In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, I have been one of nine participants selected to take part in The Bothy Project’s Neighbourhood Residencies programme (the link includes podcasts created from online discussions we had as a group).
A part of this involved spending a week in residence at Glencanisp Art Studio, four miles away from home. Unsure what I would be called to “do”, I took everything I enjoy immersing myself in, and savoured the luxury of allowing myself the freedom to engage in what I became drawn toward in a given moment.
A large part of my time involved processing the grief surrounding the recent deaths of my mum and four-legged bestie, Steve the Cat. I also inadvertently ended up exploring what creativity meant to me, as well as spending much time wandering aimlessly and contentedly amongst the natural environment surrounding the studio.
Sharing feels like an important part of this process, and below is a collection of what emerged during the seven days spent in my own company. However, I feel it important to stress that what I actually discovered as the most life-enriching aspect was the process rather than the outcome. By not worrying about or focusing on an end goal, or striving to create something extraordinary, I was able to totally absorb myself in the moment with child-like joy.
It has been an interesting experience putting the following together. There has been an enjoyment in this as a part of the process, but also an awareness that I could have simply erased everything and still felt content after a nourishing, invigorating and restorative week away.
Select from the list below to jump to the relevant section:
Bothy Music Sessions
The space I was resident in for the duration of the week.
I enjoyed watching (and documenting) Spring emerging from the cold clutches of snow and hail at the beginning of the residency, to a rapid increase in temperature and sunshine as the days progressed. I spent a lot of time outside wandering without any destination or goal in mind. It felt wonderful and nourishing.
Sometimes I took the camera out with me too, and rekindled my relationship with photography.
I had a stash of my favourite chai tea, with enough teabags for one each day. Very early on I discovered that the daily message on the teabag label seemed quite apt for how I was feeling or offered a little piece of wisdom to carry me into the day ahead. I took to picking the tea-bag I was drawn to and seeing what my daily message was. I started making artworks inspired by the messages, sometimes using the print of the wet tea bag itself on the paper, to create an initial image I could add to. This became a running theme in the sketch book, amongst other illustrations.
Bothy Music Sessions
Fellow Neighbourhood Bothy Participant Links
Robyn Braham created this insightful and entertaining video about her stay at Inschriach, and used the “Lost Clouds” song as her intro and sign off music, which was a lovely little collab that emerged from our sharing.
More about Robyn’s residency can be found on her website.