It’s been five years, almost to the day since I last posted here. How is that possible? My last post was this one – a well-intentioned, new start to something that didn’t manifest…until now. All in good time, I tell myself. To everything, even and perhaps especially, blog posts, there is a season. Five years later, (another daughter, a few chickens and five thick, full years of living) I’m doing today’s version of what I set out to do then.
I’ve just returned from 40 days and 40 nights of “action research” and experiment above and below ground in a traveling residency at the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, Eire/Northern Ireland. (To locate the geopark on google maps click here.) Supported by Marble Arch Caves Geopark and funded by Arts Council England, DREAMING PLACE asks the question, “Does the land dream through us?”
During our “traveling residency” we camped at various sites throughout the Geopark and encountered an array of people, places and things which helped us to explore our three main focuses of the project: dúlra – ecosystem; dúchas– heritage; aisling – dream. We captured our experiences, ideas and insights both in sound with our trusty digital audio recorders and pen and ink through an evolving collaborative drawing. We also created a “DREAMING PLACE toolkit”, which we plan to share in the form of a book – more details forthcoming.
Our field work at Marble Arch Caves Geopark is now complete, but there is still so much we want to share so Anna and I are still blogging! Visit our blog at www.dreamingplace.eu for daily audio, image and stories.
To give you a little background on the collaborative project: Anna Keleher and I met at Dartington College of Art in 2007 during our studies on the M.A. Arts and Ecology course, at which time we began our collaborative practice. When we finished our studies we vowed we would meet up again in Ireland one day to continue our collaboration and further research prehistoric ecologies. During our recent 40-day residency, we “made good” on our promise to each other.
Many thanks to all those who helped make DREAMING PLACE a success. We miss the people, places and things of MAC Geopark. We´ll be back! Our special thanks to Fermanagh Council officers Diane Henshaw and Rose Cremin, Geopark Manager Richard Watson and Education Director, Martina McGee of MAC Geopark, David Scott of Gortatole Activity Centre, Outland Arts and all the other wonderful people who gave us tea, lent us boats and shared their good craic with us.
Have you ever found yourself in the middle of an unintended invention of illusion, a moment of accidental, spontaneous creativity with everyday objects? This very thing happened to me recently…..
How to create Cumulus Clouds:
You will need:
Cotton or polyester stuffing or batting
Beautiful blue sky to hold your clouds
1. Fluff your stuffing or batting
2. Pin it securely on the line in clumps
3. Step back and use your imagination
4. Kneel, look from below and move from side to side – find your favorite angles
5. Enjoy your new cumulus clouds!
My New Year’s resolution this year: to spend at least one morning or afternoon each month with other artists and craft-makers to experiment and explore new creative territory together. I was overjoyed that my mom, Connie, and my dear friend Jane, were up for manifesting this New Year’s resolution together.
We had our first “Art Day” together in January and shared thoughts, ideas, creative desires and aspirations to map out our future Art Days. There is no shortage of ideas or enthusiasm, let me tell you!
One of the ideas that came out of this initial brainstorm, was to each create an “Art Day Kit” to bring with us each time we get together, so that we always have “the basics”. The list, as it stands now, is as follows:
- pens and pencils
- adhesives (favorite glues, tapes and photo squares)
- Scrap paper
- Needle and thread(s)
- Jewelry Wire
- Art Day Calendar (project ideas, dates etc.)
- Arts Journal
The Arts Journal is an aesthetic way to keep track of your arts and mixed media experiments and outcomes. I was inspired by this blog post called “Showcase Your Creative Art Experiments“. I decided that it was the perfect time to start an Art Journal parallel to the Art Day series. I plan to tuck, sew, glue tape and write my creative forays into a large recycled-content book that I made over three years ago. This book has been waiting for just such a perfect use. Stay tuned for photos of the Art Journal!
For our first project we chose to do simple fabric dyeing with sharpies and rubbing alcohol. Between the three of us we gathered a wide variety of sharpie/permanent markers, white and light-colored fabrics, light, even-spray misters, and Jane provided the isopropyl alcohol, embroidery hoops and gloves (very helpful to keep hands free of permanent pigment).
We ended up using primarily cotton and cotton/poly blend fabrics, however the dyeing outcomes did differ on different fabrics and we look forward to experimenting with the creation of silk scarves etc. in future. The embroidery hoops helped keep the fabric taut, which provided a better drawing surface and also encouraged the alcohol to spread the colors more.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we enjoyed experimenting with hearts and warm colors. Seeing the colors spread out into the fibers was magical.
The unexpected results and lack of control with this medium is very much a part of its charm for me!