Test Residency 5
We're pleased to announce that painter Lizzy Langford will be staying at Pasture for a week from the 8th August. She'll be exploring the meadows and local flora, looking at making dyes and pigments for paintmaking. Her practice centres around using traditional methods of extracting pigments from earth and plant matter. Lizzy's paintings suggest another way of seeing and engaging with the natural world, in the action of painting, in movement and process, between the site of the pigment and the site of the studio.
Her personal motivations are to draw attention to the current global crisis, working with organic matter to discuss unrelenting growth in the name of “progress” and humanities consequential dissociation from nature.
Lizzy was born in the UK and is currently based in Ibiza. She spent four years after graduating learning traditional methods of extracting colour from plant and earth matter, which her current practise readdresses in an attempt to reveal something previously overlooked in the sole pursuit of pigment.
Test Residency 4
We're pleased to welcome Justin Hopper for a test residency at Pasture from 8th March 2023. Justin is an American writer based in the UK, exploring the intersection of landscape, memory and myth. His recent work includes books (The Old Weird Albion, Obsolete Spells) and recordings (Chanctonbury Rings, Swift Wings) as well as site-specific poetry (the Public Record series) and a podcast (Uncanny Landscapes), as well as many non-fiction articles and essays.
Through a year-long, monthly residency at Pasture Project Space, Justin will conduct research, interviews, walks, recordings and writing experiments for The Uncanny Vale - a new book of poetic essays concerning landscape, memory and myth in Dedham Vale and environs. Justin's interest is rooted in the Vale's origins as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty based partly on its representation in the paintings of Constable, Gainsborough and others - making it a reflexively iconic English landscape.
Test Residency 3
We are delighted that Sarah Needham is going to be here from 20th February as our next artist in residence. Sarah, a painter from London, is concerned with human inter-connectedness, and the interplay between the personal and the universal as expressed though the material of pigment. She makes her own pigments and has an interest in the way in which pigments leave material colour across human history and geography and traces of people's interactions. There is a sense in which these colours hold more than the formal record, they hold nuance and space for connection, for potential and extant symbolism and for the stories never told.
Sarah will be visiting the villages that women accused of witchcraft came from, collecting a sense of place as it is, looking for elements from their history and for an elemental link. She would particularly like to connect and converse with people who have knowledge in the history of witchcraft in the Essex/Suffolk border areas so please get in touch if you would like to help her with her research.
The paintings that Sarah makes are abstract spaces, spaces to fall into to get lost and to remember. She acknowledges artists including Rothko, Frankenthaler, Kandinsky and Sonia Delaunay for the freedom to play in these colour fields and breakthroughs with colour as substance as well as the unnamed Church painters of the Middle ages for whom pigments had their own symbolism. Technically the medieval dislike of palette mixing, which was a question of material interference, echoes in Sarah's work where she likes to retain the integrity of a pigment for the story which it holds. She is also indebted to the developments of oil painting introduced by the Northern Renaissance artists and the technical traditions of glazing which allow her to layer pigments, and mix through translucency.
Our second residency is fast approaching and we're really looking forward to having Finnish photographer Anna Lukala coming to stay. Anna will be staying with us for a week from Sunday June 26th until Sunday July 3rd when she will be giving a talk on her experiences here - save the date, we'll also be serving tea, coffee and cake for the event.
Anna is a freelance photographer and visual artist. Originally from Finland, she is now based in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, UK. Anna received a BA (Hons) in Photography from University of Wolverhampton in 1997. The central themes of Anna's practice are sustainability, the commons, material culture, women’s labour and endangered folk traditions. Her practice-based research has challenged her to look at the environmental footprint of her own creative work which has led to her investigating the role that plants and minerals can play in analogue photography as well as experimenting with historic recipes for inks, pigments and dyes, using natural materials. To achieve this she regularly forages and grows her own pigment garden, with the aim to embody a more sustainable and reciprocal practice.
Anna says 'During my stay at Braybrooks I am going to be researching the history of the common land of the water meadows and the ancient traditions attached to managing these. I am particularly interested in any historic records surrounding women’s roles here, if any, and how those records are kept and archived. I am keen to meet local folk and collect any oral histories attached to the working on the meadows and learn about the plants specific to the site. I will be experimenting with various alternative analogue photographic techniques and using plant matter and water found in the meadows in my processes. I will be looking at local soils and other natural plant and mineral colours that can be utilised during my residency. To work sustainably and in reciprocity with the land and the environment, it will be influencing the direction of my methods. However I am not expecting a specific outcome but to have the time and space to get inspired by a place that is completely new to me.'
Having been at Braybrooks Dairy for over three years now, the idea of using the space and location in Ballingdon as a project space where creative people can come, have conversations, eat, drink and hopefully inspire some new work, seems important. So finally, after the Covid setbacks test residencies began in May 2023.
Ruth, the first artist in residence, is a painter, performer, curator and Jungian analyst. She has a specialist interest both clinically and creatively in the dissociability of the psyche, and the potential for healing contained within its complementary trait, the associative tendency. Her live art has explored psychic connectivity between people both living and ancestral, telepathic connection with cultural artefacts, and related to sea creatures and the sea as conduits for the collective unconscious.
