Monthly Archives: July 2015

Jam on the Marsh

In early July I travelled east to Kent, to Romney Marshes, for Jam on the Marsh – a predominately musical event in London and the Romney Marshes.

My venue was Fairfield Church. It was a damp morning as I set out across the Marsh seeking the church. I saw it from some way off, a beautiful form on the flat green ocean.

Hundreds of sheep skittered away as we crossed the fields carrying drum, paper and inks.

I had come to make my hollow bone monotype drawings in response to energetic charges I received from co-creators…

Fairfield Church work space for JAM KW July 2015      Kate at Fairfield Church Jam on the Marsh July 2015

Inside the church it was beautiful, peaceful and spacious. Little white painted closed pews felt like little boats for prayer. I chose one with beside a window, and lit a candle, set out my inks, printing plate, drum and papers. Soon people arrived and for the next two days I worked with musicians, composers, interns, and students to create bespoke drawings from dreams, incidents, or from messages I picked up from the energetic fields surrounding people.

The experience was intense, emotional, powerful, and rewarding. I was happy with the drawings I made in response, and everyone took away their co-created drawing.

Kate Fairfield Church July 2015 for JAM     Fairfield Church interior, work space for JAM KW July 2015 My workspace in a pew, Fairfield church JAM July 2015     working in the church July 2015 JAM KW    working with co-creator JAM 2 Embodying the Blue   Kindly Wolf   horse consciousness mountain spirit drawing    Walk on the marsh

In early July I travelled east to Kent, to Romney Marshes, for Jam on the Marsh – a predominately musical event in London and the Romney Marshes. My venue was Fairfield Church. It was a damp morning as I set out across the Marsh seeking the church. I saw it from some way off, a… Read more »

International Times link to article on Venice and excerpts from my article for Earthlines…

Here is the link to the short review I wrote about Venice, where I made a shamanic intervention in the Arsenale (details in an earlier post).
The July issue of Earthlines has a great feature on my work and my approach to making it. Here is part of it…

Animals make Wings for Mary/Riding into Darkness on my Horse-of-Music-Body

The rich darkness I create with layers of colour and which I slowly dive into with my brush represents the unknown, the fecund, the chaotic, the latent, the productive. It represents a field of beauty, a meadow about to come awake to yield fruit. It is the dark womb, bodily knowing, the place of origin, of beginnings, of the ten thousand things. The darkness is also a garden, dark soil, deep space. It is nothingness and the place where all things are born. I work without fear of this place. My shamanic training showed me that all things are connected, that bones, fingers and faces are shared and mirroring.

You go into the dark in order to find answers, little holes to swim through, big skies to fly in. In the dream-dark the animals come to show you their four sides and the gifts of their mouths; they lend you their exquisite hearing, their gift of knowing the secrets of the skin, and the vision which knows without ego or persuasion.

How animals are regarded is key: the skins we inhabit, our shared bodies of so many sisterly organs. My work is about negotiating a mending of the caesura between human and animal, and inspiring greater appreciation of the natural world.

 

A favourite book is Hunger Mountain by David Hinton where he talks about an opening of consciousness.. “No “I” perceiving but simply (the moment of) perception, the opening of consciousness become for example a new understanding of our relationship with animals, nature, the cosmos…..”

And about the significance of the bow, the spiritual gesture offering the centre of identity to something beyond. “Meditation as perhaps the most fundamental form of bowing, for in meditation the centre is replaced by the opening of consciousness and all of that elsewhere that fills it.”

To walk in mountains is another form of bowing according to Hinton; when I read these words I realised it is what I do when I walk in mountains. I am constantly bowing.

The first time I visited Norcia (or Nursia, in English), en route to Castelluccio in the Sibillini National Park, I visited the church built over the birthplace of St Benedict. It is also a centre of Benedictine monks. We were welcomed to their services. Sitting listening to the plainchant, watching their prayers and songs as they bowed from the waist, dressed all in white, dazzling with inner brilliance I was extremely moved. In my work ‘ my dog keeps watch as I pray’ I bend from the waist and my body blends with that of my dog as she stands watching over me – as my horse used to when I would lie on the floor of her stable. Hinton calls it the bow of beauty, in which for example mountain hawk and person are woven together in the opening of consciousness.

In the house where I grew from a child, there was a large print of one of the famous French cave paintings. I only recently realised how important this was to the sowing of visual seeds within me. Hinton calls the caves the earth’s birthing chambers. He wrote that this is where objectifying began, when objects began to push themselves outside themselves, and consciousness saw a gap between self and landscape, self and world. It was the originary moment according to Hinton when human self-awareness began.

Dreams are vital to my life and practice, becoming subtle signposts on my path: Here are a few examples…Of putting something white – gesso?  – in a bowl in the freezer to cool, but some hours later when I opened the freezer door I could see that the bowl which held it was boiling hot. This happened twice. I felt that it was something to do with the fiery spirit which won’t be cooled or dulled.     Of dancing in a circle, and my body becoming a white semi-transparent musical instrument.     Of my horse coming, resting her face against my chest for me to stroke her eyes.    Of my recently-deceased beloved dog coming to give me her skin as a magical, protective gift.

