I was so pleased to find the beginnings of several bodies of work on the Mawddach Residency, partially shaped by the rhythms of the environment and also the baggage of life I’d brought with me. It was a joy to spend time sitting and sketching each room, to join in on the Monday Portrait session and Thursday Portrait Club with Draw Brighton, and to be in the excellent company of Jake, fellow artist in residence Gold, and visiting dear friend Michaela.
Early on, I started working on a hand-drawn animation based on a series of images I had of my late grandfather, Frank. In the animation, he flicks through an old photo album looking at images from his past and bringing back memories. I worked on the animation in stages, drawing around 10 images at a time. Between period of drawing, I would go out and take photos and document things as you do when you’re somewhere new. Later in the day, I would flit through the images and they would mix and merge together forming their own type of animation. I enjoyed this flitting between past memories, looking at my grandad, and the present moment of being there on the residency. In some moments, I took a string of photographs and there was continuity, and others were more stand alone and staccato in rhythm.
I also worked on a series of photographs and digital prints over the two weeks. I took pictures of my own body and layered them in print with textures from the environment such as ripples in the water, patterns in the sand, moss on stones, etc. This style of making tended towards a photomontage of sorts, as I printed out disembodied parts at varying scales and stuck them together to make a whole. I also experimented with splicing images together with a view to hopefully one day create a lenticular print, which is all so exciting to test and try!
I’m not sure I can fully encapsulate in words how significant an experience the residency has been. On my journey home from the Mawddach, a cover of an old English folk song called Fare Thee Well from the 18th century came on the radio. It seemed like a perfect farewell to such a special time, so I decided to pair an audio recording of myself singing it with a collection of images from my time on the residency.
Farewell for now, Mawddach!