Farfield Residency (4:14) – by guest artist Alice Fox

Well this is a first for me.  I’ve never ‘blogged’ before, but then working with Nigel keeps on providing new experiences.  Farfield Mill is wonderful – so peaceful and such a relaxing and inspiring place to work.  I’m so lucky to be able to spend some time here working and sharing a small part of Nigel’s residency.  Day four and the sun is shining again.

Early morning view from Farfield Mill

Early morning view from Farfield Mill

After a more than adequate breakfast at our lovely B&B I set to work for the morning preparing my series of 15 dry point prints for hanging on the wall just outside our studio.  These prints formed an important part of the design development for the digital version of 15 Images .  Their character and marks came out of the drawings I did directly from Nigel’s music, one drawing and one dry point plate (lines scratched into aluminium sheet) for each image.  Once these plates are printed the mark changes from a precise drawn line to a much richer and more expressive mark.  These marks were scanned in and used as a layer within the multi-layered digital construction that makes up each of the 15 images.  The first performance of this music with the images alongside is tomorrow here at Farfield Mill and now I’m really quite excited to see what happens!

15 Images - the dry point prints

15 Images - the dry point prints

A decision had to be made about whether these prints would be for sale.  The exhibition officer here was really keen that the work I’m exhibiting here would be available for sale and so these prints are (the textile originals which are on show alongside the digital presentation are not for sale because we hope to take them elsewhere for exhibition).  As well as forming part of the make up of the digital images these prints also provide a link to the black on white marks of the musical notation.

Alice mounting her dry-point prints

Alice mounting her dry-point prints

After lunch by the spectacular Clough River that flows right by the Mill I continued with this preparation (attaching hanging fixings to the back of each frame and checking that everything is in order for display) while Nigel practiced his guitar.  I’m so glad he has to practice every day as it means that I am treated to my own personal recital – a live backing track to my work.  As I write this I have to resort to my ipod – he’s getting ready to weave (honest!)

Nigel practicing for his concert on 15 October

Nigel practicing for his concert on 15 October

Warped thoughts

Warp yarns

After hanging the prints there followed a discussion on how Nigel would progress with his warp.  He was tempted to remove the remains of the previous warp on the loom and start from scratch.  I felt that by tying the warp threads to the existing ones and pulling them through precious time would be saved and the same position be reached quicker.  We also discussed various possibilities for how small samples might be woven across the width of the warp and Nigel’s ideas for including varied colours (probably 5) and fibres.  Nigel has thoughts about changing the straight draw in combination with colours in the warp to create the effect of blocks.

Brigflatts Quaker Meeting House

Brigflatts Quaker Meeting House

At about 6 o clock we took the recording equipment, music and guitars over to Brigflatts Meeting House, where we’d done our recital last Saturday.  We wanted to record some of our programme, and particularly Improving Silence, while all the rehearsing was fresh.  This is mainly for us to have a reference recording but also to provide short bits of Improving Silence that can be available on the web.  I’m new to much of this, not to the singing, but this was my first solo recital and certainly my first experience recording in this way.  It’s very strange to listen back to the recording, odd to hear your own voice in that way and I can’t help noticing elements that need changing: tuning in places and the way I sing certain words.  But that is part of the reason for recording like this.  I need to learn to be my own critic and that will help me to improve.  We have yet to sit down and discuss in a critical way how the concert went.  Nigel and I can each be a critical friend to the other .

Recording complete at about 9 o clock (well not quite complete but the battery ran out in the equipment) we found ourselves a well earned Chinese takeaway.




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