Towards the end of last year I attended a series of four workshops run by Anita Reynolds. The aim of the workshops was to look at ways of creating ‘finished pieces’ in the studio over a period of weeks without losing the spontaneity and enthusiasm of notes and sketches originally made on site. On the first day of the course our group met up at Haytor Quarry on Dartmoor, where we spent several hours sketching, painting, taking photos and collecting found materials to use as colour samples.
Sessions two, three and four were held in the studio at Harbour House Gallery in Kingsbridge where we had a chance to experiment freely with a variety of media and techniques.
We used collage and simple monoprinting and Anita showed us an ingenious way of making small books from a single sheet of paper which sparked an energetic burst of creativity and led to a queue forming at the glueing table.
I found the course inspiring enough that once it ended I wanted to continue developing my work at home. By this time my memories of our sunny October morning at the quarry were fading and my final pieces took on a more wintery feel and focused mainly on images of birch trees and granite.
Things got put on hold over Christmas and I didn’t take up the project again until a couple of weeks ago, when I finally managed to assemble the accordion book that I’d got part-way through making.
I’m pleased with the result, particularly as I have a habit of leaving work unfinished in the rush to move on to something new. I don’t feel that the final piece captures the complexity of the actual day that we spent at the quarry, but it does have a sort of stony bleakness to it that I think works well enough. I also wrote a haiku after our trip (see sketchbook photo above) so all in all it was a very worthwhile course. Anita and Tim put a lot of work into making it a success and I’m grateful to them for organising everything so well.
Text and images © Angela Williams 2017
Vimeo video © Anita Reynolds 2016