She says 'Recently I’ve been making paintings using stills of landscapes and figures from two early vampire films, one set between the world wars, and one in 1934. I like the synergy between them, the relationship across time. And the theme of a shadowy underworld, and crossing between two worlds, is also significant for me: how do we understand ourselves unless we incorporate awareness of what lies beneath what we think we know?'
Ruth is in residence over three weekends in May, and will give a talk about the work on Sunday 29th May 4-6 pm, so put the date in your calendar and keep an eye on this blog and our social media feeds for regular updates.
Here is our short film made about Orford Ness Lighthouse that was sadly demolished this month. We made several visits to the lighthouse between 2012 and 2015, originally when it was still in use by Trinity House and later when it was owned by the Orford Lighthouse Trust.
Originally full of light from the prisms and navigation panes, it became darker as these were removed after it was decommissioned. At first I visited the lighthouse and made a series of paintings responding to the light. However I also had a series of photographs that I had made exploring the effects of the light and wanted to develop these further in a sequence in their own right. Stuart had been making work from the sound of objects including the nearby Languard Fort at Felixstowe, so it seemed a good idea to combine image and sound using the ambient sound and light found within the building between 2012 and 2015. The film was developed and screened at grove projects, Bury St Edmunds in 2015 as part of a week long artist residency there.
Remembering our time in the mulberry orchards of eastern China, near Hai’an and realising that now is not the climate for further travel with Covid19, we have turned to home. Having moved last year to an old dairy come shop in Ballingdon on the edge of Sudbury, Suffolk, we have been involved with several events in the town. Ruth helped set up the first Sudbury Silk Festival in 2019, with cultural and architectural heritage walks connected with silk, a Silk Fair with stands from the local silk mills Gainsborough Silk Weaving Co, Humphries Weaving Co, Vanners Silk Weavers and Stephen Walters & Sons as well as related textile and conservation stands and talks by a variety of experts on silk. One aspect of the potential development for the festival was to look into the possibility of mulberry tree planting as a visible sign of the town’s rich silk heritage, together with badging silk related buildings and developing a town trail that could be accessed via phones.
In addition we realise what an adaptable space we now have and that we could offer a residency space to artists/musicians/writers/creatives around three times a year, for them to recharge, make work and explore connections with this amazing landscape of historic water meadows, grazing cattle, river access and artistic links with painters including Gainsborough, Constable, Morris, Nash. Although with Covid19 our residencies have been delayed. We are setting up our project space PASTURE to be ready and in the meantime developing a small project ‘Mapping the Mulberry’ to find the locations of existing mulberry trees in the area and map them with any information on their history.
Ruth, with her last house, restored both the house and garden from a derelict state and whilst with young children and without a garden, used to enjoy taking them to Gainsborough’s House where there is a large, ancient mulberry tree, ‘Here we go round the mulberry bush’ was on a sign hung on the tree and would always open up a verse of that well known nursery rhyme! When Ruth restored the garden, she planted a black mulberry on the back lawn.
There are several other ancient mulberry trees in the area, so we are hoping to publicise our project so that people can help us with the mapping. Already we have had several sites sent in by various people, including mulberries in Boxford, Bulmer, Groton, Lavenham, Preston St Mary, Stoke by Nayland, Colchester, Wivenhoe Park, Ipswich and Haverhill.
Yesterday we visited the Winthrop mulberry in Groton, a black mulberry thought to be one of the oldest in Britain. Planted possibly around 1550 by Adam Winthrop, grandfather of John Winthrop who was the leader of Puritans who were the first to establish a colony in America. He went on to become the first governor of Massachusetts in the 1630s. The Winthrop family maintain contacts with the village and its historic tree. The tree is in a field known as The Croft, where it is beautifully situated in a small field, with mown paths and wild meadow flowers. The tree is recumbent and layering, protected by a fence, with a bench nearby. Apparently local people have old photographs of the tree before it collapsed … it would be great to see these!
We visited the tree on the last day of May, accessing it through the long, narrow path, surrounded by trees and wildflowers. It was late afternoon, after a blisteringly hot day, the dappled shade of the path was welcome and the smell of grass and wild flowers including elderflower and the last of the cow parsley, heady. The croft or meadow opened up at the end of the path, with perfectly cut paths winding around, and patches of wild flowers amongst the meadow. The tree was in leaf and both catkins and fruit were ripening. A large specimen, it looked healthy with vibrant and strong green leaves.
One wondered about the history that it has seen in this idyllic spot – what made the Winthrop’s up sticks and move to America from this timeless and quintessentially Suffolk village? It is wonderful that the ties are still present and the Groton Wintrop Mulberry Trust maintains the tree in its meadow for the benefit of local people. Could this be the oldest mulberry in the area? Will we be able to find any way of dating the trees that we find?
Ruth Philo and Stuart Bowditch at PASTURE.
All Art Space Ballingdon Bats Foraging Grotesque Groton Landscape Mapping The Mulberry Meadows Mulberry Mulberry Tree Natural Dyeing Nature Pigments Pill Boxes Project Space Residency Silk Silk Mill Sudbury Suffolk Wildlife Winthrop Mulberry