Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Heart and Soul




It is with a lighter foot that I step up and move forward and start to write again. The act of writing is not difficult for me, but I am far better at putting the act off, distracting myself with something more worthy and surprisingly even more 'domestic'. Household chores have too often been given priority over creativity, not that you would know that by the 'lived in' mess of my home. But I am starting to really understand now that procrastination is an artform in itself and one that I have been developing unknowingly for many years.

For a good dose of inspiration I visited the Wealden Literary Festival which has more recently been seen to be encouraging more women writers to take centre stage. I went to a couple of talks and enjoyed the honesty and enthusiasm with which the women spoke of their experiences within the popular genre of nature writing, especially that of nature and place. I recognise the voice of these narrators. I feel their writing. It resonates. From now on I too will put my heart and soul into the writing and see what happens on the page.
I have just signed myself up for Whitstable's first swim-lit Festival this Saturday, 
It starts with a swim at high tide at 10.37 and finishes with a night swim at 23.01, with many talks by authors such as Tanya Shadrick, (who I was lucky enough to see at the WLF), with workshops, music, coffee and cake in between. I am hoping this local festival will inspire and encourage me further. 

Friday, 31 August 2018

Taking off and Landing




It's late August and holiday season. I too have been away and come home again. Now my home and the familiar places that I inhabit have become even more special because of this excursion. Going away and coming home allows us to glimpse a different perspective on our everyday living choices and I think once in a while, that's a good thing. For me it has confirmed all that I appreciate in my little part of the country and also made me re-look at my chosen lifestyle. It has highlighted some wonderful aspects of my everyday life that I had forgotten, that had got buried in the daily, consistent, repetitive and yet much needed domestic routines.

Finding my feet, in a new place.


I think going away can be a holiday from your everyday self, as immersed in the new, unfamiliar and strange, it begins to dawn on you what really matters and what doesn't. This was one of my greatest insights on the trip. That, and the realisation that even though we had travelled many miles to get to this new place, ( Quebec) a lot of it was familiar. That in itself was a comfort as I realised the Northern Hemisphere is my land, and as I looked up as the skies darkened I could still pick out familiar star constellations such as 'The Plough', Cassiopeia and the North Star.

Familiar flowers in a new world. Kamouraska, Quebec, Canada.


I could recognise a lot of the plants, trees and animals in this new place too. But the birds were a constant vocal reminder we were somewhere else. There were many melodies and calls that I heard that were new and totally unfamiliar. We are wont to forget about our everyday sound-scape, so much so that we may not even hear it any more due to its repetitiveness and familiarity. 

The great St. Lawrence river. Just beautiful, it reminded me of home and my love of estuaries.


Since returning home I have visited my local library and started reading a very interesting and lovingly written book about bird song. 'A Sweet, Wild Note', by Richard Smyth which has reinforced some of the beliefs that I have had since a child and has also opened up a whole new world to me.

'Listening to birdsong..is a means of orientation; it's embedded in habitat, landscape and place.'

The Swale estuary at Oare, Faversham, Kent on a walk when I returned.


It has been nearly 2 weeks since we landed and I now feel that I am home. I have walked in many of my favourite places and re-aquainted myself with their details and nuances. I am enjoying the physical sense of feeling grounded and of this place. Added to this, I can compare, contrast and remember the other places and people and their culture. These memories are precious and they will stay with me as long as I can hold them. Last weekend we compiled and edited the hundreds of photographs that we had taken whilst away and this will help me to remember and hopefully keep that valuable new perspective for a bit longer.

View of sunset from our beach hut, Tankerton, Kent, last week.

A new but strangely familiar sunset view from the Gaspe peninsular, Quebec.


I love to teach others and facilitate space for them to create, so I run art and design workshops in my own straw-bale studio throughout the year. These can be either 1:1 or for a small group.
The next ones for the exciting and accessible art of Gelli-printing are on most Wednesdays and Fridays throughout September and October. They run 11-2pm and cost £40 pp including all materials and refreshments. Call or text 07432679164 if you would like to be booked in or email me at clare@people-to-place.co.uk

This is my website, it has more information about what I do and why. www.people-to-place.co.uk

Friday, 22 June 2018

Welcoming in the Solstice




Last night we welcomed in the solstice at our now familiar spot on the Salt Way, an ancient trading track which travels from the coast at Whitstable to Canterbury. As usual it was pretty chilly up there on the hill, we could see our breath but the little fire warmed us. The wind blew through the leaves in the poplar trees sounding like running water and seagulls quietly flew overhead towards their evening roosts.

