Time travel! I just found this unpublished post from last September and thought I would share it anyway since the day signified the beginning of a path that I am now treading.
Travelled with another’s music in my ears and warmth at my side. Transition.
I always enjoy listening to music that someone else has chosen, all the pressure of choice is taken away leaving only the enjoyment.
This was my first trip to Kestle Barton although some of the other students had been before. We arrived on foot as the driver of the small coach refused to take us all the way down the road. Walking through the green leafy tunnel of a lane was hardly a hardship though. The bands of differing soil layers fascinated me -the steep banks confusingly looked newly channeled through the earth, although the illusion was broken by the various plants that had colonised the layer that suited their appetite.
We saw work by Anthony Bryant and Kaori Homma. Bryant has turned vessels from green wood, some of which was oak from the estate. By using an entire section of the tree, Bryant shows the heartwood to be traveling as if through the vessel. As the green wood shrinks back, the heartwood remains, denser and more prominent than the surrounding soft wood, distorting the regularity of the form. The walls of the vessels are remarkably thin and even. They must have sung on the lathe. Bryant also used some Holly wood which was pale in comparison to the oak. When we had the chance to handle a damaged piece, i was amazed by how light it seemed and that the relationship to paper can be felt in the hands. The forms invite touch and once contact is made there is a strong desire to explore the curves, feeling how the prominences fit to the palm of the hand.
Homma’s work uses the traditional Japanese technique of Aburidashi, producing work influenced by the landscape of Kestle Barton. The site itself is fifty acres. Homma makes her marks with acid on paper, then heats the paper over a fire to reveal the image. I remember this being a technique for sending secret messages when I was younger and the thrill of watching the writing emerge. Viewed from afar I found Homma’s images to be leafy and serene, almost like a screened window. Closer viewing somehow revealed a darker side, I saw threatening branches and body parts.
We spent most of our time outside, beginning with an introductory talk. The gallery used to be a working farm that was split two generations ago, leaving each half unviable. The buildings, including the old farmhouse have been superbly developed by the owner in conjunction with the conservation architect Alison Bunning and there was as much to enjoy about the building itself as the contents. It all makes a beautiful sense, from the cob to the galvanised guttering. Three buildings are used as holiday lets and the majority of the land let for grazing, allowing the ‘other’ half of the farm to become viable once again and giving the gallery financial independence. The owner is motivated by the desire to preserve the farm itself, supporting the arts in the process.
I was given permission to dowse in the meadow, where I found an energy line cutting across the top corner. I must look this up and see if it is possibly part of the Mary line. There was such a good feel to the place, augmented by a happy dog and working gardener. I collected some cups of mud which I hope to provide the beginning of my response to the day.