END OF RESIDENCY REFLECTIONS
At the end of the residency I noted my own reflections on my time and what I had discovered about myself:
My identity feels secure. In some ways I often feel it stronger than ever. My Identity of being from Aberdeenshire, and my connections to the land of this place through both sides of my family, is something I feel really strongly. Travelling through these landscapes that have been so familiar over the years, passing my grandparents house and showing it to my new friends was emotive. I felt like I was seeing it all fresh, from an outsider’s eyes, which then magnified the connection and sense of pride I have to be from here.
Although our cultures are very different, we have many parallels running through the narratives of our identities. We want to tell a story that celebrates these differences and mutual passions.
Collaboration is based on a human connection. It is about respecting each other, sharing and being open to ideas, playing to strengths but pushing each other to try new things, and allowing a combination of thought.
Sustainability for me means creating something with longevity, having a responsible appreciation of process and respect within the choice of materials. It means minimising waste and maximising reuse, repair and recycling. It also involves a consideration for the people involved in the process – ensuring a fair wage is being paid for expertise, that voices are heard and represented. The idea of circular economy greatly interests me – not in an insular way or to the detriment or being open to new ideas, or processes, or advancement, but in terms of using local wherever possible and a focus on sharing provenance and promoting the story outward.
I also sense it strongly in terms of sustaining a way of life, or sustaining a community. I know that my grandparents, and mothers, life existed because grouse shooting and moorland management is an integral part of the culture, identity and history of their community.
THE COLLABORATING PROCESS
By the time we left Braemar I had made firm friendships and had started to approach my work with these renewed perspectives. However, moving apart, and working to collaborate remotely brought me new challenges. While we had lived and worked together with reasonable ease during the residency time facilitated by our lovely translator…., we now had to find ways to share thoughts and ideas across different continents, languages and timezones. We had quickly realised that trying to physically collaborate on a finished piece would be very difficult for our team, therefore set ourselves the brief of creating a triptych of pieces that could work together to tell our stories in a final setting. We had spent time during the residency dying yarns with local natural dyes so spoke of ways naturally dyed yarns could be incorporated into our pieces, and use the consistent across our cultures shades of yellow.
Yarn we naturally dyed during the residency. Starting work on my motifs. Kate instructing Sol in knitting with an example of Sol's weaving in shot.
We have since shared images and thoughts of motifs and emblems that represent our heritage identities that we will each incorporate into our works, telling the story of our parallel cultures. We are each working on pieces individually over this time, developing them within the confines of our own practices, but checking in, and feeding back.
Some examples of my work in progress - Screen Printing, Embroidery, Weaving, Sashiko.
Personally I started out with familiar techniques, creating motifs to create screen printed textiles, but I’ve now started to explore different techniques in the hope of combining them with my familiar ones. I have created simple weavings, started to explore textile repair and mending techniques, and practised my existing embroidery techniques. My hope is that these can be combined, to reflect each of our textile making paths into my own final piece of our triptych. There is still a lot I want to do, but I’m excited to continue to test, sample and explore, pushing myself out of my normal comfort zone to create something meaningful and representative of us as a collaborative trio.