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Day 5: Artist Residency at The Hide

Updated: Apr 1

Day 5

Friday 29th March

Left: Holly in Alice's studio during a mentoring session

Middle top: The four tree 'nodes' on the common

Bottom right: Foraged garden finds

The anemones and iris are fading; pigment in the outer petals pale and fold tightly in on themselves. It’s a reminder that this week is coming to a close. I read in bed (‘Art & Fear: The perils and rewards of artmaking’, an ideal companion this week) and deepen into a lengthy meditation, the sun streaming through the window, and write.

I join Alice in her studio and she announces that she has a plan. We unroll reams of paper, taping them together in various forms that symbolise the cornerstones of our conversation earlier this week. We intuit how to fold a large square until it resembles an oversized origami ‘fortune teller’ which opens and closes, making me giddy with joy. Alice guides me to scribe markers, values and meaning throughout the paper landscape, carving out the depths of my practice. I’m enthralled jumping from place to place, giving names to this familiar yet unknown terrain. It organically pools into a place of togetherness and I leave with direct instruction to leave the page, the realm of thought, and lean into embodied practice, the felt domain.

I walk to the common and meet the trees, walking between 4 nodes; n/e/s/w, the directional buddhas, the four elements, land-scape-human-ity. I walk and walk and let my focus drift from head to heart. I meet mushrooms, oak leaves, dandelions, holly leaves, thistles, and cowslip on the way. A magnificent thistle (bigger than a dinner plate) thrives at the center. I adorn it with leaves and sticks from my travels. I find lichen-encrusted sticks and arch them overhead. On my next return, they’ve fallen. A pair of gnarled logs join the structure and, after many iterations, slot together with strength. The entombed thistle is a meeting of worlds, a place of resistance and possibility. Both and.

It’s still warm out and I head to the garden, still dozy from winter. I collect foraged finds in my washing up bowl; moss, bark, ivy, straw, seed heads, birch twigs, stones and rose thorns. I lay them all out back in the studio. It reminds me of the archives and how Dan and I begin our sculptural interventions in Buddhafields, getting to know all our materials. I leave them to be.

Today feels like I’ve flung open the windows of my house. I imagine them as French shutters on the first day of spring. It’s as if I’ve discovered new floors, new places for the light and air to get in. I sense the limitations of the page with its four walls and have found a window, a way through.


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