Artist in Residence – Caroline Dear – Bulletin #2
Well it has been a busy week – I have got to grips with the numerous roundabouts and nearly know my way round Cwmbran!
I met with Steve Williams the Ecologist from Torfaen council who was extremely helpful, telling me about the various different habitats all in and close to Cwmbran. We visited a number of places which I would never have found on my own. I have chosen to focus on five different habitats: ancient woodland, meadow, water’s edge, upland and one other which is not decided yet. I have gathered a range of different plants which I will work with,these are sorted and drying, meanwhile I am doing research into the different traditional footwear in Wales.
I also visited the the National Botanic Garden of Wales and met with Bruce Langridge, Head of Interpretation. We had a really interesting chat about the function of a contemporary Botanic garden and the different ways in which we can open up the wonderful world of plants to more people.
I visited St.Fagans National history museum, a huge collection of historic buildings from all different periods throughout Wales, extremely interesting and very atmospheric with fires burning in the hearths and someone in each house to explain the history while your eyes got accustomed to the darkness.
I am going back to Skye tomorrow and have left the studio/gallery with a few different things to see in my absence. Ongoing to see is the plant of the day which needs to be observed using the hand lens provided, the past plants are now hung on a string beside it and cast wonderful shadows. There is a small tableaux laid out on a plinth which is made using some of the plants gathered from around Cwmbran during the week. There is a wall of work in progress, experiments made using the found plants, some photographs and notes as well as the plants which I have gathered during the week sorted and laid out into different habitat locations. There are also three selected plants which hang upside down at eye level, giving the visitor a way to look more closely at these ‘weeds’.