Friday, 22 June 2007

first meet diary

this is the complete version of entry for same date on lifechangetodreamspace. Text in orange is what you will see there.

Diary of first ‘life change to dream space’

Part 1 of the journey

The buddleia flowers,
leaves tipped silver by the breeze
girl in pink runs her thumb over the window
whistling, aimlessly.
Another child stands, stretching a finger,
drawing over half the large window.

I suspect you could have
a fog centred holiday
this week
in west wales
rather than sunsets through scraper canyons.

Rosebay rosebay rosebay willow herb
thrashing pink
you’re just trying to make me happy

I’m not happy.
It’s all knives and forks to me
with delicate lace work.

Part 2 of the journey

Some fields in Wiltshire still have red puddles of poppies.
The lad behind me talks of playing poker until 4 a.m. this morning (I think he won £28). And one of their number turns out to have been a professional poker player for 6 months, including 2 months in vegas.

I have seen giant hogweed.


Leicester Square tube
Sort of natural but I knew it wasn’t someone coming up/down the escalators as the volume never changed. Then there he was: a blind man in a white t-shirt, his official busker id around his neck, whistling. White stick stood in a buff washing up bowl for change.
The whistling was lovely, it made me smile, one of the best busking experiences I’ve had (perhaps second to the Quebecois folk singer in Montreal). I could still hear it on the platform. No instruments no amplification.
Muddy puddle ducklings.
Back seizes up mid tube change, grind to a halt.
I know I’m in a different country, people still smoking in pubs. Yuk!

Part 3 of the journey

The last sunset before the planet tilts back towards winter.

How many old camper vans, and assorted vehicles are going down the motorway towards Somerset filled with people, wellington boots and tents?

So many horse lorries??? I see a sign for an international polo match between England and New Zealand..that’s not that many horses…..
(later I realise Ascot is on, and I remember last year at Waterloo station many hats, not that I want remember, cold hurt, go away)

Part 4 of the journey

Joy Division.

Wandering through Wednesdays conversations:
How much body is personality and how much personality is body? I am agreed that I probably had to be ill to stop (my mother does that but far more dramatically, and then doesn’t really stop). Ballet training certainly gives a rigid discipline of overcoming body and making it look effortless, with a smile. Did my personality enable me to continue, until body said no, or did the learnt discipline add something to my personality? I am a migraine personality type; but that is because my seretonin swings – but that’s body…or is it? Is my personality the how of dealing with the highs and lows (definitely lows for sometime)?

Self-esteem: the mental health assessment people thought a self-esteem course would be most beneficial, but there isn’t funding anymore. But I got to do cognitive behavioural group therapy. It was realistic, but I was probably more academically interested in it…. I was sent a DIY book on self-esteem. I can’t do it, I get so angry I am liable to hurt something.

But I can look at some of my work and recognise something of value in it … something useful??? Yet I can’t put myself out into the world with it, I freeze. Well I can’t put myself out into the world some days! Also on a practical level I am on long term sick, I need to go and see the jobcentre, as one is allowed to do some work, but I’d probably have to contact the council as they would want to remove my housing benefit pound for pound…. And how can I be well? Not how can I get cured but how does one do it, live it? It is terrifying, I don’t feel capable, although I know I am viewing this from a viewpoint of not being able to support myself.

NOTHING on dream spaces…..

But things are pretty awful at the moment, so it’s not surprising I am not going to a dream space (unless involuntarily at sleep). I am about to take a huge challenge and sing in a choir ... I don’t sing, though I did once, for a performance, up a tree; maybe I can only sing up trees.

I arrive back at my parents where I spend some time (where my studio is/was) to find Les, our family friend who has lived with us since I was 5, so much worse. Death really hangs in the air, one can no longer pretend.

