Friday, 30 March 2012

The Walker's Companion: The Ramblers Association

8 Tips For Wild Country Camping (p.85)

  • In England and Wales wild camping is not legal without the landowner's permission. In Scotland, follow the code issued by the Mountaineering Council for Scotland.
  • Look for a sheltered site, and try to find a flat, stoneless spot.
  • Don't camp in a hollow, or too close to a swollen river and make sure you face your tent away from the prevailing wind. 
  • Organise the inside of the tent for a quick exit in case of emergencies.
  • Don't cook inside the tent.
  • Leave wet clothes to dry in the tent porch. 
  • Site your 'toilet' at least 100 metres away from water.
  • Always leave the campsite as you found it.  

The Big Adventure: My One Man Tent

My one man tent for our Big Adventure on the Gower arrived yesterday....I was amazed at how tiny and light it is when packed up, I was intrigued to know if it really was a tent inside such a small, this afternoon, in the sunshine I put it up and tried it out which was very exciting! It was perfect and only took 5minutes to put up. It even has its own repair kit....I'm so easily pleased! I wanted to pack up my ruck sack and get walking instantly so that I could put the tent up for a night of wild camping!!! Patience! A little more preparation is needed....just a little.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

21882 Steps Of Sunshine And 2 Moments Of Inspiration

0 Steps
The contextual map keeps growing....the ideas keep coming.....but there is much more to do and I need to write an much as I tried the words wouldn't I packed a banana, a drink, a pencil and note pad, left the house, entered the sunshine and walked.....

6524 Steps
Moment 1
For this project I have explored and started to realise the philosophy of my practice.
My work is my process of finding my place within this world, this life. Not a physical place but a place of 'being' that feels right for me. This is a place where I can externalise who and what I want to be and act upon those notions to create a reality where I put into being who I am.
I have battled with inner feelings and ideas of the world I am in, my heart telling me one thing, my head
another and then the world something else and this has caused an ongoing cycle of self-doubt, self-hatred and self-destructive behaviors.
The more I read about the philosophy of others, their ideas and inspirations, I am finding many that put a voice to what I feel in my heart. What I feel is being felt by others and have been for a long time. I am learning that to listen to my heart and to follow what it tells me is not just the best thing for me but for every other living thing in our 'world'.
Life is not what we think it is and it can be very different if we want it to be. There is nothing wrong with doubting what we are told is meant to be 'normal' and there is nothing wrong with feeling that somehow we are getting things a wrong and this 'life' we are creating is not how you want your life to be...for you this is not normal, there needs to be change, in fact you can feel a change coming. Feel what is right in your heart and go with it. Have faith in your feelings, they are telling you something and it will be in your best interest....they are not trying to trick you!

13103 steps
Moment 2
By being creative with the essence of myself, as part of the essence of the whole this can only be in the best interest of the whole, thus creating only that which is in the best interest of the individual parts. When creativity is from your truth it has been inspired, realised in-spirit.
My process of getting to this place of realisation and inspiration involves my physical connection with the landscape. My ideas come to me whilst feeling the warmth of the sun, the wind on my skin and the ground beneath my feet. Something inside me opens up and it comes flooding out. The haptic experience, the freedom and space the landscape offers me to just 'be' enables me to obtain these ideas and notions. The process of creation becomes quicker and clearer. Creativity becomes natural, moving and flowing in many directions, uninterrupted by prejudices, social restraints, the expectations of others or dull, unhappy voices that say that such notions of a utopia are unrealistic notions of fantasy.................

Anyway, some other moments along my journey.....

2263 Steps

3642 Steps

10401 Steps

The Walker's Companion: The Ramblers Association

Walking Words (p17)

'Travel does not merely broaden the mind. It makes the mind. Our early explorations are raw materials of our intelligence....Children need paths to explore, to take bearings on the earth in which they live, as a navigator takes the bearings on familiar landmarks. If we excavate the memories of childhood, we remember the paths first, things and people second- paths down the garden, the way to school, the way round the house, corridors through the bracken or long grass. Tracking the paths of animals was the first and most important element in the education of early man.'

(With Chatwin: Portrait of a Writer, Susannah Clapp)

When reading this I felt there was a strong resonance with a previous post of mine What Feels Real To Me
I spent many hours as a child creating and looking for paths that established my place in this world and those of my imagination, which were just as real.....and I am still doing this as an adult.....we all are in one way or another.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The Promise of Adventure Update

Today we looked at the map of Gower and decided where our off site adventure is to take place! I've had the map for a few weeks but resisted the temptation to have a look, I felt that we, Jess, Didge and myself should look was that day and it was worth waiting for....

Cefn Bryn looks perfect!

