Artist Residency at Hawkwood: Cairi Jacks
"The environment in which I work is as much a part of my process as the process itself."
A residency at Hawkwood is like being given a gift, the gift of time and space without the pressure to produce. The week gave me an invaluable opportunity to put into practice some of the methods I have been exploring through my Practice as Research PhD.
I was based in the Woodland Sanctuary, the perfect location for testing out my aim of ‘listening to the land’, to take the natural world seriously as a collaborator. Standing at the entrance to the woods, I have a choice. To mark a threshold, a moment of crossing, to enter in reverence, as a conscious participant in this entangled life. Reconnecting with our ancient participation in the goings-on of the world, as a member rather than an objective observer. To listen carefully to what is being spoken by the woods.
This process for me involves a slowing down, a tuning up of the senses and a state of mindful presence that allows me to become porous, to experience my entanglement with the on goings of the woods. I spent my week in a process of deep noticing, of immersion in the stillness and the bustle of the beings of the woods. Attuning myself to the rhythm of the woods, I allow my mind to become still, alert, present. Observing the goldcrests as they go about their business of feeding on the ivy, spending time with the many yews, trees of life and death and rebirth, that guard the woodland at Hawkwood. I grieve the fate of many of our ash companions. I am humbled by the great tallness of the beaches, and amused by the constant banter of life in the canopy, disinterested in my ground-fettered existence, until I move to suddenly and send the more timid friends alarming to safer distances. We have much trust to regain.
After these walking meditations I journalled what arose and what landed. This has given me a good body of poetry and information from which to develop a piece of immersive artwork, a sensory encounter with the woods guided by audio, that will hopefully be made available for people to participate in, in time for the 75th birthday celebrations of Hawkwood at the beginning of May.
Cairi is a singer and visual artist from Wales who explores themes of belonging, kinship and our relationship to land through a mixture of original compositions and traditional folk songs. Rooted in the oral tradition, with fireside singing in her blood, and a craft honed through a capella harmony singing, she is now bringing the many threads of her practice together.