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.
Sat 21st Jan 2017
Went to Presteigne looking for a local market, the long way round due to an errand enroute. A really cold looking girl was selling bread from outside a Curio shop but not a lot else going on. The hedgerows were frosted on my way here and the air is very cold today.
Returned home to eat soup with my hand baked bread and had a look around the Old Radnor Parish Church: it's been the elephant in the room so far, dominating the village but I'd not ventured in and thought I should before I went home. Found an astounding stained and painted glass window inside with wonderful depictions of plants and nature's colours from 1914 to commemorate family deaths in the Great War. Seemed ironic that I'd spent all week here and not known there was an incredible work of art freely available in the building just opposite. Sat in the garden for a bit listening to the birds and lit the fire early for a relaxing day.
Took some photos of artworks I have made and test pieces in the setting of the cottage, in the window recesses, on shelves and different rooms...even in the 'curated cupboard' which I feel I am intruding on in a slightly naughty way. This is a great setting for artworks and there is a tension between the carefully curated domestic setting and bringing in some elements that don't belong in that aesthetic.
Went to the pub for dinner, another first. Had a most delicious mushroom risotto and chatted to a local who told me the footpath on the hill does continue through the quarry and all the machines will grind to a halt if they see you waiting to pass. It was fascinating to see 'older' young farmers sinking a few pints together and then some very young farmers sat on my table and I overheard snippets of conversation about banished family members and incidents involving guns and speculations as to their value (turns out this is one of the most armed areas of the UK). People were bound together by the land and generations of family ties, which seemed so different from the anonymity of the city... I drank my cider down and took the short walk home!