....wild camping....cairns....castles to explore.....a couple of miles from the coast, we intend to go swimming (brrrr!).....and lots of lovely space....freedom.....more space......heaven!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Walker's Companion: The Ramblers Association

Ten Sure Signs You're A Walking Nut (p.116)

1. You have seven pairs of knee-length woollen socks of which two come in sunset red.
2. You can prepare a cheese and tomato sandwich with just one hand.
3. You wear a bobble hat, but only as a post-modern statement.
4. You tie plastic bags around your boots when you enter a pub.
5. You swap blister stories like an army veteran.
6. You don't just know that dock cures nettle stings, you actually know what dock looks like.
7. You an tell the difference between a chiffchaff and a willow warbler without even hearing them sing.
8. You paper your walls with old OS maps.
9. You once considered buying mini windscreen wipers for your glasses.
10. You know you're obsessed, but as walking is truly the greatest pleasure on the earth, then so what.

....I can say yes to just two of these things long woollen socks, far too thick for walking in, though I do like the idea of red socks, I don't eat sandwiches, a banana will do me
....I do usually have a hat of some sort, maybe I should invest in a 'bobble'?
....I'll take the mud in with me, sorry
....I don't get blisters, touch wood
....yes, I've known about the soothing sap of dock leaves since childhood, having spent many hours exploring, encounters with stinging nettles were inevitable and frequent
....I'd rather have the OS map with me than on my wall, makes more sense really
....I don't wear glasses
....and yes I am probably a little obsessed, another inevitability, its part of my nature :-)

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Finding My Place: Mapping A Journey Of 8 Hours, 41,300 Steps, Approximately 41km/25m

1473 Steps

5424 Steps
Halzephron Cliffs
Gunwalloe Beach
Peaceful solitude

6591 Steps
From here I look to where I am going
The land hidden behind the haze
A vague glimmer of shimmering rocks shine through
A glimpse of whats to come

7619 Steps
Loe Bar
The sea on one side
The Pool on the other
A favourite place
Yet stirs up a moment of sadness

8910 Steps
Sounds of the sea
A music that transports to other worlds
Places of daydreams and muses
A sound of thunder that warns yet entices
The sound of nature that sooths even the coldest of hearts
A wave that transcends our essence to a place of remembrance
A place of truth

9767 Steps
Civilisation to contend with soon, but briefly

10965 Steps

12277 Steps

12437 Steps
The strange things that bring a smile to my face
The images that are conjured up in my imagination

12502 Steps
Rainbows in the sea spray

13057 Steps
A quick stop
A banana
A drink
The persistent flow of waves
More sea spray rainbows
Abandoned engine houses in the distance
The hazy horizon

13274 Steps
The warmth of the sun
The comforting sound of bird song
The joy of movement

13809 Steps
A place untouched
Smooth, sleek and shiny
Not a foot print in sight

14165 Steps
A steep narrow path

15115 Steps

15487 Steps
A moment to stop
To look back on the trodden path so far
To smell the grass
To feel the wind
Listen to what the sea has to say
To see the gorse, feel its yellow
To feel my roots intertwine with the world around me

15541 Steps
A splash of purple
Easily missed
I love purple

15834 Steps
The pleasure taken from the view of a zig-zag path
The aesthetic contrast of the angular, ordered pattern in the rugged beauty if the land?

16307 Steps
From the bottom of the zig-zag

16594 Steps
The top of the zig-zag
Slightly breathless
Very happy

16869 Steps
Trewavas Cliff
A place of strong wind
And for climbers to play

17224 Steps
Up close to the once distant engine houses

18628 Steps
A path of gorse
The smell of sunshine

19097 Steps
Rinsey Cliffs
Childhood memories
A house on the cliff edge
Full of mystery and fear
Never ventured in, always at a distance
But a place where my imagination roamed
A path well trodden during my 38 years
Full of feeling and familiar smells

19577 Steps
Lesceave Cliffs
Coconut gorse
The hotel on the hill
Memories of adventures
Freedom and exclusion
A warmth on my back
The sun sooths and comforts

20290 Steps
Half Way
Stomach rumbling
Time to sit
A much loved beach
Giant egg shaped stones
Feet ache
My face and eyes smile
This is where I belong
In this space
A space that can be in many places
In this space of being
Food and tea
I soak up the sun
My shoes come off
....I wonder
Why the need to measure?
Steps, distance, time....
Why map?
Is it to create meaning?
We always need meaning, a purpose
I map and create a meaning to my being
Is this our meaning, just being?
Being gives us meaning
When we lose sight of who we are
We stop being and lose meaning
We start doing
We try hard
The harder we try, the further away from being we become
So then we start needing
Needing stuff, needing others
We think that by having we are being
But we are not
When we BE, we don't NEED anything
What a wonderful place to BE....
Fed and watered
Time to move
Time to turn around
The journey back
A change of shoes
12 noon
The sea now to my right
The sun now in my face

