I have a system of working which often now involves pulling instructions / starting points at random. I have a box entitled < INSTRUCTIONS TO SELF > from which I pull little life instructions for myself, as and when I feel like it. (This is an extension of the January supplements I sent people last year, as a printable and through the post as a New Year boost to activity, these instructions I enjoy doing and so I thought I’d share them. Got some happy feedback). Some of my instructions that time didn’t really work or were hard to follow, so in advance of the midwinter season I am testing out a selection of the ones that I felt worked last year and adding in some new ones. I don’t put any time limit on when the instructions have to be completed after they are picked, they are on my mind a little and then I often find I do them and only realise later.
This happened today, on return to my studio to see the photos and videos I’ve taken on my first trip to walk about the Clydach Gorge, off the A465 between Abergavenny and Brynmawr. The last instruction I pulled for myself was Walk in a woodland and I did this while exploring Clydach.
The Clydach Gorge Collaboration is a creative group brought together and initiated by Allison Neal, who also lives in Abergavenny. Alli has written a list of notes about the cultural, geological, scientific and engineering history of the area as a starting point.
I had several ideas straight away – what I’d like to do, but when considering them they seem too definite, with no wiggle room. Also – I feel I need to get an all-round, better grounded knowledge of these starting points.
While walking in Clydach I drew (though my pen was seriously running out!) and made notes of things that interested me through video, photo and written points. The most natural and exciting thing for me to do now is to add my points to Alli’s nine and work with each picked randomly. I can spend as long or as little time on each as desired plus I could add more notes and questions as I go along.
I followed the signs to the Iron works and came across a sign warning that the subway is closed, but followed the path as far as it went, with construction fencing keeping public out of excavation works. My first photo is of the top of the diggers with the cloud topped mountain behind.
Next I took a video of the two visible diggers at work. Looking like large, grazing animals. There’s something very calm and elegant in their movements.
The noise of the area, the most noticeable noises: hum of machines, sometimes throbbing and the river. [also took video of noise, camera aimed at trees and invisible river]
A sign and fenced off area NO ENTRY! Japanese Knotweed Invasive Species looked most odd in the context of so much manmade noise going on, a simply thought: isn’t that exactly what humans are?.
After a while I came across a sign to Clydach station and followed it, went down several wrong turns (there I not many, but I found them!) and after a steep road uphill, found huge arched railway bridge and station…or, at least – where the rails once ended (long since been taken).
I wonder when the first humans inhabited this area? Have there been cave dwellers here? (Seems quite inaccessible to get to Shakespeares cave! (after watching caving video)
National cycle route suddenly stops at entrance to Clydach and begins again after the railway. Landowner doesn’t want it. (Photos of signs)
I was close to entering the nature reserve on the bridge, at this point I walked back down to Clydach village.
Once back down I did a 360° video starting with the diggers through the trees. I thought the (throbbing) noise of the machines would be picked up, but it’s not.
Printing / drawing views from the Gorge on new five pound notes. Why? Fix the time as now (while the notes are new) when the prints/drawings are made.
Some fantastically shaped trees on the walk down from the station to the village. Huge, damp, moss covered, knarled on a large scale.
I’ve started a YouTube category on my account for Clydach Gorge, so far with others video’s I’m somewhat interested in. Mostly for getting the hand of the lay of the land.
Heard mention of The Valley of the Goblin (Cwm Bucca it sounded like in Welsh)
When thinking about cutting up the list and picking out randomly, it initially seems like a cop-out; my 254words series (just finished) worked this way. The difference here is that after picking the note I can research and or make work in any format that suits the subject. This is wide open and it could lead anywhere. Let’s do it!