The first Harp Cottage Residency took place in January 2017: Meadow Arts and artist Justine Cook provided an opportunity for an artist to stay in a cottage near the Welsh border, to allow time for artistic reflection in a rural setting. We will follow the selected artist's practice over the next twelve months to discover what impact the residency has on their work and ideas over time.
Rob Hewitt of Redhawk Logistica shares his diary from the Harp Cottage Residency in a series of entries spanning the week of the residency.
Sunday 22nd Jan 2017
Sad to be leaving here today, but it is isolated and you realise how much of an outsider you are when almost every one in the pub seems to know each other. Another frosty start to the day, but I had a leisurely bath and started packing up my stuff that is spread throughout the cottage. Put a bit of left over bread out for the birds and wondered why I'd not thought to do that before.
I'd like to live more like this in daily life, resting when required, making time for nature and creative pursuits, but it's not real life is it? Realised I need to be regularly working on my art, following my muse, my latest interests and to do that I need a place to work - that is what Harp Cottage offered - as well as much needed R&R (retreat and respite). Despite difficulties 'getting in' to the landscape, it provided amazing quiet at night and the ability to catch fresh air and nurturing sights of nature from the window, in a little known village nestled in a valley most people propel through. Old Radnor, you rule!
I reflect on all the things I didn't do whilst here on my long 'to do' list, due to balancing productivity with resting, that still need to be done, day by day - as part of everyday life. Like the farmer who sees the landscape as an inevitable fact of life, I must see creativity and my flow as a usual part of my everyday life. But how to protect it from daily pressures and the immense hubbub of urban existence? The constant reminder of nature - the flitting Robin in the hedge I am watching now, dodging the female blackbird , to take tiny breadcrumbs. What do I take away from here and what do I leave behind... it is a relief not to be making work directly out of this experience, so I can enjoy it and just be, that is a relief, as the tendency is to go towards subjects, research things, start mining lines of enquiry when confronted by a new place. Perhaps that will emerge, but for now I will keep the experience and memories safe and reflect back with photos and remember you have to find your place wherever you are.
I drive to Presteign to take some recycling on my way home along a lovely old road that snakes along from Old Radnor, it's cold, with misty rain and water vapour filling the valley - it was a staying-in sort of day, so a couple of hours sitting down in the comfort of my car seems a fitting way to end my stay as the daylight slowly fades.