Artist in Residence – Caroline Dear – Bulletin #7
Tuesday 5 April 2016
Since finishing the residency at Llantarnam Grange Art Centre I have a had a few weeks working on other projects and catching up with general life back on Skye.
One of the aims of the residency was to make the creative process as visible as possible, like making the roots of plants visible. I think this was successful; I tried various different angles – physical engagement with looking through the hand lens, having a wall of experimental development pieces, encouraging people to come in and talking about the work and my approach.
I wanted to make a series of shoes which embodied particular habitats, shoes to feel a landscape with, not necessarily wearing them but thinking about bringing people’s attention to our connection with the landscape. One can always do with more time and this would have been good, but at the same time I am always surprised by how much one can do in a short concentrated period. I think it is good to have to make decisions quickly and sometimes surprise oneself.
With making this work I was trying new materials and new techniques and figuring out the best ways to work with them. This is what I wanted to do, but I had underestimated the learning time involved for this.
A residency is always a balance between responding to a place, the materials, the culture and having ideas which you want to develop.
What stimulated me about Cwmbran:-
- the universal 60’s, 70’s architecture – the optimism and confidence of this
- the way the natural world infiltrated this built new town, discovering pockets of wood or meadow
- the proximity of other places; big city and big country (hills, sea etc.)
- juxtaposition of things; concrete and green moss or pink litter and green shrubs
- the shopping trolleys in incongruous places
What I’ll take away from the residency –
- a mixture of creative ideas to develop
- an interest in incorporating found and manmade materials into my work
- a confidence with mixing materials and techniques
- to examine the Bradbury prints and develop my own plant prints
- an interest in finding out more about Wales and the craft traditions
Highlights for me included visiting the Blaenavon Big Pit museum, visiting the Botanic Gardens and being shown round by Bruce Langridge and seeing the Bradbury prints, visiting St.Fagans and being given a tour of the Cwmbran habitats by Steve Williams Ecologist with Torfaen council.