Alison Craig – First AiR in 2014 and returnee in 2016

Stiwdio Maelor Open Day, November 29th. 2014

Slightly by default, I ended up being “artist at work” for the Stiwdio Maelor Open Day yesterday.  I offered to work on a drawing during the open day, mainly because I hadn’t much work to put on the walls.  It worked out well, as it reduced the pressure on the team of helpers painting the walls (one less room to do); got me back into the swing of working after a time away from the studio, gave the visitors something else to look at, and generated quite a bit of interest in its’ own right.  The piece started off as part of the Dyfi Osprey Project/Dovey Junction walking drawing, but – as usual – soon became more to do with the actual process of making, and is probably “about” the Open Day, if its’ about anything.  Thank you very much to Veronica Calarco for allowing me space to make the work, and exhibit it in the window of Stiwdio Maelor.

Stiwdio Maelor – rather late in the day. February 2016

It seems to have taken me a long time to get round to posting anything much about my week in Stiwdio Maelor in January.  It’s fairly obvious that I’m not a natural blogger:  I tend to think in terms of images rather than elegantly phrased comments for publication, and I definitely do not do ArtSpeak.

In practical terms of “stuff” done during my residency, I filled half a sketchbook with daily drawings, paintings and trial prints, jottings and collages.   I made a tiny relief plate (linocut, collagraph) every day, not with any particular finished print in mind, but more for the discipline of Making Something.  I walked every day – although not very far in the pouring rain – drew the walks and collected interesting bits and pieces.  These look suspiciously like the bits and pieces I collected the last time I was in Corris, and very like the stuff lying in my studio at home from the Thomas Pennant project.  This stuff is euphemistically known as “resource material”, but is in fact incipient compost.

I was particularly impressed by the abundance of lichen around Corris, hanging on the trees and knocked onto the ground by the high winds and torrential rain.
My fellow artist-in residence, Dina Hardy, was impressed by the quantities of pure mountain water pouring down the valley – something I had rather taken for granted, especially after such a hideously wet winter.  Rivers in spate rushing through the village, water pouring through the banks and boundary walls, turning footpaths into canals.
At the head of the valley are the old slate workings, with a complicated but derelict system of water management.  The water is clear as gin, the slate debris at the bottom in sharp focus.
My attempts to draw the torrents were washed off the page by the rain, but I have sufficient “visual research” material to keep me going for some time now I’m home. However, apart from working in a fresh environment, the joys of Stiwdio Maelor are many:  meeting new people and old friends, talking about art and life, marvelling at the sense of new energy returning to an old village.
Thanks to all involved in the project, and here’s to the next time.