Expansion (after contraction)
Responding to an invitation by artist Dawn Evans
Two great danes in a large house miniaturise us. In altogether more familiar proportions we gather in the garden and are invited to select a prompt from a box.
‘Design a throne‘ says mine.
A throne is for sitting on. I find an apple tree on a lean, curling, mossy, inviting. I decide I wish to be seated in a tree. I walk up its trunk and climb into it’s branches.
I define my throne in the tree with ribbon and string, the seat is already there so I focus on the back rest. The design is impulse, we’ve been given a time limit, so got to go with the first idea (and then the next). No second guessing. The design emerges based on drawing connections between points and creating tension in the thread. Then additional points of tension.
Perhaps it is the ‘Material Imagination’ which gives this combination of tree and thread the definition of ‘throne’.
I survey the garden from my vantage point and at one point sprinkle blue petals like pollen or wet glitter on the trunk – the surface that faces skyward.
Dawn delivers another prompt from the box: ‘Illustrate your wierdness.’
Well that’s easy. I take photographs, balancing in the tree and balancing against the trunk is precarious hands free. I can’t quite frame the weave behind my head.
To illustrate my ‘wierd-ness’, I need assistance. Image (below) by Dawn Evans, colour editing by myself.
Usually, when CAS artists meet, what emerges is a collaborative co-creativity where the artists are in close dialogue with each other through material, and spacial relationships. This time was noticeably different.
Each artist was given independent prompts to explore, the artists (8 of us) fanned out across the garden to find our own space in which to work. From my vantage point in the tree I could see one in the green house, three in the shed, another by the fire.
This scattering of artists may have been a reaction to the ‘contraction’ phase of the exercise where Dawn Evans invited us to sit in rows, on chairs, and fill out a pointlessly invasive form. The form was designed to contrast with the freedom of interpretation later afforded by prompts drawn out of a hat.
The fire is where we gathered to share what we’d been up to, the mystery of other peoples prompts were revealed, and traces of activity shared.