Starting Point for The Library of Pilgrimages with Space Place Practice

In recent work, I have been exploring what 'safe', 'unsafe' and the state inbetween them feel like and mean to me. Safe and unsafe ‘spaces’ can be found in our every day experiences. A physical location, a word or a gesture can delineate the transition from feeling safe to unsafe and back again I created a safe/ unsafe space installation in January at Arcade Cardiff. Alongside the installation I also made a dance work exploring how during our everyday interactions we transverse safe and unsafe situations continually.

With art group Space Place Practice, I am developing a work of a group show, The Library of Pilgrimages. For my pilgrimage I want to do a walk and find 'safe spaces' in situ. these may be location or people. Where exactly I will walk, I am not sure. I want to do a circular walk, maybe more than once. I have been thinking about the bracelet of religious medals I made as a child. I gained these medals by reading in church. One of them had a piece of fabric attached to the back of it allegedly touched by the relic of St Terese of Liscieux. I want to weave in the idea of souvenirs of experience into the work…


Making I Am Maindee

CNC Milling first batch of I Am Maindee signs
Hand finishing an I Am Maindee sign
Mess left behind after machining the first batch of signs


Playing Safe Underground

'What It Is Rite' in Llangattock Escarpment

Recently I took a part of an installation I had made, deep underground within a cave. A friend has been making a film in the cave and I went to keep her company. We had been there once previously and I had wandered off down various chambers exploring and trying to make sense of place as she worked.

The cave is accessed through a small hole in the side of an escarpment in the Brecon Beacons. On climbing through the hole you enter a large cavity apparently once used as a church. From this first chamber there are three chamber systems. The chambers (one in particular) is covered in graffiti linking visitors from across the centuries. I am particularly drawn to the polite copperplate writing of visitors from the 18th and 19th centuries. Mainly names and dates. It hints that I am not alone, that I am by surrounded by centuries of fellow travellers. It does not feel like a lonely cold place although in many ways it is.

In another chamber I lie down and squeeze under a large overhang. I turn off the torches and listen. Water drops down the rocks with a regular beat. I discern a further sound, regular and following a slower beat. At points the one becomes the off beat of the other. They play a rhythm together.

I expect that the darkness will be inky and velvety, but it is not. It has its own quality that is tricky to describe. I expect that after a few minutes I will feel panicked but I do not. I feel relaxed. I wonder if this is what being inside a floatation tank feels like. The sensation reminds me of a work I made in 2013 Polar Exploration. In that work I sort to create a neutral space where the senses were blurred through ear defenders, the space smelling of mint and the audience eating a mini Kendal mint cake. Visually the audience were made ‘snow blind’ via the installation being large wendy house structures made of film lighting gel in ‘heavy frost’. Although a space of light, the inability to see or hear properly led the visitors to go inside themselves. It is this quality, that I feel in the cave.


What It Is Rite - International Womens Day

I did a talk yesterday about 'What It Is Rite' and what being safe means as part of International Womens day activity at Riverfront Arts Centre in Newport. It was at the end of a day talks by women with experiences of forced marriage, FGM, bullying, asylum seeking, being shot… all very inspiring and heart warming to hear how these women had survived extreme events.

I attempted to get the audience to make a safe sign with me….

Photo courtesy of Steph Roberts

Audience made sign added into installation


Llangattock Escarpment

Today I explored Llangattock Escarpment near Crickhowell. Until now I have only been in caves that are 'visitor attractions'. I was with a friend who was making a film, so I got to wander off and explore on my own. This was an odd experience. Total darkness (when I switched the torch off). Almost no sound except the dripping of water down the rock faces. My torch caught the evidence of previous visitors… centuries of graffiti. Other people were in the cave system, some trainee soldiers and a couple with a dog and a (of all things) a stepladder…

Outside the cave

The cave has been used as a church
'Tar' like droplets gave part of the cave a sparkly effect


I AM MAINDEE - but where exactly am I?

I've always known where Maindee is, or so I thought. Although I didn't grow up in Maindee, I did go to primary school there at St Joseph's In Fairoak Avenue (1973 - 1980). I did my Art Foundation year in Church Road in 1988. I have l lived in Maindee since 2007. I have assumed I know where I am, where Maindee is.... but looking at maps shows me that Maindee is a slightly different location dependent on the map you use.

On this 1953 map, Maindee features prominantly. The label is far outside what I would consider to be classed as Maindee

This 2005 map has the Maindee label in an area I would consider to be Eveswell
In this 2007 map, Maindee is close to Woodland Park
Where I think Maindee is....

I Am Maindee - finding patterns

As part of the I Am Maindee project, I have been looking at the architecture of the area..in particular patterns embedded in buildings.
Chepstow Road
Victoria Avenue
Victoria Avenue

Somerville Road
Somerville Road
Christchurch Road
Church Road