Water is good because it supports. Cold water is good for a quick hurtle around …or slipping into briefly, gently … Dancing in the water (not cold) is like flying, a bit, also there isn’t the vertical emphasis (though I do do a lot of movement on the floor these days)

Saturday, 16 June 2007

reconcile I & II at ointment I

link to appropriate page on main archive

The Mabinogion and Alan Garner'sThe Owl Service

'I read that,' said Alison.
'The whole story?' said Gwyn.
'I think so.'
'Here, look at these. Is it all the same story?'
Alison read the other pieces.
'Yes: that's it.'
'What's it about? What happened?' said Gwyn.
'Wait a minute,' said Alison. 'There was a wizard, or something. I forget his name, and he made a woman out of flowers, and she married this Clue Claw Somebody.'
'Llew Llaw Gyffes,' said Gwyn.
'Yes: well then she fell in love with a man called Gronw: Gronw Pebyr. And he decided to kill Clue.'
'Never mind,' said Gwyn. 'Go on.'
'This is a complicated bit: all magic,' said Alison. 'But Gronw threw a spear from a hill when Clue was standing by a river and killed him. But Clue wasn't really dead. He turned into an eagle, and the wizard found him and turned him back again. The wizard was his father, or uncle: I'm not sure. Then Clue and Gronw changed places, Clue threw the spear this time, and Gronw was killed. That's the end of the story.'
'There's a stone by the river here called the Stone of Gronw,' said Gwyn. 'There's a hole in it.'
'Which means we're right where all this Ku Klux Klan is supposed to have happened, as Professor Halfbacon claims,' said Roger. 'Very interesting.'
'Them plates,' said Gwyn. 'What happened to the wife?'
'Oh yes,' said Alison. 'The wizard said he wouldn't kill her; he'd do worse than that. So he turned her into an owl.'
'She wants to be flowers, but you make her owls. You must not complain, then, if she goes hunting.'

From 'The Owl Service' by Alan Garner - winner of both the Guardian Award and the Carnegie Medal - first published: 1967 by William Collins Sons & Ltd.

...And Math said, 'Let us use our magic and enchantments to conjure up a woman out of flowers.' ... Math and Gwydyon took the flowers of oak and broom and meadowsweet and from these conjured up the loveliest and most beautiful girl anyone had seen; they baptised her with the form of baptism that was used then, and named her Blodeuedd. [Blodeu: flowers.]
Gwydyon overtook her and said, 'I will not kill you, but I will do what is worse: I will let you go in the form of a bird. Because of the shame you have brought on Lleu Skilful Hand, you are never to show your face to the light of day, rather you shall fear other birds; they will be hostile to you, and it will be their nature to maul and molest you wherever they may find you.
Goronwy the Staunch set out for Penllyn, from where he sent messengers to ask Lleu Skilful Hand if he would accept land or territory or gold or silver for the injury. 'I swear by my confession to God, I will not,' said Lleu. 'He must come to where I was when he cast the spear at me, while I am standing where he was, and must let me throw a spear at him. That is the least I will accept.' ...
... The two men went to the bank of Avon Gynvael; Goronwy stood where Lleu had been when the spear was thrown, and Lleu where Goronwy had been. But Goronwy went to Lleu and said, 'Lord, since it was through a woman's bad influence that I struck you, I beg this of you in God's name. I see a stone by the river bank - let me put that between myself and the blow.' 'God knows I will not refuse you that,' said Lleu. 'God reward you,' said Goronwy, and he took up the stone and put it between himself and the blow. Then Lleu threw the spear and pierced both the stone and Goronwy; Goronwy's back was broken and he was killed. The stone still stands on the banks of Avon Gynvael in Ardudwy, with the spear through it, and so it is called Llech Oronwy.

From 'The Mabinogion' - translated and with an introduction by Jeffrey Gantz - first published: 1976 by Penguin Books.

She was made from flowers for a man; while watching a stag hunt she fell in love with another. With her new lover she tried to kill her husband. They failed; her punishment was to be turned into an owl. The owl was seen as a creature of the night, shunned by other birds and a foreteller of death.
She may want sometimes to be flowers not owls, but she is both. She and others need to come to terms with her being both. The night is not bad, just dark.

"And the room was full of petals from skylight and rafters, and all about them a fragrance, and petals, flowers falling, broom, meadowsweet, falling, flowers of the oak."

ointment website: events


In the Spring of 2003 Crwydro/Wander brought together 9 artists from Wales and artist-run centre Boreal Art/Nature in Quebec for a period of process-led expedition and exchange in the evocative landscapes of the Preseli hills West Wales.
Based in a residential centre in Tycanol, an ancient sessile oak woodland in the foothills of the Preselis, the artists wove a tapestry of exploration, the landscape itself functioning as the primary site and motivation for a rhythmical day and night pursuit of process and perambulation.

