We had a perfect sunny day today for the Artist Walking Workshop! Visitors set out on "artist walks" in the yard and surrounding neighbourhood, slowing down to notice and sketch overlooked details of the landscape.
An unusually shaped tree, a face drawn in the sidewalk cement, a tiny orange flag: once we start looking with the eyes of an artist the ordinary becomes captivating, worthy of documentation and celebration.
Participants were invited to slow down and use all their senses to look at the world with fresh eyes.
Back at the house we added colour and detail to our drawings.
Then we compiled them to create a collaborative map of the neighbourhood's meaningful minutiae.
Every artist brought their own unique perspective to the project. I loved seeing what each person noticed and documented!
This collaborative map will be exhibited at You Are Here during Doors Open Richmond. Visit the upcoming events page for more info!
On Saturday, I met up with a wonderful group of community members from Richmond Poverty Response Committee to do some field work for our upcoming public forum presentation. Over the last few months we've been meeting regularly to work on this presentation, using poetry, song, public speaking, and other creative mediums to express the experience of facing poverty and housing instability in Richmond.
One element of the presentation will be an installation of photos taken by community members with disposable cameras which explore their lived experiences surrounding themes of home and belonging. Stay tuned for more information on this important upcoming event!
We had another wonderful workshop last weekend with great attendance and plenty of enthusiasm. For the Archival Photo Shadowbox Workshop we used photos from the Richmond Archives as art materials to create thought provoking shadowboxes, each containing it's own story and link to the past of this place.
We had lots of archival photos on hand for participants to choose from. We also had two special guests in attendance: Christine, a volunteer from the Friends of the Richmond Archives, and Lori, an artist from Artists Rendering Tales Collective shared their resources and knowledge about Richmond's history, helping workshop participants learn about the backstories of the photos.
We used found objects and paper ephemera to build worlds around our photos.
I loved watching layers of imagery and meaning being created around each photo.
One workshop participant was inspired by a photo of a group of Indigenous fishermen. She used images of plants to indicate traditional net making materials:
Another participant had cherry blossoms on her mind, and was inspired by a family photo with a background of flowers:
This shadowbox represents the participant's appreciation for Steveston's diverse cultures:
Every single shadowbox engaged with local history in its own unique way:
A little found poetry is always a good idea:
Now that I am (mostly) through the walking of creating Walking Atlas, I am moving on to the mapping itself. Walking Atlas will be an interactive installation with handmade maps offered to participants to use as unexpected navigational guides to a familiar landscape. It is also a documentation of my own process of arrival as I explore and learn about this place that is my new home.
Here are a few sketches, corners, notes and snippets from my unconventional cartographic progress.
What a fabulous workshop! We had a great turn out on this sunny afternoon and lots of wonderful work was created. For the Altered Map project, we worked with maps as a canvas to explore what this landscape means to each of us. We used printmaking, drawing, painting, and stamping to add symbols, text, and imagery to maps of Richmond, Vancouver, and other parts of the Lower Mainland.
We also had an atlas on hand so people could select maps from elsewhere in the world. This was a great conversation starter for stories about places we come from, have visited, of have significance to each of us.
As usual, I was so inspired by the enthusiasm, creativity, and diverse approaches everyone brought to their work!
.One innovative participant even used his teabag as an art material.
Younger visitors are always intrigued by the record player!
Always nice to have a little positive feedback:
During the first part of my residency at Branscombe House I am focusing on the experience of arrival in a new home and place. There is so much to see, explore, notice, and question. Part of this process is taking "artist walks," setting out with a notebook and eyes wide open to discover the details of this particular landscape. Artist walking feels very different than normal walking. With no destination in mind I am free to navigate by intuition and curiosity and slow down to look carefully.
As I walk I am searching for information to include in my project Walking Atlas, a collection of maps I am creating to document my findings and experiences of my new home. This process of making tangible paper maps mirrors the internal maps I begin to assemble as I become more and more oriented in this place. Walking Atlas will be presented at Branscombe House during Doors Open Richmond in June as an interactive installation. Visitors will be invited to take copies of my maps with them to use as navigational guides to re-imagine the everyday landscape.
Some of my intentions for Walking Atlas (as scribbled in my notebook on the bus):
to call attention to overlooked details of place // to experiment with layering constructed and poetic landscapes over the real landscape // to find magic & meaning & significance in the everyday // to call to mind the intensely arbitrary and limited nature of the information included in ALL maps (especially since maps often claim to depict objective truth) // to explore how our subjective perspectives shape our understanding of the world around us // to document my personal process of arrival
Some thing that catch my eye as I walk...
I am also so excited to offer a public community workshop on Artist Walking. I can't wait to see what participants will notice and document as they engage in this practice. There's more info on that on the Upcoming Events page.
Today I had the absolute honour of joining the Richmond Poverty Response Committee for an Advocacy and Support Committee meeting. This group meets twice a month for workshops in community leadership, advocacy, and activism currently focusing on issues of accessible housing, making their work extremely relevant to my residency here at Branscombe.
Today we began to work on a photography project exploring the concept of what home means to each participant. I was extremely inspired by the diverse ideas and experiences being shared and I can't wait to attend future meetings and possibly even create a collaborative project with the committee.
The first workshop of the year at Branscombe was wonderful! Lots of folks stopped by to create beautiful paper houses, chat, have tea and cookies, and listen to records. I was especially intrigued to see the attention to detail that many people put into their creations, cutting intricate shuttered windows with tiny faces peeping out, adding upper stories, drawing hundreds of minuscule shingles, using collage elements to symbolize life histories and fantastical narratives, and constructing elaborate porches, turrets, gardens, chimneys, and even tentacles. I also loved everyone's excitement as they sat down and began digging through the paper ephemera collage materials, getting inspired and choosing what caught their eye.
This handmade, collaborative artwork will be exhibited at Doors Open Richmond in June. Presenting this collection of remembered and imagined homes together as a three-dimensional map will represent expanding the definition of a neighbourhood beyond those who live close by to include those who gather from near and far to be creative together.
It's been a lovely and eventful few weeks settling into Branscombe House, meeting lots of supportive, excited folks at the launch event and around town, and beginning to explore the neighbourhood. In the next week or so I'll be hammering out plans and a schedule for upcoming workshops, so check this page soon or subscribe to the newsletter for updates.
In the meantime, if you're interested check out these articles on some of the themes and experiences inspiring my plans for the residency:
CBC News- Evicted artist finds place to live as Richmond's newest artist-in-residence
Richmond News- Evicted artist finds home in Richmond's Branscombe House
Hello and welcome to the Branscombe House 2018 Artist-Residency website! I'm excited to use this page to post updates on upcoming public workshops and community art projects at Branscombe House in historic Steveston. In the meantime, I'm gearing up for a public launch event. I'd love to see you there! Here are the details: