Wednesday 21 May 2014

Writing Time - a creative writing workshop

The time for flexing my dormant creative writing muscles was long overdue. What with elongated and protracted academic manuscripts for my doctoral thesis and a plethora of articles for popular music journals to complete - I had been feeling a little 'dry' and in need of a creative lubricant.

When my partner and inspirational provocateur Rebecca Sharp asked me if I'd like to attend her creative writing workshop I needed no persuasion. To be honest, I've always toyed with idea of creative writing and poetry but have never quite managed to approach it properly; with the obvious exception of songwriting - and so I was really interested to see what would come of this opportunity.

Rebecca's workshop Writing Time combined elements of critical theory (which was fascinating and sparked enthusiastic group debate) with a practical toolkit for story making from 'evocative' found objects and went on to propose lateral ways of thinking about literary creative practice in the context of archaeology and visual semiotics. I was already familiar with the concept of radical geography and now here was a notion of radical archaeology- great!

It was wonderful for me to be able to incorporate a visual aspect into all of this, again finding ways to transcribe one practice onto another and realizing (again) that in the realm of creativity - worlds so often collide and coalesce in beautiful new ways. Okay so beforehand Rebecca had warned me (if that's not too strong a word) that this was really a day about creative writing and not to think of it as a visual art workshop - but in reality I found the two things informed and inspired each other in a naturally cyclical and reciprocal way - that's what a good workshop can help you to see - that there are connections and interchanges to be made on many different levels, and that all signs and signifiers inform the underlying fabric of how we build our perception of the world around us.

And hey, what about the archaeology (apparently you can also spell that word without the second 'a')?
Well, the day also involved a full on visit to an incredible hill fort on the East Lomond hills near Centre for Stewardship on the Falkland estate. The site is thought to be one of huge significance to the ancient powers who presided over this part of the country. At this point I must also thank Joe Fitzpatrick, project leader of the archaeological dig that was happening when we visited. His guided tour of the site left my head spinning from the dense richness of his exposition on all things antiquarian.

To conclude I'll just put a couple of images here, extracted from one of the composited A5 sketchbooks that Rebecca had us construct from layers of specially chosen papers - I like to think of it as a form of 'on the fly' field printing, the images these tools produced are so full of blurry possibilities - a layered stratigraphy of 'almost things' and 'could have beens'.

Seized Latch

At some point in time
I became stuck
Detached - as I am now
I can't remember when or if
the door was closed
or open

#poetry #archaeology #creativewriting #artandarchaeology

Thursday 8 May 2014

Birkhill Art Group and Gallery - B.A.G ²

We are very proud to share here the inaugural exhibition of the newly opened B.A.G² gallery here in Birkhill Estate and it is with great pleasure that we welcome artist Gretchen Blunt to exhibit her collection of massive watercolour paintings and sculptures. The work is entirely site responsive and draws its inspiration entirely from the environs of Birkhill Estate itself where Gretchen spent several months walking and sketching in preparation for this show. No one can deny the arresting impact that these substantial works confront us with.

On the opening night a select invited audience were enchanted, not only by the work on display but also by the impressive space that the new gallery provides for the housing of such huge works, some of which are as much as 6" long and 3" high. As you can see from the photos of the night, we had a very good turn out and many of the attendees promised to be back for our next exhibition - which will be announced in the near future.

As co-director of B.A.G² I must report what a great pleasure it was to host Gretchen Blunt - Field System and also what a pleasure it was to work with such a well established and talented artist. Our gallery staff have been fantastic in supporting the installation of this exhibition and we are very much indebted to their sustained efforts over the last 6 months bringing the finished gallery to fruition.

We do hope you enjoy the small sample of images presented here but please be sure to visit the gallery website for more details about Gretchen Blunt and forthcoming exhibitions. Thank you.

#bookshelfgallery, #microexhibition, #artscenes