22387 Steps
The space where physical exertion takes me
The space of calm and belonging
A space of strength and the fluid movement of the body, soul and mind
Where aches and pains no longer matter
My perfect condition
My perfect place
I experience therefore I am

23610 Steps
Back past Trewavas Cliff

23861 Steps
A beautiful red ladybird

23610 Steps
The top of the zig-zag

Earlier, quiet and people free
Now full of walkers enjoying the freedom
They too search

24205 Steps
The bottom of the zig-zag

24462 Steps

25379 Steps
A quick stop
Somewhere sheltered and quiet
A plaster needed
A hot spot on a hot foot
A place of  harsh rocks
Rock pools
And bliss
A place where not many will venture
A little piece of heaven

25850 Steps
A very hairy caterpillar

26414 Steps
A slow worm sunning itself
Sleek, silent and elegant

28403 Steps
Porthleven again
Big waves and surfers
The underlying reluctance of having to come into contact with people
Even at a distance

28929 Steps
Diving seagulls
The smell of chips

29648 Steps
The pier, finally
It seemed an age making my way through the thickness we create

30481 Steps
The sea churns, thunders, froths and caresses
It is truly magnificent
Its energy infinite
Its purpose set in stone
Confident and sure of its meaning
It moves with a strong grace
Its strength ever present
No matter how vocal
We too have this infinite purpose
We are part of the beauty and strength we feel in the sea
We too could soar with the wind and ride with waves
In those moments of awareness

31356 Steps
Church Cove 3 3/4 miles away

32610 Steps
Loe Bar
The wind has picked up
It rushes across the exposed Bar chilling my warm skin
I retrace my path along the beach
Out of the thousands of prints, which ones are mine?

34316 Steps
A tide line that never ceases to enchant me
Its shape forever changing

35700 Steps
An encounter with some arrogant, rude walkers
A rare occurrence

36405 Steps
Halzephron Cliffs again
Head down, push on
Not far to go

38843 Steps
Church Cove again

40189 Steps
The fragrance of daffodils
The flat, unforgiving concrete

41300 Steps
My back door
My home
The end of this journey
Whispering thoughts of the next one

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

What Feels Real To Me

Why does the experience of my physical body moving through the landscape inspire me to create? Where does this need, this craving to roam through fields and across the cliff tops come from?

As a young child I was lucky enough to have lived in the countryside. I was able to roam and explore to my hearts content. I loved to read and my favorite book was Alice in Wonderland. And this is who I imagined I was, I was an Alice exploring a reality that became 'curiouser and curiouser'!

Our memories are selective and what few I have are mostly of the time I used to spend outdoors. A young child's imagination is unrestrained and colourful and it was in this reality of fantasy, along with the space and solitude of the landscape where I spent many hours. I could be anything I wanted to be, a lost princess in search of her castle, a witch collecting special ingredients for her potions or Robinson Crusoe building a camp on his island.
Being in the landscape helped me establish and reinforce these places of fantasy, they became more than just images in my mind, they became a tactile reality which added to the depth of my envisioned worlds, making them more real and closer to being possible.

As I roamed through the physical landscape and the created landscape in my mind in unison, my body too became part of the story. I wasn't just seeing these places in my mind, I was actually feeling their physicality. There was that excitement of anticipated adventure and the unknown challenges ahead. The mixture of thrill and fear of having to climb tall rocks, descend slippery banks and cross deep, freezing cold rivers. There was the pain of contact with brambles and stinging nettles, scratched legs and arms, the realisation and panic of being too far up a tree and not being able to get down. And always in the background the sounds, smells and textures of the landscape and the natural movement of my body through it and with it. As children playing we do not think about how wet and muddy we may be or what time it is. And nor should we. I had the freedom to just feel and be what I wanted to feel and be, so I did. This place gave me the space to be as creative as I wanted to be.

So as an adult now in search of that place where creativity comes from, as I dig deeper, I find myself rediscovering that child that loved to be moving in and being part of the land outdoors and that loved the peace, solitude and freedom it offered. I still roam and explore. In search of that adventure, in search of those connections that inspire creativity, seeking realities that are far more real and close to the heart of who I am and what feels real to me.  

Monday, 12 March 2012

Call Two: A Publicaton

You are being asked to produce a new work or submit work for a group
publication that will be published the week commencing 26th of March.

The publication will be titled: “Hand held: portable, compact translation.”

