Sam Llewellyn-Jones

The opportunity to spend three weeks in residence at Stiwdio Maelor will be very valuable to Sam’s art practice. It will allow him to establish a focused working environment within a rich landscape and create a body of work in response to his stay. A part of his practice is dedicated to the exploration of the human act of building, the use of materials and what it means. he is drawn to the landscapes of the former slate quarrying sites in Wales. He proposes to conduct a large photographic research project around the Snowdonia national park exploring the locations of the quarries in order to learn more about their history and cultural significance, but with space to respond to what he might potentially find.

Despite his surname, he was born and brought up in London, where he still lives and works today. His paternal grandfather however was born in Ffestiniog, the former slate quarrying town at the heart of Snowdonia national park. He recently came across the Welsh word ‘hiraeth’ roughly translated as ‘distance pain’. Having previously never heard of it, it was something that really resonated with him on a personal level. A certain feeling of nostalgia deeply rooted in a place or a landscape. He has never been to Ffestiniog, yet he feels a personal connection with the landscape and has a strong desire to retrace his Grandfathers steps.

He has developed a working method to use when he is away from his darkroom that allows him to make his analogue photographic practice portable whilst still being able to make high quality work. By making contact prints, directly from large format 4×5 and 8×10 inch negatives, he can make work without using a specific large format enlarger and even just a desk lamp. If its possible, he would like to use the darkroom at Stiwdio Maelor for processing the film that he shoot and for making contact prints as he goes along so he can review and reflect on what he’s doing and revisit locations if necessary. Using this method, he would quickly be able to respond directly to my surroundings, creating working prints that also have the potential for future enlargements from the negatives in my own darkroom upon my return to London.

Although this is proposed as a photographic research project, Sam believes it would also be influential on his sculptural practice and so he would potentially like to make some small sculptural works, utilising some of the local slate if its possible in the available time. In terms of the darkroom, he will bring all my own camera gear, film, paper, chemistry and processing equipment so would only need use of the actual darkroom space.