In another dream there was a bear with a nose burning with flames. Many people tried to extinguish it but it would not be put out. When my mother died I saw her in a dream. She was telling me that her body was going to a new church which burned with a flame which did not consume and which would never be put out.

 

 

Studio notes:

From time in the garden: the weight of seeds draw the stem back towards the ground, the earth, their birthplace and their resting place, their new beginning.

My intention with my work:  if composed of fine enough, refined-enough elements, to vibrate on  a  level sufficient to become, or act as, doorways to the numinous.

On being a Creature with sky ears. Having blue ears of sky.

Music is the Horse which carries me into the unknown. I need to vibrate at the same frequency in order to reach clarity. Horse above me, keeping watch, music also keeping watch over, as an animal singing outside the scope of my ears in ordinary reality…

 

In Edinburgh last year, a little lost, finding a wonderful bookshop and becoming as a bird finding her nest when I discovered these lines in the book Letters on Cezanne by Rilke:

“Flower muscle, slowly pulling open/the anemone’s vast meadow morning,/until the lord sky’s polyphonic light/comes pouring down into it’s womb;…”

Sonnet 11.5  from Sonnets to Orpheus

Milk running, bruise cheek, monotype 45 x 61 cm 2015

Milk running, bruise cheek, monotype 45 x 61 cm 2015

 

 

 

 

Here is the link to the short review I wrote about Venice, where I made a shamanic intervention in the Arsenale (details in an earlier post). http://internationaltimes.it/a-brief-review-of-opening-week-venice-biennale-may-2015/ The July issue of Earthlines has a great feature on my work and my approach to making it. Here is part of it… Animals make Wings for Mary/Riding… Read more »

Italy, June 2015. Developing my hollow bone drawing with the land, the plants, the saints.

I’ve recently been thinking about how to extend my ‘tuning-in’ way of working to go beyond the human world. In Italy I love to spend time with early Renaissance altarpieces and statues. I find them very powerful; their intensity resonates with me. The first time I saw a group of Jain sculptures at a show in London, many years ago, when I took a group of students, I was mesmerized by their power and their particular refined quality of stillness.

In Norcia at the beginning of my research trip/holiday I spent a day at the birthplace of Santa Scholastica and San Benedetto, and it was very restorative and powerful. I had a dream of Santa Scholastica which guided me towards thinking of a new research project, to be centred in Italy, and the Sibillini National Park, where there is an ancient and still prevailing way of living with Nature, the Saints, and beauty.

I love to spend time in wild nature too, and if you sit quietly with plants they can have things to tell you. But you must be quiet, and you must wait. On the Piano Grande in the Sibillini National Park I was drawn to work with the spelt stems, their vigour and elegance was captivating, but also a sense of something I did not understand, and which led me on, and to listen, to hear with my drawing, with my hands.

Drawing outside Castelluccio

Drawing outside Castelluccio

 

Drawing on the path

Drawing on the path

Drawing in woods, tuning into trees

Drawing in woods, tuning into trees

Butterflies on the path

Butterflies on the path

 

Tuning into the spelt plants

Tuning into the spelt plants

Notes from sketchbook made when tuning in: Like many hearts made of moss and air

Sky sculpted, sky roads, sky raven comes down

L’Arte, la porta per il divino

the coloured band of indefinable, unknowable colour which hovers

the air of colours, coloured air, sun arms, cows full of flowers

dreams of looking for, and finding, pastel-coloured keys in the landscape

Tiny grasses, tiny seeds, pointy-nosed falsetto tiny bees; hot sun, millions of flowers in every direction; trees in thick green clotting the valleys, threadbare on hills;

spider thread loose on my bag; the squeaky songs of parent birds, the drowning sounds of warning; the crickets close come to sing now I am still and silent; the blue-violets salvia and the pale-washed pinks white sun balanced daisy; the fat-budded orchid; the legume with pink crown perfection growing here by the trillion an eternity of pinkness flung down

10 life  17 colours

 

Thanks to Andrew McDouall for the photographs above.

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Drawings made by tuning in, by listening, drawing with eyes closed…. (and artist photos)

Castelluccio Church Madonna      Castelluccio sketchbook 1  Black Madonna unfinished small file KW

 

Saint with Heart Pillar small file        3 Madonna Saint with Child stretching upwards small file Kate Walters 33 x 24 cm 2015     1 Saint with Child and Angel at throat small file Kate Walters 33 x 24 cm 2015     2 Madonna Saint with Child on Knee small file 33 x 24 cm 2015 ink on paper Saint with throne      Saint with Hand receiving Spirit Kate Walters postcard size drawing sm file Field's edge     flower in light flowers      Madonna and Child, legno Visso      Madonna and child, Visso Side view Macereto Madonna and child, Visso     purple      Visso museum 3 Black Madonna    Deposition    Spelt drawings 1 trance drawings sketchbook

 

I’ve recently been thinking about how to extend my ‘tuning-in’ way of working to go beyond the human world. In Italy I love to spend time with early Renaissance altarpieces and statues. I find them very powerful; their intensity resonates with me. The first time I saw a group of Jain sculptures at a show… Read more »