Half a moon peeps out between the rustling poplar leaves.


In my last blog I wrote about experiencing awe and cultivating wonder. In creating a midsummer ritual of processing, with others, up to that same location year after year we are choosing to mark time and make our own magic. Being there in nature, sitting high up between two busy roads we are able to just be, becoming human beings once again.

Placing the pot into the fire in the circle.


The glowing objects from within the kiln.
This time I took up, amongst many other treasures a clay pot that I had made as part of the Whitstable Biennale. The pot had been fired among many other hand made objects in a spectacular outdoor firing event held on the beach a couple of weekends ago. Run by Josephine Callaghan and supported by Tom Barnett and Sarah Cameron, the kiln was made and fired in situ, creating a wonderful display in itself with a backdrop of the sun setting into the sea.
Josephine about to unveil the glowing objects



Summercamp Whitstable Biennale 2018


So, a lovely connection was made last night from this past fiery passionate event to a much quieter, reflective event on the hill. I took my fired pot up with me to the same spot we have sat and celebrated for the last 5 years and placed it onto the fire and filled it with some seawater I had gathered the previous evening after a wonderful swim in the sea. As the fire burned the water evaporated and it is only now when I look at the photo that I can see salt forming on the top edge and inside the pot!

The pot with evaporated sea salt within it. 


What a discovery! We had inadvertently made salt in a ritual fire on the Summer Solstice on the ancient Salt Way. That certainly has made me realise that I need to be more observant and keep enjoying and creating 'awe-some' events for myself and others to connect 'People-to-place.'

Happy Solstice!


I will leave this blog with a couple of quotes from two of my favourite writers and practitioners. Sandra Ingermann and David Abram.

'We once again welcome in the solstice. In the Northern Hemisphere we greet summer as well as the return of the dark...Often in life we lose sight of what is important. And we can really get pulled outside of ourselves and lost in the trance of the collective....We have to make a decision to open the prison doors and use our invisible senses to connect with the beauty of the universe we are part of. Earth is one single living organism. We are part of the organism we call Earth.' SI

'...along with the other animals, the stones, the trees and the clouds, we ourselves are characters within a whole story that is visibly unfolding all around us, participants within the vast imagination, or Dreaming of the world.' DA

warming hands...


I love to teach others and facilitate space for them to create, so I run art and design workshops in my own strawbale studio throughout the year. These can be either 1:1 or for a small group and I charge from £15 per hour.
The next ones for the exciting and accessible art of Gelli-printing are on most Wednesdays and Fridays throughout June and July. They run 11-2pm and cost £40 pp including all materials and refreshments.

Call or text 07432679164 if you would like to be booked in or email me at clare@people-to-place.co.uk




Friday, 8 June 2018

Experiencing awe and cultivating empathy.


Experiencing awe and cultivating empathy....

I wonder if this is why I need to go and see the sun set, to experience awe. Is this a basic need of mine?
Luckily, the sunsets here in Whitstable are stunning, we have a clear view across the sea, with the Isle of Sheppey becoming a wonderful landmark, that can be used to chart the suns movement through the changing seasons. As we approach the longest day, the sun moves across to the east of the island and sets impressively in the sea, its reflections enhancing the experience.



Sunset over Whitstable.


One of my favourite experiences during the summer months is to swim in the sea, towards the sunset. Even with my eyes closed I can see an orange glow and follow the trail of the reflected sun as it swooshes up and down in the waves. I have tried to capture this feeling of immersion, in the seawater and in the glow of the sunset by producing a dry-point print, titled 'Immersion'.

I have added text to accompany my images in the book.


This image is one of many artworks I have chosen to put into a small book, named 'People to Place- Reflections and Reminders', along with minimal but well thought out text, I hope to remind others of the simple joys of making time to go out, observe and be in the moment, connecting to the wonder of the natural world.

Find joy in the simple pleasures of life.


So, with another open studio date coming up soon, I have been busy printing a couple more books, using the fabulous Risograph machine at Intra studios in Rochester. This machine, about the same size of a large photocopier is a mechanical wonder. Simply put it can be seen as a mechanised screen-printing process. I make the original artwork, it then thermally cuts the 'master' stencils that are wrapped around the ink cylinders, then I press the button and I can choose any number of copies from 1 to 1000!

Risoprint machine in action.



