Farfield Mill Residency (1:14)

This weekend I started my two-week residency at Farfield Mill, an arts and heritage centre set in the beautiful Howgills of southern Cumbria. No lakes here but lovely hillscapes, and such peace and quiet.  I’ve been settling in over the last three days: a day of rehearsals and moving in to my studio, a Saturday afternoon concert at the famous Brigflatts Quaker Meeting House, and a Sunday to gather myself for the residency ahead and bring together some first thoughts.

The Bainside Studio @ Farfeild Mill

The Bainside Studio @ Farfeild Mill

Unlike my recent blogs I’m going to assemble most of my pictures in a gallery at the foot of each blog. The first images are that of my working space for the next fortnight. It’s called the Bainside studio and it is tucked away at the side of the top floor of the Mill (Level 4) – an exhibition area doubling as a space for a working collection of handlooms. The Bainside studio is where I began my weaving adventure. It was the studio of weaver Laura Rosenzweig whose name appears frequently in this blog, and whose work remains a constant inspiration. Laura has recently moved to a studio built specially in her back garden. The only thing this studio doesn’t have is a loom! That’s next door in the Level 4 gallery. It’s a Glimakra 4-shft floor loom – very similar in lots of ways to my Toika loom at home.

The Glimakra 4-shaft

The Glimakra 4-shaft

Although it will be Wednesday before I meet up with the Farfield Mill weavers’ group I thought you might like a quick tour of what’s going on on their looms. I’ve put a number of images in the gallery below. Details to follow about each piece. . . when I’ve had a chance to talk the weavers themselves.

I couldn’t help but include just a few images from two long walks I had yesterday. I’m here without a car so I had some gentle walking yesterday: from a farm some 4 miles away beyond Sedbergh (and within sight of George Fox’s Pulpit) to meeting at Brigflatts; from Brigflatts along the River Rawthy to Farfield – another 3 miles. 

A Sketch of my walks on Sunday

A Sketch of my walks on Sunday

I have brought a collection of yarns with me. These have been kindly chosen by my wife and Mother-in Law (a former teacher of textiles and a needlewomen to be reckoned with). They had a morning out at Texere and brought back a bag of goodies for me to work with. The colour card they worked to was the collection I placed on the blog last week – six colours from my sketch of Brigflatts garden.

Yarns from Texere for my Weaving the Garden project

Yarns from Texere for my Weaving the Garden' project

In the gallery you can see all 15 images of this beautiful garden realised by print and embroidery artist Alice Fox. I’ve already shown Alice’s ‘animated’ digital images on last week’s blog, and just one of her ‘real’ textile pieces. In the collection of gallery images below you can see all these textile images together. Much to the disappointment of Farfield Mill’s Exhibition Officer none of these pieces are for sale, as they comprise an important part of the installation required in performing the musical work they relate to – Fifteen Images (Le Jardin Pluvieux). This 30-minute work, in a new ‘online’ version, receives its première on Saturday 8 August here at Farfield Mill performed by the brilliant young jazz pianist Matt Robinson. Continuing on a musical note, the final gallery image shows Alice Fox (singer and textile artist) acknowledging some generous applause at the end of our recital at Brigflatts last Saturday. Interesting to see that Peg Carpenter (Talking about Weaving) has been busy making music too, at a camp for choral singers  . . . I wonder what it is about textiles and music.

So what will a day at Farfield Mill be like for me? This morning I was here at 5.30am (!), which is when I usually try and write music for a few hours. I’m staying in a B & B just 3 minutes walk away. I have the mill to myself at that hour, indeed at 8.30am when I go and have breakfast there’s still no one here. I then return and continue writing, and later on put in some playing on the guitar and lute – I have a solo recital to give at Farfield Mill on 15 August.

After lunch I intend to devote the afternoon to weaving. Today it will be bringing together some first thoughts on one of my little frame looms – playing with the yarns a bit, and taking a good look at the Glimakra.

When the Mill closes to the public at 5.30pm I’ll get out for a walk, probably by the nearby river, and then tea before returning to the studio to write letters and deal with my office back in Wakefield.

Finally, for all those who might be tempted to help and inspire me in this proposed ‘Weaving a Garden’ project (see last week’s blog) don’t hesitate to start sending me some ideas, suggestions and images. You might like to tell me about your own garden and perhaps share some photos or your own drawings. Just what are the predominant colours NOW in your garden? I’ve lots of wall space to collect such images, and it would be lovely to see these grow – help me fill my studio with gardens!!





One Response to “Farfield Mill Residency (1:14)”

  1. Peg in South Carolina Says:

    No car?!?! How marvelous. Why do I have this sneaky feeling you are going to very much enjoy this residency……….
    I like having the photos at the bottom of the page.

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