour From Tea

In May I attended a workshop with Cat from Colourfield. The day after I spent time experimenting with teabags I found in my kitchen to make the colours below: your standard black teabag and a Pukka turmeric green tea bag. The depth of the yellow and the warmth of the brown tannin surprised me. I am particularly enamoured with the way it coloured the raw wool samples. This is for a longer project I have bubbling away.

On Cotton Paper

On cotton rag paper.

Black Tea

Black tea on cotton: dipped and bundle dye. Raw wool and cotton thread (for bundle dye).

Turmeric Green Tea

Turmeric green tea on cotton: dipped and bundle dye. Raw wool and cotton thread (for bundle dye).