It's a wonder.
The residency is well underway now, and alot to catch up on here!
I did spend a good hour writing a long detailed description directly onto my blog, then of course the computer froze and I lost the lot. It has taken me this long to pluck up the courage to write again.
The eagle eyed of you may have noticed that the name has changed! You May Well wonder has been modified to It's a Wonder as this is a more Welsh language friendly version.
So here is an update of the last four weeks;
Got settled into the studio and spent alot of time driving across the county of Flintshire to familiarise myself with the territory. Found that Holywell ( where I am based) has very, very little in the way of art supplies, and the nearest builders merchants is also alot further than I had realised, therefore I have to be organised, and plan things before I do them! Something I am notoriously not good at doing, as I work artistically, intuitively and spontaneously!
On my travels through Flint I visited castles, celtic crosses and healing wells, I also drove through miles and miles of windy roads, and got quite lost. It really is a beautiful area though and I feel very privileged to be actually working here.
I also have a beautiful studio, which I think was very unwise to give to me, it is an 18th century farm bakehouse, and has been lovingly removed from it's origional location and re-built brick by brick on site in Holywell… I really hope I can look after it! Have made a promise to myself to not use any form of plaster or gloss paint anywhere near this room.
I was again acclimatising and visiting new places, and made first research trip to Buckley library, and got a book and tape in order to hear the now extinct Buckley dialect, made arrangements to meet the Buckley society in order to work out how to incorporate this language into my work.
Started to make some work in the studio, and made a series of blank banners based on the pilgrimage banners that I found in the visitors centre for St Winefrides Well. Have also decided that I really want to do a reverse pilgrimage to the home of a pilgrim who has travelled to Holywell, this depends on finding a willing pilgrim so will have to wait and see.
I also began making my very own St Winefride costume, which I plan to use in some perfromances and a film, and started working on a portrait of Thomas William, AKA 'The Copper King', the creation of both felt very good!
I also spent alot of time during the week in the ofice phoning photocopying and researching on the computer, which always becomes extremely time consuming, and generally never feels like I have achieved much, although I did manage to secure 3 workshops with some local schools and one with a youth worker for teenagers, so perhaps not all bad.
Generally a more settled week, working in the studio and getting on with it. Had play with making some small lead pieces, finished the costume, and started another painting.
Had a very exciting afternoon when a youth worker called Blue Douglas, c ame to meet me and ended the meeting by saying I could use the counties drugs awarness bus for my film idea. This was especially good as this particular bus has DVD players, Digital camcorders, recording studio equipment, an i mac and a guaranteed supply of teenagers included, felt like a very big part, of one of my biggest battles had been won after that meeting!!
I also met with the Buckley society who were also really great, veyr helpfull, and generally nice people, came away with a head buzzing with ideas and information and had to go home to quite space to try and absorb it all!
Also decided that I want to make 2 large pieces for the Eisteddfod itself, the first being a glittery, self-contained, working water wheel ! The second being a castle made out of beer crates! As you may have gathered, I like a challenge!
Got to grips with how to go about making the above- mentioned water wheel and castle! Fell back to earth with a bump when I realised the complexity of the two challenges….but am confident they can be done!
By the end of the week I was the proud owner of alot of wood, and had badgered the local brewery into loaning me 150 beer crates free of charge: step 1 completed!
Had a quick nosey at the Eisteddfod site, and squinted hard to try and envisage how it would look one there was anything there, there was not alot to see except for a few portacabins, and two newly constructed gravel roads. I didn't do very well at envisaging and so went back to the studio and painted!
On Thursday I met Blue, and went on the gadget bus to meet the teenagers of Buckley to gauge their response to making a film about Buckley. They were really positive, and very open, honest and fun, I think we may be onto something!
I also conducted my first school workshop at a local school, had a class of 30, and although like all workshops I felt I was carried by high stress levels, I also really enjoyed it and the children were pleased with their finished picture, which they made by a large scale weaving method, which the whole class made together.
Again I won't bore you with all the details but there was also a bit of sewing, painting and woodworking going on throughout the week, with me using my usual method of having 3 things on the go!