Week #4 & #5 Artist in Residence 17820872_1139693072842750_344749247_n

I have found myself unable to sit and write my blog over the past few weeks. My mind is so immersed in thoughts and ideas raised by my research and development that I haven’t been able to grasp them and find the clarity or the focus to write them down. So now some time has passed and the dust has settled and now that I am surrounded once again by the walls of the Courthouse, my mind can relax and I can stop chasing my tail.

It really is a case of cat and mouse with this creative process, a theme or an idea changes so rapidly and a new direction emerges. I have found myself so inspired during the past few weeks and the incessant need to find out more drives me. I have been in my head and I need to find a way to start the physical process of making sense of all this new information and associations. For another project I have started to explore Viewpoints (Ann Bogart and Tina Landau) and find that I use alot of this work already but it will inform my work here and guide me. I am really excited about working in the space again using some of these exercises to try and decipher the multitude of creative sparks flying around my brain.

Week # 4 gave me the opportunity to take part in the Friday art class with Tina Mouritzen and funnily enough my subject to draw was a bird, a papier machete raven which tied in with thoughts of Maya Angelou and the caged bird singing. I have to continue to find the connections to birds. One of the play texts I hope to explore in this work is ‘Macbeth’ for what reason I cannot tell you other than I would love to play Lady Macbeth some day and something about the environment of the play resonates with my thoughts on this work. So I delved further, and hey presto Macbeth is full of bird imagery, foreshadowing as it is referred to, birds as omens of something horrible about to happen or which has just happened. One very strong image that hovers in the air is a birdcage and since I have been working in the Courthouse, a place which handed down sentences at  its’ Petty session court days the entrapment theme feels relevant and important. That growing sense of isolation, of being caged and not knowing when freedom would come, and if it would come.

I also refer back to a visual image I have in my mind of a large swinging metal birdcage with a woman seated inside, an image I hope to one day create onstage. So the bird imagery is a vivid and a strong contender and I am constantly on a search for more associations. Another bird association was poaching, a criminal offence back in the days of the wealthy landowners which sometimes warranted transportation to Australia. This is another section of history which connects strongly with the Courthouse and one that could offer up a potential line of enquiry. It’s like plucking (pardon the pun) information out of thin air and trying to make sense of it all or create some kind of narrative. A narrative which may already exist outside of me but ones that needs my assistance to tell its story.

Week #5 brought a youthful energy into the space for Toddler art with Maeve Hunter,and that was a morning full of messy expression, curiosity, little voices reverberating around the space and the discovery of the stage. It was a joy to witness the small ones exploring the stage and finding their creative sparks and wanting to express themselves. Some parents had never been to the Courthouse and the journey here was facilitated by their need to let their children be creative and use art as a time for themselves and a time for mom or dad to breathe.

It made me aware of who walks through the space, the bodies that occupy it and the journeys that are made, little footsteps are just as important as big ones, if not more! The children occupied the space.17821122_1139693432842714_264189721_n

I am fascinated by history in general and its always nice to have a reason to focus on specific periods in history, I find I zoom in and accumulate more knowledge that way. I have found out about Tinahely and surrounding areas, from first hand colourful accounts of the village back in the 1800s, vividly describing people and places, a life springing to existence in my mind as I read it. The exotic notion of Fossetts circus wintering at Ballybeg in Tinahely fascinates me with stories of escaped animals, once again the themes of confinement, isolation and escape.

Of course the hugely influential Coolattin connection in the village and surrounding areas and the stories connected to that has become clearer. The characters who emerge from history all with their own story to tell. The gruesome tale of Hempenstall ‘The Walking Gallows’ as he was known, standing over 2 metres tall that would hang men on the his back, literally. The 1798 rebellion and the fire that destroyed the village. Black Tom (Thomas Wentworth) who allegedly rode about in black armour on a black horse and was known to have constructed tunnels in Tinahely called ‘Black Toms Cellars’.

I am no historian nor do I have the time to devote to historic investigations but I am inspired by stories I hear, excerpts I read and a sense of time revisited.The historic past is a rich tapestry. When we think about it the past is not that long ago and we should always strive to take something from it and learn from it.

I am intrigued, baffled, confused, exasperated by the information my brain is trying to assimilate and makes sense of right now but I have faith that all will reveal itself and the path will be made clear.

Patience my dear, patience.

Tip #3 Break free from your comfort zones, even just for a brief moment. Surprise yourself!


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