The way I work is very scatty, hence my seeking order. The Lost Library project has so many angles to it, it risks being lost and totally incoherent. There are lots of opportunities along the way and the nature of the way I work mean I speak with many people who all have their own ideas, some I take on to greater or lesser extent, some not at all. People involved all have different expectations and I have 2 quite separate projects fumbling along inside the title of ‘Lost Library’.
- Wheelbarrow (mobile library) influenced and based around gardening aspects Border Country by Raymond Williams
- Lost Library – talking about the value of libraries, at a time when libraries existences feel threatened.
My problem – I am trying to please everyone and therefore what I am doing, my aims, the core of the project is becoming very messy.
Part of my problem is that I am completely dedicated to the issue of libraries and therefore, really it could turn into multiple, separate projects under the umbrella of LOST LIBRARY, the first part being LOST LIBRARY – Border Country response. Other parts can deal with the value of libraries. Recently I went on a library crawl of libraries in my area – my impressions of these are Beautiful, Comfortable, Learning, Welcoming, things which encourage making self at home, sitting down and opening a book. Ideas flow to setting up a living room or giant soft chair in a festival setting, playing with the contrast of the site and the installation. Could have books being exchanged / delivered and collected from tables on the set.
Anyway – that is for another time. Now I need to do some serious editing of what my inaugural lost library project is going to do and be.
My current work range is as messy as the wide ideas I’ve had around the lost library project. I’m starting to paint the small 254 calico words, while adding to the larger canvas’s in my studio. Some of these larger canvas’ have had writing coming into them, but these paintings are an important part of my being and doing as an artist. The more recent larger paintings, there is no writing, just working completely freely, I am sometimes adding photos that I’d taken in November as part of the Portratit:Tachbrook collaborative project performed in Pimlico in December. These photos I’d taken in Abegavenny to get the hang of using a disposable camera to take selfies. They have just seemed to fit. Not sure if they will stay on the canvas, or just act as catalysts. These are the things I just do, along with beginning to draw plants from ‘The gardening year’ of my grandad’s to etch. The larger painting and etching is almost the things I am doing because I am ‘meant’ to be doing something else. I realise this is often when I make the most progress – when I just have to do something and can’t yet say why. It’s why I’m an artist. There are so many things I can’t put my finger on, how I work is increasingly a way to do something so I can look out of the corner of my eye and notice something I can’t find any other way. All the things I do do seem to converge, though the way I practice is diverse (though with a very strong affinity with paint and my love of print is also strong even though I have not recently spent much time on it), the different ways I work come together through what bubbles up, no matter how far away I start. It’s like I am making it my profession to avoid certain subjects. Over analysis being my nature, over sensitivity, part of my challenge is to get myself enough comfort with my work that I can be productive and let it all flow. Then stand back and see what I’ve got. Finding my flow and structures and routines to contain my mess, yet not stifle it is coming, unfolding, slowly…
I am noticing in my painting, the things I do when being lazy – go to gestures, like the handwriting squiggle, (this was visible in Grid, see image in 2nd row, 2nd column, click on square image for pull size ) and attempt to be on the edge, feel my way into the paint and work with the shapes that first emerge.
Back to LOST LIBRARY… so the part I am honing in to is ‘Border Country’ by Raymond Williams. Responding to the book at the Eisteddfod and Abergavenny Library is the home of the project and the starting location.
Text, gardening, wheelbarrow/s, music, librarian and seedlings.
Wheelbarrows – one made by HCA students and others, depending on participants. Load the wheelbarrows with seedlings in card pots. As go from library to festival home – we can hand out seedlings with a paper strip with gardening quote from book, with title and author of novel mentioned. (In Welsh and English)
At festival site:
The wheelbarrow could go from library to festival site several times a day, or just once a day, or back and forth just during one day….? while at the festival it can load excess seedlings onto a table (or other display for seedlings and text) to be given out.
Had previously going to involve black out poetry at the library and mono-printing at community centre about the value of libraries.
This could instead be the planting of seeds in trays (session 1 at community centre) and then 2 weeks later (depending on seed used) potting up into recycled card pots ready for Eisteddfod. The seeds used need to be seeds of plant mentioned in Border country book. Not sure yet whether or what workshop session could happen at the library. As I have only just figured out how to seriously edit this project, I am getting the general new planoutlined and then work the details around it.
Just found an apt quote:
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.”
E. F. Schumacher