Artist Billie Penfold tells you a little more about her artist walk and bench artwork for Reflect Gravesham.
Those of you who have visited my studio looking out at the sea over Tankerton slopes near Whitstable know that there are many benches along the slopes above the beach huts looking out to the sea. These give people the opportunity to create memorials for loved ones and also a place to take time to sit and stare at the sea. I have always been fascinated by these benches placed at regular intervals along the slope. So, when the call out came to take part in Reflect:Arts and Minds in Gravesend I jumped at the chance to be able to create a temporary installation on a bench as a shrine or memorial in response to this event.
We invite you to walk with us on Saturday October 12th and Sunday October 13th at 3 pm. to celebrate coastal living and what the sea means to you through Reflect: arts and minds in Gravesham.
I will be delivering this walk through the arts group Thread and Word which I set up in 2014 . This group invites artists to collaborate in walking performative events. These walks also give participants the opportunity to record their feelings as they walk through a meditative knotting of ropes which are attached to a pole called a Vara at the end of the walk, to record the event.
We will be walking, with Thread and Word to celebrate all thing coastal in Gravesend, reflecting on what the sea means to us.
The artists joining this walk and offering poetry, performance and their own response to Let's Take a Moment are:
A. Bowman, L. Claire, V. Fitch J. Mckay, S. McClymont, C. Lovey, O. Lowery, S. Overall, E. Penfold, J. Riddiough, L. Shawyer.
Anna Bowman is sharing a personal anecdote of trips to the seaside as a child. She is also a talented film maker and photographer and will be photographing the event.
Lucy Claire is a composer and musician who works with soundscapes and will be collaborating with the group to create a soundscape of the walk. This will be available to download . The piece will commemorate our walk through a plaque on the bench in Promenade Gardenswith a qr code linking it to the soundscape.
"Soundscapes can transport the listener from one environment to another. Listening to a soundscape can calm the mind and encourage time for reflection. Let’s Take A Moment is a sound world reflection of a collection of poetry by Owen Lowery that focuses specifically on the coast and shoreline from With the fisherwomen of Nairn to the Mediterranean horizon of Pathos Sunset. I worked with sounds from the shore, the harbour, the hissing and sucking of the shore, the heady buzz of insects and the rhythmical sploshes of oars moving in and out of the water to bring another dimension to Owen’s words and help transport the listener from one place to another. "
Virginia Fitch will be reading a well know poem by Shelley to help us on our way.
Julia Riddiough is sharing two pieces, 'Windmills of my Mind' connecting with the story of the area with links to Don Quixote and his own inner daemons . Laura Shawyer will be enacting her second piece 'A Gesture of Harmony' a ritual devised by Julia using Palo Santo oil connected with well being, meditation and enacted through the holding of the knotted ropes as we end our walk.
James McKay has created three interventions using poetry, place and string. It might even involve some costume changes. Looking forward to a few surprises.
Susan McClymont will share her poem "Pocahontas and me" She has also created a fab mosaic for our bench. The design of the mosaic that accompanies the poem, is of an oak leaf overlaid by fern koru floating on the river. (Reflecting the oak trees of Pocahontas's Jamestown in America and the fern that emblematic of her native New Zealand).
Christina Lovey is offering a personal reading of the knots in the ropes through tap dancing. Looking forward to some Flamenco rhythms .
Owen Lowery has shared several of his poems read in his own voice for the soundscape. He has also helped with selecting the sounds he associates with the poems and the coast. We are delighted to take Owen's voice on this walk with us.
You can be transported to Owen's reading with a soundscape by Lucy Claire Listen here
Sonia Overall is joining us with pause/play
What is the quality of a moment? What do different pauses feel like? We will carry a bag of pauses with us as we walk, select one at random and enact it. Pause, play, repeat.
Elspeth (Billie) Penfold is inviting you to knot ropes to record the experience as we walk. These ropes have been made by hand by Elspeth for this event in her studio.The ropes will be attached to a Vara or pole at the end of the walk to create a document of the walk.
I am always amazed by the creativity and generosity of all artists who collaborate with me in these walks with Thread and Word. I hope you are able to join us on the day and do feel free to share any readings/ memories or rituals with us as we walk.