Sunday, 16 February 2020

thinking about rain and making books as artist in residence at createspace wales

hand made books 

I am returned from Wales.

Many people thought it was a foolish decision to set foot into the country where 'it always rains....'.

I, however, could think of nothing better than two weeks in the countryside, beside the west wales coast, as an artist in residence at Createspace Wales.

If it rained, I would be an artist. If the sun came out, I would go out for a walk with my camera.

I arrived in the land of Ceridigion ( Cardiganshire) and was struck by the many signs in a foreign language. So many consonants, and so few vowels. I wondered what Dim Parcio meant ( no parking- it transpired-  dim if you do.....)

I settled into my palatial studio

createspace wales

Set my typewriter on my dining table
Olympia Splendid typewriter

And went out to look for some rain.

Cardigan, Wales

How wrong all those folk were. How little it rained.

What magnificent cliff top walks I had.

What wild moorland and ancient woodlands I explored.

Coed ty Canol

Ancient oaks at Coed ty Canol

And because of all the pessimists that I encountered before I left home, I kept on thinking about rain.

I found that the Welsh have many words for rain

welsh words for rain

Such beautiful words. So unpronounceable to one ignorant of the language.

Pistyllio - fountain rain.

What does that look like?

raindrops of ink

I played with book structures and inks.

I had no printer , so no choice but to make work without photographs. My choice.

I made a fish bone structure from Hedi Kyle's book The Art of the Fold.

fishbone book structure

I  added typewritten rain words.

and a rain splattered cover

glaw - rain book

I came across a reference to ink and bleach art.

I became and ink and bleach art student, experimenting with different papers and wetness of my inks.

ink and bleach experiments

 I made some ink and bleach rain books.

pistyllio - fountain rain- ink and bleach

ink and bleach on somerset satin 300gsm paper

I made books every day. No prevarication allowed.

My rule for the residency.

crown structure book made with greaseproof paper

And sometimes I got stuck for ideas, so made books about sheep and how to overcome creative block.

the grass is always greener...... 

It turns out that the best cure for creative block is a walk up a windy hill with my camera.

where the wind blows © Caroline Fraser 2020

You will be wondering what I ate in Wales.... it being so remote, and there being no proper shops.

I ate very healthy food from the local superstore.

what I ate

All plastic free.....

Nothing made me happier than seeing startlings mumurating in local fields and on Aberystwyth pier at dusk.

local starlings

Aberystwyth starlings at dusk

When I wasn't thinking about rain words I thought about lichen words. I learned a lot about lichens; there are a significant number of endangered species on the Lichen Red Data List for wales . 

Therein lies a future project.

Who could not fall in love with a lichen named  Strigula Stigmatella var stigmatella

Lichens on rocks. Lichens on trees. I find them very appealing. I see maps and imaginary creatures.

A lady dancing with a duck....

lady dancing with duck

A shy smile....

shy smile lichen

At the end of two weeks I had a collection of small books.

And quite a lot of sticks.

books made at Createspace wales

It is suprising how much can be achieved in the right circumstances.

I am incredibly grateful to the artist Rose Sanderson for allowing me the opportunity to stay at her beautiful residency.

 One day I hope to return.

 For now I need to get back to mopping up the mess from all the suburban rain.......

the ancient trees at Coed ty Canol