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Harp Cottage Diary - Part 1

6th March 2017

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.

Mon 16th Jan 2017

Redhawk Logistica hung a clock in the cottage    Redhawk Logistica brought materials to the cottage

So pleased to leave the city behind...a transition from dense housing, dumped rubbish and bad eventually only my car on a quiet road, surrounded by fields a last, phew, breathe out! After two hours of decompression I found Old Radnor but can't find my bit of paper with final directions and details of how to get in. So I try to open the attachment on my email using my phone via my roaming data... and immediately feel like a typical urban tosser who needs a wifi connection the minute they arrive in a new place, tapping away on their little screen. Remembered where my printed out instructions were and followed them... keep going around the church... and there it is! Got in to find it warm and lovely... very unlike most places I've stayed as an artist.

I am wondering how this will be different from a holiday - spending a rural week away and then returning to the built environment and carrying on. I usually make work very much about a place or a situation - so how can my practice travel with me when it is made in response to place? And what can I take back and it still be relevant when I return? Inside of me is a profound love of the countryside and a deep connection with the city - two sides of the same coin? How would that work? Should they be kept separate? What would I do in a rural setting? I don't know but I am reminded that there are no set outcomes and Justine said just rest if you need to, "that is ok,"... permission to chill!

Can't find a map so I just walk out the door, down the lane and find a footpath over the hill, behind the house. I slowly realise that what is at the centre of this hill is a huge quarry operation - just out of view on the top - I thought I was getting away from 'all that'. Leant up one of my hazard stripe 'calibration' pieces by the front door when I got back and hung up a self-curated dodgy clock that happened to be in the car, and lay down a tarp on the flagstones to create an area to prime and paint a few bits of scrap wood I brought along.

Now I can relax, light the log burner, make a cup of tea, kick back. Saw a kestrel outside the cottage when I was sitting on the bench by the church after my walk - it hung in the air for a few moments before slipping away, that seemed like a good omen for Redhawk to be at Harp Cottage.

Hazard stripe 'calibration' piece by the door.