I love the fact that there are many great colours of inks to choose from (and eco-friendly soy water based too). There is a wonderful 'flat gold', a deep indigo blue, my favourite Teal and about 6 more that can be used either separately or overprinted to create so many more colours. The machine can take A3 photocopier paper and thicker card so I have been able to produce many hardback covers for my books using the same process.

Printed covers drying on the rack.


Recently I tracked down Rob Hopkins, co- founder of the Transition Network, a positive global movement based in Permaculture. He is studying the power of imagination and regularly writes a blog about this subject.

Recently he wrote a blog in which he interviews Tony Whitehead of the RSPB, who during the spring months takes people out to listen to the birds dawn chorus. The interview looks at the subject of awe, which Rob had been researching. He asks Tony, 'I was reading some research recently about awe, which talked about how there's something about when people experience awe, that their brains work in a particular way that is really powerful for cultivating empathy. Maybe that's part of what you're saying people experience?

TW; 'And beauty as well....But I think awe comes into the simple every day experiences such as listening to blackbird song. And it starts at that point. That simple point of beauty and contact and everything else really devolves from that in terms of relationship. And I think people are more willing to act and advocate on behalf of wildlife and nature if they have that original experience of awe or the sublime or just that connection. Just that connection.'


'Immersion' image and text.


So my little books have a big message to spread. Which is go outside, connect with nature and enjoy the awesome natural phenomenons that we are gifted with on a regular basis.
 
So...
'Go outside everyday, into nature and feed your soul.'


My next open studio event will be soon, on Saturday the 16th of June. It will show the new progression on from my current art project 'Hearth and Home'.
The exhibition is open to all from 11-5pm in my straw-bale studio.
The studio has a Facebook page of its own, to look at its 'life story', look up www.facebook.com/Green-Build-Tankerton
10% of all sales of this 'Hearth and Home' artwork will go to our local homeless charity in Canterbury, 'Porchlight'.
I love to teach others and facilitate space for them to create, so I run art and design workshops throughout the year. These can be either 1:1 or for a small group and I charge from £15 per hour.
The next ones for the exciting and accessible art of Gelli-printing are on most Wednesdays and Fridays. throughout May and June. They run 11-2pm and cost £40 pp including all materials and refreshments.

My own personal art page can be found at www.facebook.com/RoseClarityArtist I can be contacted on 07432679164 or clare@people-to-place.co.uk

Friday, 18 May 2018

My first Chapbook!




My first Chapbook!

Over the last couple of weeks I have enjoyed photographing some of my artwork to use in a couple of small books that I have compiled. I love to use the name chap book for this project as Chapman was my maiden name and means pedlar. I was always proud of that for some reason, so now, to have produced one is curiously wonderful! The historical definition of chapbook is 'a small pamphlet containing tales, ballads, or tracts, sold by pedlars.'

Copies of my chapbook ready to be stitched together.


The 'Spirit of Place' project that I have been working on with Alison Lees has really helped me explore other mediums, such as wood cut printing and it is good to see the overall variation and diversity of my creative output, photographed, set with text and printed.

Choosing photographs of my artwork to be included.


Finally I have a couple of small books to be proud of. It has been a long process and I have felt at times like there were too many obstacles to navigate to actually get something into print. But now, by scaling the 'writing project' down and producing something that I see now as 'just' another piece of art, I have managed to complete it at long last. Hurrah!

Finding the best layout of images to be used.


After photographing my recent work, I was able to select specific images that showed the various 'mark making' that I had been experimenting with over the last 2 years. For example, the brush-strokes of acrylic look soft compared to the oil painting and likewise the subtlety of a gelli-print contrasts well with the deep old strokes of a woodcut print. The printing system I have chosen to use picks up these tiny differences and I wanted to work with that.

The first book is titled 'Spirit of Place, Wanderings and Wonderings' and explores the basic inspiration I have had whilst walking and being in nature that has led to the production of the many images contained in its pages. It is not deep and inaccessible but light and easy to read, hopefully inspiring anyone who reads it to feel that they too could go outside and become more aware and ultimately inspired. I guess my aim was to produce a gentle reminder...

Getting the master copies of each page ready at Intra.


I printed the books as an initial batch of 50 and now have the repetitive but hugely satisfying task of putting them all together. The Risograph printing machine that I used is a wonderful thing and I like many others would like my own, but just to have the opportunity to travel up to Medway, to Intra and use theirs is good enough for now.

