Having spent the last four weeks self-isolating in the delightfully charming Vincentine (the Mill’s resident yellow van) as the first Artist in Residence at the Silk Mill. I found myself feeling calm, content and able to breathe with intention over the duration of my stay.
Each day I discovered something new and felt energised by reading books, experimenting with materials, exploring the body in movement, admiring plant life, playing with shadows and reciting Spain fuelled poems.
I became heavily inspired from my daily walks both on and off the beaten track. I’d cut through the long grass, through the woodlands to uncover the remarkably potent smell of wild garlic running in the air. I also found standing in the open fields and along the river in and around Frome to be wondrous and rewarding. I often found such moments of silence and stillness to reflect upon my own emotions and thoughts towards art making and the choices that I made thus far.
I spent majority of my time working on a wearable art piece for an upcoming group exhibition It all comes down at the Barbican Centre in London. As part of it’s Young Visual Arts Group – A group of 14 emerging artists selected across London to take part and be mentored at the Barbican Centre for a six-month period (which has now been postponed due to Covid-19).
The wearable art piece features a hybrid body half human, half bird, painted and stitched with various scraps of fabric, and flattened bottle caps, coins, matchsticks and minute fragments of debris. This piece will be worn/linked to a greater work in the medium of live performance incorporating spoken word, ritual and movement.
The concept behind this piece is to create a feeling of flight and warmth. Acting as a lesson in letting go of the weight we often carry, in the hope that we may feel a greater sense of freedom both within the private and public sphere of our lives.
Alongside this, I experimented with found objects that I sourced from my daily walks, and within the nooks and crannies around the Silk Mill. Creating faces and figures from old blocks of wood, artist books, copper pipes, wire, bottle caps, washers, bolts and broken chairs.
I also created a new body of work a number of 30-odd drawings and paintings on discarded mounting board cut-offs using acrylic paint and oil pastel. Each piece contains a narrative that I’ve extracted from the subconscious, of both fact and fiction. Stories from home in Australia, to my time in Berlin and here in the UK, in both London and Frome.
There are birds staring out windows, faces, people that I know and care for but also strangers, or simply made-up. There are also scenes from the everyday, brushing my hair as I sit comfortably on the bed, a dear friend crying, birds dressed up staring into mirrors, seeing their reflections (of truth, beauty or darkness), home and houses I’ve lived in. Each of these works resonates on some level as quite personal and intimate.
Damon and Kate have been generous, warm and kind, making me feel welcome and at home from the day I arrived in Frome. They have introduced me to a number of the residents that occupy the Studios, who were friendly and often stopped by to say hello.
Each of whom create different works in the medium of Textiles, Print-making, Ceramics and painting, which as a visiting artist was great to observe.
I’m grateful for this incredible experience and adventure, and for the impact that the residency has left on my person and practice as an artist and at such a pivotal (emerging?) stage of my career. The time and space has allowed me to continue to develop confidence in both my voice and vision without distraction. Despite the challenges of being in unfamiliar territory and feeling at times quite lonely, I’ve felt a strong sense of joy and support, and my heart is spinning wildly with the thought of all the possibilities that exist in this world, and that I must keep going, I must continue to make.
I’ve become fond of Frome and it’s inhabitants. Frome is such a marvellous place, full of a rich history, creativity and sedative energy hidden in the depths of the soil and land. It has reminded me how much I adore the countryside, how calm and safe I feel in and around the rolling hills and the vastness of stretched out space, where I find it so easy to disappear in, to look and sit inward and to importantly and simply create.
I hope to return and visit at some point, once we reach a state of normality.
And so on that note,
Frome… Until we meet again!