Artist Residency at Hawkwood: Charlie Brinkhurst Cuff
"Sometimes, things just have to be in the right place. And for a beautiful moment, Hawkwood was the right place for me."
The first time I tried to make a fire at the Hawkwood Lodge, where I was lucky enough to spend five days on residency, it wouldn’t light. I thought had all the tools I needed — matches, kindling, some big logs — but it just would take. The kindling went up in a flash and the log sat there, stoic and just slightly burned black underneath. A big, ugly lump.
I was also the lump. That is to say, at the beginning of every creative process, even halfway through it, even at full term, it is normal to feel like a lump. Unmoulded, or unwilling to be the moulder. Doing it anyway. Not sure of how to put all the pieces of a project together.
On my first day at Hawkwood, overwhelmed by being away from city life, I wasn’t sure what to make of myself, of this novel that I had stupidly decided to try and write two years ago and still wasn’t finished.
And yet. Just as I taught myself how to make the fire roar, the building blocks of its ferocious anatomy, as the days drifted by and I was fed wholesomely in a way that I haven’t been since I was a child, I also started to figure out how to move. How to take my creation into a new state of being. I built up the pyre of my own creativity, layering the kindling, and manoeuvring the logs. Positioning things perfectly.
Sometimes, things just have to be in the right place. And for a beautiful moment, Hawkwood was the right place for me.
Award-winning freelance journalist, book editor, columnist, host, and creative with focuses on features and profiles on identity, culture, lifestyle, travel, media, and social politics.
Managing Editor at Skin Deep, columnist at Stylist magazine, and creator of the weekly newsletter “The Companion.” Former Senior Staff Editor at the New York Times and Editor-in-Chief at gal-dem magazine. Contributions to publications like Guardian, Dazed, and Financial Times. Editor of “Black Joy,” “I Will Not Be Erased,” and “Mother Country.” Experienced speaker and host for BAFTA, Nike, and Channel 4. Recognized as a Scott Trust alumnus and recipient of the 2016 Georgina Henry Award for Innovation in Journalism.