Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Lost Library: Part 3

Meadow Arts supports emerging artists by offering an annual prize to a graduating student from Hereford College of Arts' Fine Art BA (Hons) course. Our 2014 prize winner was Catherine Wynne-Paton, here she writes about her current project, Lost Library.


Part 3
My approach to this project has been one of open consultation with the library and friends group of the library and collaboration with other artists in the production.
So, with the idea of a performance turning text into movement along the route from the library to the festival site, with some kind of mini mobile library as the focus, I began discussions with creatives to see what we might create.
I met with students on the Extended Diploma in Art & Design at Hereford College of Arts, tutored by Darren Williams, to discuss the project and their possible involvement.  Using themes from the book and in particular the presence of gardening throughout the novel, they came upon the idea to source a 1950s wheelbarrow to adapt.  Once college work was completed Jasper Cousins adapted the wheelbarrow to hold a large roll of printed paper (the novel).
Working with music degree student – Mary Tolhurst – who I have asked to write and record a piece of music inspired by the novel which will be played from the Wheelbarrow, mostly to attract attention to the performance.  Mary is interested in the subtle transformative effects of music and how it can influence what we are feeling. 
To be able to use a novel in this way I soon had to contact the publishers to ask permission to use the text in this way, the author’s daughter Merryn Hemp was also consulted and is delighted with the project and thinks it, “A wonderful idea”.  The Library of Wales has given ten copies of the novel towards the project, which are now available to borrow at Abergavenny library.
To highlight the ideas of text to movement and growth (individual growth through reading and other library services), especially with gardening being integral to the way of life of central characters of the book, we’ll be giving away seedlings of plants featured in the novel along with the text, with the obvious connotations of text planting germs of ideas and knowledge in the mind and promoting growth.  A little clich├ęd, perhaps, but still very relevant today and a big part of what libraries and librarians are all about (in my view!  Comments very welcome.)
I am currently growing Little Gem lettuce, Chrysnthemum, Sweet Pea and Snap dragon from seed in my garden, in my neighbour’s greenhouse and the Greenfingers group in Pen-Y-Pound are also having a go in an effort to have enough seedlings in bio pots to give away with the text during the Eisteddfod.


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Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Lost Library: Part 2

Meadow Arts supports emerging artists by offering an annual prize to a graduating student from Hereford College of Arts' Fine Art BA (Hons) course. Our 2014 prize winner was Catherine Wynne-Paton, here she writes about her current project, Lost Library.


Part 2

Initially thinking to turn text into movement through dancers and to take part of the library out of its usual building and into a festival setting in the form of a mobile library. I first referred to this project as the mobile library dance. Next came the long period of contacting various organisations and festivals. So, through months of contacting, explaining my concept, attending meetings, pinging emails back and forth, telephone and Skype conversations I came to have the shape of the performance coming together as it is now.

1916 was the last year the National Eisteddfod was in Abergavenny and so this was too good a chance to miss!

LOST LIBRARY Border Country puts the locally set novel in the limelight by featuring the text in the performance as well as highlighting the book in a short speech I’ve written and given twice so far in the run up to the festival. In the ethos of the Eisteddfod I have also had the speech translated into Welsh so that when the speech is performed it can be performed bilingually!

The book is by Raymond Williams (1921–1988), who was a Welsh academic, novelist and critic; he started writing Border Country in the late 1940’s and completed it in 1958; a railway signalman based in Pandy and his son being the central characters.


Performances are on mornings of 29, 30 July, 2, 3,4,5 and 6 August between Abergavenny Library in Baker Street and the Eisteddfod site at Castle Meadows.
Sponsored by Friends of Abergavenny Library Services and The Library of Wales.

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Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Lost Library: Part 1


Meadow Arts supports emerging artists by offering an annual prize to a graduating student from Hereford College of Arts' Fine Art BA (Hons) course. Our 2014 prize winner was Catherine Wynne-Paton, here she writes about her current project, Lost Library.



Part 1

Q:       What do you get when an artist gets together with a library, a local book and a well-known Welsh festival?

A:        A lost library! 

LOST LIBRARY Border Country – a collaborative performance. 

LOST LIBRARY Border Country is the first phase in a project intending to raise the profile of libraries generally and Abergavenny Library in particular and this part will culminate in performances during the Monmouthshire & District National Eisteddfod.


Writing in The Print Shed's garden
Back in the spring of 2015 I had the notion of ‘bathe in ignorance’ on my mind and it was something I had to respond to – I wondered how I might Bathe in my own ignorance? Naturally (for me) I headed to my local library to find the biggest dictionary they had and chose a few pages to work with and from those pages I noted the words I didn’t understand. This gave me 254 words, which I projected through paper and later black plastic by pricking the words into the material in dot form. I then made the black plastic into a tepee-like tent and, luckily in May we had beautifully strong sunshine and once inside I had the form of the words projected onto me and anything within the tent. In the summer I began painting, acrylic on canvas – the starting point being one of the words, working intuitively. September found me exhibiting my work at a solo show at The Print Shed in Madley (www.theprintshed.net) and as part of the show worked with the grass as my medium, this time using black plastic sheeting to write a few of the words across Jill Barnaby’s garden there. I am currently in the middle of painting all 254 words onto mini calico covered boards, picking words out of a bag.

Abergavenny Library
Around this time, I began thinking about the positive impact libraries have on lives. At times in my life I have used the library a lot, at others, not so much. One way I have used the library – to find unknown words – has fed my curiosity in a way that simply wouldn’t have happened as easily without the library nearby. I wanted to find a way to bring attention to the library, discussions around the reduction of library services often seem so, well, quiet! Not just write about it in a blog, or another article in a newspaper, how could I make the library (and thoughts of libraries closing, opening hours reducing and staffing levels being squeezed) jump off the page and into life? Words and text are a pivot for much of my work and the possibility of turning text into movement has been forefront of my mind throughout this quest focussed on libraries (for their multi-faceted benefit to our society, including financial, which they don’t receive royalties for!)
Performances are on mornings of 29, 30 July, 2, 3,4,5 and 6 August between Abergavenny Library in Baker Street and the Eisteddfod site at Castle Meadows.
Sponsored by Friends of Abergavenny Library Services and The Library of Wales.
twitter & Instagram @wynnepaton