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Wednesday, 11 June 2014

New Collaboration with Halen Mon

I'm on my way!

Plans are laid down; train reservations made… just the small matter of sitting an exam and packing before I set off!

Activity towards my a-n New Collaborations bursary kicks off properly next week with a visit to my collaborators Halen Mon in Anglesey. So far we’ve only been dabbling in ideas via email. They’ve sent me packages of salt and I’ve sent images and tentative ideas in return, but it’s not easy having a long distance relationship with a material and a place. I want to investigate and respond, hence the journey.

The activity of harvesting salt requires (obviously) a coastal location with access to the sea to capture the salt water. I live in Cardiff in South Wales, and Anglesey is an island, north and slightly west of Wales, separated from the mainland by the Menai Straight. Next Tuesday I’ll be embarking on a four hour train ride to get there for my rendezvous with Halen Mon.

It’s hard to know what to expect, other than a glorious location and an extension of the hospitality that’s already in evidence in their emails. And the promise of watching the salt harvest take place has definitely got me intrigued!

The scope of our collaboration has yet to unfold, which means I’m finding it difficult to pinpoint exactly what materials I should bring with me. The usual drawing stuff plus watercolours, obviously, and a camera. For a while I contemplated bringing resin, but I don’t think that’s a very user-friendly thing to bring into someone else’s workspace! Oh, and perhaps wellies (although I have my fingers crossed for sunshine).

Over the last month or so I’ve been playing with the Halen Mon salts and have prepared a number of ideas. These I’ll bring with me, as well as some bits and pieces of my other work which relate to the feel of this project and illustrate my practice. So that’s the visual side covered. But how about the project approach? I need to define this in some way prior to my trip so I don’t feel completely lost or overwhelmed when I arrive at Halen Mon.

So I’ve made a list. It reads as follows (so far):

Collaboration- putting 2 things together so they have a dialogue with one another. Salts and art; artefact and art etc.

Change meaning of object/art by placing in different context. Salt placed within art/art historical context/room.


Measuring time/recording events (crystallisation).

If I’m curious I’m sure other people will be curious about it too. Revealing crystals, chemistry etc.

What is hidden? Store rooms, old stuff?

Contemporary art transforms lived experience into symbolic forms.

How to isolate/choose things to respond to?

Real human stories.

What do I want to get out of it? Make my work relevant to the context.

How do they see my work fitting in?

Clear objectives and outcomes. What will we all get out of it?

It’s all a bit of a brainstorm, but it’s given me food for thought.

I’m planning to update my blog with thoughts, processes and activities as they crystallise (nice!) over the course of the next few weeks.

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