As part of my Flourish residency in The Wild Garden at The Barn, I secured funding from the Visual Artists and Craft Makers Award (VACMA) provided by Aberdeenshire Council and Creative Scotland. It was this funding which enabled me to travel to Edinburgh last week for a set of three 1:1 master classes with artist, Brigid Collins.
At the information event I attended before applying for the funding we were told to think big – to apply for something that would really stretch us as artists to develop our practice.
I had previously been to two of Brigid’s workshops – one in 2013 at The Claremount Gallery in Aberdeen entitled ‘Poem Houses’ and one in 2015 at The Gordon Highlander’s Museum in Aberdeen entitled ‘Book Objects’. Brigid is a multi-disciplinary artist but one element of her work involves combining poetry and art. She creates intricate sculptural art works in response to other people’s poetry which she calls ‘Poem Houses’. (You can find out more about Brigid’s work via her website: www.brigidcollins.co.uk) My work goes the opposite way – I create poems and then develop them further by adding an artistic element to them. At her second workshop we had discussed how much we both enjoy combining these two creative elements and that’s how I knew immediately that she was the artist I wanted to learn more from when I was asked to ‘think big’.
I had three 2 hour master classes with Brigid over three days and additional non-teaching hours in her studio to further play and experiment with what I had learned.
We focused on folded books to begin with and two different types in particular – a ‘Squidgy O’ book and ‘The Massacred Trousers’ book – both excellent poetic names in their own right! After practising how to fold and cut these, we then moved on to considering how to utilise these forms to create a container for my words.
I chose to work with the twenty-three words I have hung around the The Wild Garden as a found poetry prompt for Flourish.
These acrylic words will remain in the garden certainly until the end of June but possibly longer, as a creative writing prompt that anyone can come into the garden and write in response to at any time.
I have two further masterclasses organised with Brigid for later in the year. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to getting into my own studio (a.k.a the dining room table) to work on developing what she has taught me throughout the summer months.