Our Funders: Crwydro was made possible with the generous support of Wales Arts International,Wales Arts Council
, and the Conseil des Arts et des lettres du Québec.
Project devised by Simon Whitehead

link to related page on main archive

Crwydro website

Friday, 15 June 2007


ELI (salve) prosiect ointment projects 2005

Over the last 4 years ointment have initiated a number of public arts projects exploring the relationships between nature and culture in the rural, both here in west Wales and Internationally.

Spanning the seasons between summer 2004 and spring 2005, five artists listen, discover, question and soothe through the ELI (salve) project. In the following live art events they invite the public to participate in a series of walks to find extraordinary herbs in ordinary places and to join with them in making ointment. Pots of real ointment will be produced and given away, but the main aim of this project is symbolic: the ointment itself serving as a medicinal balm for the collective skin of a community and as a botanic and cultural map of particular geographies of west Wales.

Yn ystod y pedair blynedd olaf mae ointment wedi mentro ar nifer o brosiectau’r celfyddydau cyhoeddus gan archwilio I mewn I’r berthynas rhwng nature a diwylliant gwledig yma yng ngorllewin Cymru ac yn rhyngwladol. Drwy ymestyn dros dymhorau haf 2004 a gwanwyn 2005, mae pum artist yn gwando, yn darganfod, yn cwestiynu ac yn esmwythio yn prosiect ELI (salve). Yn y digwyddiadau celfyddyd rhyngddisgyblaethol canlynol meant yn eich gwahodd I gyfranogi mewn cyfres o deithiau I ddarganfod llysiau anarferol mewn safleoedd cyffredin, ac I ymuno â hwy I gynhyrchu’r eli. Cynhyrchir potiau o eli go iawn a’u dosbarthu, er bod prif amcan y broses hon yn y symbolaidd. Mae’r eli ei hun yn falm-olew ar gyfer croen y gymuned gyfan, ac yn gweithredu fel map botaneg a diwylliedig o safleoedd penodol yng ngorllewin Cymru

"Today artists heal, sell, teach, build, cook, dance, document, perform, recite, preach, and more. But if art’s activities overlap with all these non-art professions, what distinguishes its mission as art? " Linda Weintraub (Making Contemporary Art – How Today’s Artists Think And Work)

Monday 30 May. The Botanic Gardens of Wales, Carmarthenshire. 11.30am, 2pm & 4pm.
Saturday 4 June. St Thomas’ Old School Hall, David Street. St Dogmaels.Pembrokeshire. 2pm & 7pm.Saturday 11 June. Preseli hills. Pembrokeshire.

ointment artists: Peter Bodenham, Stefhan Caddick, Maura Hazelden, Stirling Steward, Simon Whitehead.

link here to main archive pages

artist's statement & CV

Artists statement
My main preoccupations are with the body, the domestic [4.00p.m. tea, a properly set table, a place for everything and everything in its place; her socks always came up to her knees; the cups and saucers should never be stacked; her handwriting was so neat; white and pale collars and cuffs should always be folded in white tissue; why can’t you be more like her?] and the land, place; space; memory and perception. embodiment, possible flight, the feminine, touch, the fold, textile, fragmentation, typography, presence/absence. Seeking the sensual; investigating the subliminal; the liminal. From order to evanescence: solid to vapour: experience to memory.

Material matters: images, sound, words, books, images, video, performance, installation – sometimes all together; inside; outside: time based work.

Check that your hair is neat under your hat; that your coat lies smoothly over your wings; no-one will know what lies underneath.

I have experience of art education including in galleries, work in schools and have taught textiles and fashion contextual studies (HND/B.A 1st year)

I originally trained as a dancer, then went to art college to work on surface pattern and illustration (Caerdydd 1985). I took on commissions in design, textiles and costumes for dance. Since then I’ve been back twice for art and design: HND multidisciplinary computer application (West Wales School of the Arts) and BA fine art: performance and photovisual (UWIC, Caerdydd, 1999), and also gained a PGCE in post compulsory education.

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