You should consider how to make or adapt your work to fit an A5 printed
page, this WILL NOT simply be a smaller version of existing work but a rearticulation
of your existing practice.

Like many men and women in today’s society I have hang ups about my body. The ‘powers that be’, once the church of religion and now the church of consumerism/media/fashion industry etc, through years of manipulation have managed to instil into us a shame of our bodies. From being ‘born in sin’ and having to be covered up to stop us from being tempted to ‘sin’ even more, to now having to look and be adorned in the right way to be accepted within society and you have to be accepted and do what is considered normal otherwise there is something ‘wrong’ with you.

Ultimately, acceptance only needs to come from one place, from within. 

We are constantly battling, whether you are aware of it or not, with these outside influences of manipulation (the illusion of this reality we exist in constantly being reinforced) and our inner nature to want to just be ourselves and to be accepted for who and what we are.

Consequently we become confused about who and what we are and lose that connection with our true self.

I believe that to be able to be truly creative and honest in our work as artists we need to be in touch with our true selves, this is where insight and inspiration grows from.

It has taken me 38 years to get to this point of allowing myself to find out who and what I am and to start accepting it. Until I do this, the battle within will continue and there will never be a true inner calm and sense of place and self.

I have spent 25 years battling with my body. I have never felt comfortable ‘being’ in it/of it, I feel restricted and trapped. Yet, ironically, it is my tool to feel the freedom and space that can bring inner calm when needed.

I move and use my body to become more aware of its physicality to gain a connection with a part of myself that is ‘out’ of my physical experience.

Usually I map my perception and experience of my body and the inspiration that comes through using my body in the landscape through words and print.

For this Call I would like to map my relationship with my body directly onto it with writing. An acknowledgement and celebration of a part of me that contributes to my creativity and my perception of who and what I am. 

This is a performance piece that will be documented through photography.

The piece of work to be submitted for the publication will be an A5 image of one/multiple images from the performance.

Round Reservoir Walk

Saturday, 10 March 2012

An Ocean Of Many

The sun shines, beckons and teases me
I run around trying to get jobs done so that I can join him
So that I can go out to play
I need to feel the warmth and the air brush over my frowning brow
To smooth away the tension
A teary conversation with a heart broken loved-one
Brings home how 300 miles may as well be 3000 miles at times
The want to hold and hug, to ease the pain can only be voiced
Hopefully this is sufficient
Distracted, unable to focus
Indoor jobs are left, abandoned for another time
The wood pile is low, the evenings still chilly
An ideal excuse to escape into the landscape
I grab my boots and wood collecting bags
I stomp to the woodland a mile down the road
With purpose in my stride, heart aching
I surrender myself to the space and  freedom of the world beyond the walls
My body moves, every atom of my being soaks up the offered energy
My essence spreads like tree roots, connecting with what keeps it alive
A giant cosmic inhalation
And as this life seeps into and through me
Anxiety is defused, the heart lightened
Perspective is broadened, horizons grow
The comforting, grounded arms of the trees welcome me home
I savour the calm
Like sweet, warm nectar it trickles through me
As I collect the dry twigs and branches
I am aware of their roughness on my skin and the earth beneath my feet
I am aware of being one small drop in an ocean of many

Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Promise of Adventure!

Jess, Didge and I started planning our next 'Big Adventure' yesterday! Exciting!

Place: The Gower Peninsula
Time: May 5th-7th to coincide with the Full Moon and Call 3- (Site/Off-sited working)
Context: Artist's residency

List so far: (remembering we have to be able to carry everything!)
map (ordered and on the way)
one man tent (to get)
sleeping bag (to get)
shoes/boots x2
hiking stick
food (chocolate)
wash stuff
wet wipes
small trowel (for digging)
trangia stove
cooking implements
newspaper (to light a fire)
spare batteries
swim wear!!!! (we are going in the sea no matter how cold!)
thermals (for after the swim)
a stiff drink (for after the swim)
water (we decided that we will not be able to carry enough water so will have to find a fresh water supply to camp by)
first aid kit
sketch/note books, pens, pencils etc
dice (for decision making, to make it less predictable and more challenging)

Document the experience: -how we create our space/place within the landscape
                                        -how we use it
                                        -our relationship with the space/place
                                        -our relationship with landscape
                                        -our relationship with each other
                                        -our reflections
                                        -what we can take from the experience
How do we document:     -take samples- earth, plant life, minerals,
                                        -keeping a diary
                                        -creative writing
What to document:           -daily physical activities- a physical perspective
                                        -reflections on how our activities make us feel-an emotional perspective
                                        -what we create- through insight, inspiration, an action that relates to the  space/place/landscape/emotions- a spiritual perspective