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Settling into Hawkwood

by James on March 20th, 2017

Hawkwood College


My 2 week residency at Hawkwood College, near Stroud in Gloucestershire began today. I have the keys to my studio and my bedroom (staying one day a week as I need to get back for my son the other days), I have unpacked and arranged my equipment and materials in the studio, met my fellow artist in residence next door (the musician/songwriter Helen Chadwick), and now am taking some time to write this and listen to the radio.


I first came to Hawkwood for a sunny, bustling open day a few years ago, and have since visited to run a workshop for The Centre of Narrative Leadership, and spent some very happy times here with my much missed friend and collaborator Chris Seeley.

I’m going to go for a walk and do some bundling later, making the first Hawkwood Walking Bundle. I’ve bought myself some massive paper to take out into the woods and fields, as I want to push myself and my work in terms of scale, and I also want to make work that explores my bodily relationship with this place (hence the hashtag #BodyAndPlace on Twitter).


I’m here to explore the gardens and woods, fields and ponds, and yet here I am indoors writing this and laying out paper, clay and pens, but claiming and getting to know this space is important too, this long, light, wooden floored room in a cotswold stone outhouse, with the scent of narcissi from the vase in the corner, the sound of the wind buffeting the bare branched trees outside and a reassuring background hum from the radio behind me. So, getting to know here first, then exploring.


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