Part of the page layout for 'Spirit of Place' chapbook.

It's a great way to print and the best way to explain the function of the Riso machine is to compare it to mechanised screen-printing. You still have to create stencils and choose colours plus when making a booklet, pagination, layouts etc also need to be decided. But I love a process and now I just have 100 booklets to hand-stitch together! Some of them will be on sale at my next Open Studio event in June, so come and see for yourself!


My next open studio event will be on Saturday the 16th of June. It will show the new progression on from my current art project 'Hearth and Home'.
The exhibition is open to all from 11-5pm in my straw-bale studio.
The studio has a Facebook page of its own, to look at its 'life story', look up www.facebook.com/Green-Build-Tankerton
10% of all sales of this 'Hearth and Home' artwork will go to our local homeless charity in Canterbury, 'Porchlight'.
I love to teach others and facilitate space for them to create, so I run art and design workshops throughout the year. These can be either 1:1 or for a small group and I charge from £15 per hour.
The next ones for the exciting and accessible art of Gelli-printing are on most Wednesdays and Fridays. throughout May and June. They run 11-2pm and cost £40 pp including all materials and refreshments.

My own personal art page can be found at www.facebook.com/RoseClarityArtist I can be contacted on 07432679164 or clare@people-to-place.co.uk

Friday, 27 April 2018

Recognising the spirit of place.



I believe that part and parcel of making artwork is the need to regularly be inspired. To find this, I walk, often with other artists and it goes a long way to fulfil this need. Walking in nature, throughout the year provides me with plenty of opportunities to observe the larger seasonal changes and recognise the smaller more intricate details that may be overlooked by others.

Walking upon a path covered in white petals.


Seeing the footpath coated with white blackthorn blossom petals, looking like a wedding path and remembering the same path crunching underfoot last autumn as we stepped onto a thick carpet of acorns makes me happy! I see connections, recognise the changes and their regularity gives me peace, hope and inspiration.

Making prints from found objects on a recent walk.



I have been making and teaching 'Gelli-print' mono-printing for over a year now and I find walking and picking up small reminders of that walk, the time and the place can be used directly in subsequent printing sessions. The prints can then be looked back on with affection and become a direct link to another, past experience.

Earlier spring walk in Adisham, along a holloway.


I am obviously one of many artists who obtain inspiration through walking outdoors and connecting to the place. Last Monday evening I went to a poetry reading and performance by an artist who back in 2011 had a 6 week residency in a beach hut on Tankerton Slopes, Whitstable, Kent. As a long term resident of the area and a fellow beach hut owner, I was fascinated to hear her take on the area and see if and how she had been 'affected' by the spirit of place.

Detail of moss upon a marker stone in the wood.


We had unfortunately missed her performance the previous week in Whitstable, so we travelled down to Deal to the Astor Theatre especially to see her. She performed her poetry dressed in an iridescent gossamer gown, which looked like the deep changing sea that she had watched during her residency. The poetry was totally evocative of the place. She had captured the unique essence of this wonderful limbinal space.

A couple of books by Nancy Charley inspired by her Tankerton residency,


As I sat listening I thought she notices everything, from recognising both the resident crows and visiting tourists, their colours, behaviour, their noises...and the change of light on the sea, the bounty washed up on the beach, the promenaders, the dog walkers, the skein of geese, the migration of swallows..all that and more was acknowledged. The performance was entitled 'The Water Watcher', I enjoyed her work immensely. It was well observed, articulate and inspiring. Wonderful!

The Water Watchers Blessing by Nancy Charley.


My next open studio event will be on Saturday the 16th of June. It will show the new progression on from my current art project 'Hearth and Home'.
The exhibition is open to all from 11-5pm in my straw-bale studio.
The studio has a Facebook page of its own, to look at its 'life story', look up www.facebook.com/Green-Build-Tankerton
10% of all sales of this 'Hearth and Home' artwork will go to our local homeless charity in Canterbury, 'Porchlight'.

I am always inspired by the sunset. Truly wonderful.


I love to teach others and facilitate space for them to create, so I run art and design workshops throughout the year. These can be either 1:1 or for a small group and I charge from £15 per hour.
The next ones for the exciting and accessible art of Gelli-printing are on most Wednesdays and Fridays. throughout May and June. They run 11-2pm and cost £40 pp including all materials and refreshments.

My own personal art page can be found at www.facebook.com/RoseClarityArtist I can be contacted on 07432679164 or clare@people-to-place.co.uk