Farfield Residency (2:14)

It’s Tuesday and the second full day of my residency here at Farfield Mill. Whereas yesterday I seem to spend most of the day sorting out my musical work, today I’ve started to prepare the weaving side of things.

Making a Start

Making a Start

I sat down with my box of yarns, my sketchbook and one of the small weaving frames I’ve brought along. On my laptop there’s a collection of photos I took on Sunday – a panorama of 12 shots through 360 degrees. Looking at these it’s the sky that seems to dominate my interest. The weather is changeable here to say the least. We are not having a sunny August. The skies are predominantly leaden, but when the wind picks up there’s such colour and movement in and around the clouds. Here’s my response to one of those panoramic images:

A first sketch in my Notebook

A sketch in my Notebook

The first page of my notebook starts to map our some general ideas and assemble a few colours (see the gallery). First ideas are that I’m not going to weave one piece but lots of smaller pieces in different shapes and orientations. I’d like to explore foreground and background – the landscape in the background, the garden in the foreground. I’m thinking of map orientation too and the idea of boundaries between accumulations of natural objects and built up areas. Such thoughts bring me to think about Ian McHarg, the geographer and town-planner whose book Design by Nature revolutionized the way planners considered the interaction of the built environment with the rural.

Alongside and around these smaller pieces I’m beginning to think of using photographs, drawings, paintings and commentary. So, please, those of you considering getting involved with my online project, send those images of not only your garden but the location where you live (the latter in the form of map might be good).

My colleague Alice Fox, musician and textile artist, arrived this afternoon for a few days. She’s planning to work in the Bainside studio to produce some related (and sellable) work to the digital and textile images she produced for Fifteen Images (Le Jardin Pluviuex), this piece for solo keyboard – billed here at Farfield Mill  as ‘where music and textiles interact’. Along with a 42 inch plasma screen from Leeds for our installation, she brought her grandmother’s rigid heddle loom, boxes of materials, photos of (and produce from) her garden near Bradford, and the most beautiful bunch of flowers I’ve ever seen! So the studio now is looking a little more like a garden . . . even our (shared) work table looks more colourful (see the gallery).

Flowers from Alice's garden

Flowers from Alice's garden

As for music, the day began with some hours on Facts of Life. I’m concentrating just now on writing ‘Fact Manuals’ for each of the four instruments (violin, bassoon, double bass and piano). These manuals will provide studies, exercises and ‘techniques to practice’ before negotiating the musical score proper. I’ve also started remembering Eddie McGuire’s Prelude V, a brilliant single movement piece inspired by jazz and folk music. The composer wrote his  ‘prelude’ series to ‘promote a sense of well-being’ ( I have to own up to so enjoying a sense of well-being working in this beautiful (and quiet) location – so it’s going to be a perfect piece to end my final guitar recital at Farfield Mill on 15 August). Eddie McGuire is not only a fine composer but an accomplished folk musician with the band the Whistlebinkies.

the header of Rosie's scarf

the header of Rosie's scarf

I had a closer look at Rosie’s warp today – here’s the header. The linen is really lovely. In fact I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like it. The yarn seems to glisten. I must find out where she acquired it. Rosie’s work that I’ve seen previously is wonderfully understated. Her table mat series shown on this blog last November is refreshingly minimal . . .

Last night, after I’d successfully negotiated a fish and cheese soufflé in a foreign kitchen, we walked in the vicinity of Mill and the river that runs past it (and used to power the looms of course). It was full moon, and the moon was so bright as it wove its way between scudding clouds. We saw bats and heard owls, and all the time the sound of water. Artists’ in residence do need  a little space and time to enjoy (and be inspired by) their new locations . . . see below for some new images of Farfield Mill and its beautiful surroundings.




One Response to “Farfield Residency (2:14)”

  1. Peg in South Carolina Says:

    What a beautiful place to be! I agree, you need time and space to just wander occasionally and be fed by what is around you.

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