CRAB POT and seaweed ‘do tank’

What a glorious February day this turned out to be.. thanks to everyone that came (see list of participants and links below) and we even got a mention in the local paper – Falmouth Packet). Considering none of us had made a pot before (aside from mentor Greg) we did really well – Si & Cat gave it their all and have written a lovely account of the day on their blog (Teach a Man to Fish – a local sustainable fishing initiative); Rory has uploaded videos of  here and Mary wonderful pics here …and there’s more on the caravanserai flikr page.

  • MA in Art & Environment students (University College Falmouth
  • Greg Humphries  – crab pot session leader, who has been working on the willow project with us since his UCF placement in 2009
  • Cat Holman –  as well as co-founding the local sustainable fishing project Teach a Man to Fish, Cat was our first writer-in-residencein the project van (see her residency blog here), and has since been awarded a distinction for her MA studies in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Si Holman – is a boat designer (previously lecturing in CAD and boatbuilding at Falmouth Marine School) and co-founder of Teach a Man to Fish (Si and Mac made the willow and canveas raft recently featured on TV )
  • Debs Wallace – works with Cornwall Wildlife Trust Strandings Network and has contributed an article on seal activity in the area for our guidebook (pp. 48/49)
  • Rory MacPhee builds and voyages on boats made of skin and frame using locally sourced materials. With these boats he runs trips undertaking coastal foraging and environmental monitoring in Cornwall, specialising in marine algae. He also runs a variety of workshops investigating intuitive design techniques using wood as the primary medium, with a broad spectrum of clients.
  • Mac Dunlop – is a wordsmith, performer,artist and co-founder of caravanserai. Mac co-ordinates and MC’s Treloan’s firesides
  • Annie Lovejoy – is an artist finishing doctorate studies (RANE – UCF) and co-founder of caravanserai.
Greg Humphries led the session following work he has done to regenerate a local willow coppice that was originally planted for making crab pots…and now, 3 years later local residents Si & Cat Holman are keen to learn the skill as part of their sustainable fishing project Teach a Man to Fish. So from the MA in Art & Environment perspective this is a fantastic example of how responsive context-led arts practice can work towards sustainable outcomes.

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MA Arts and the Environment – ‘do tank’ with Greg Humphries

The ‘nest’ as it turns out looks remarkably like the pic Greg had shown us when we were discussing ideas for structures..

BIG THANKS to all the MA in Art & Environment (UCF) team that came to Treloan and to all involved especially Greg Humphries. We really enjoyed the day & thought it was a great ‘do tank’ – a good balance of doing, talking and eating (homemade soup and bread, local cheese and our very own Treloan chutney – the tomatoes grown in the polytunnel we were sat in!)

After kicking off with everyone introducing themselves and their interests/practices (what a fantastic diverse and experienced group of people), Daro raised a question – how might we articulate what art is when immersed in everyday activities? (or something to that effect). We decided to come back to this question at lunchtime after a session at the coppice.

Greg and Mac had already cut a fair amount of whips & wood for sorting yesterday, so with everyones’ help in this session we had enough willow for building the structure as well as a stash of older wood for charcoal making later in the year.

there’s more pics  here

In retrospect I wish I’d recorded this discussion as it was really stimulating, we talked about the idea of art as service (following the Sam Bowers talk) and attempted to address the question about how these ways of working might be understood as ‘art’. Daro mentioning that perhaps ‘art’ could be seen as a meta term, an umbrella of diverse practices in relation to Toms point that music is music, poetry is poetry etc. Pete asked how this type of practice differed from education -Daro responded in that education follows curricula or structures whereas responsive practice is process-led. Pete also thought categorisations were useful in that they describe working methods and was concerned about an artist’s visibility if they weren’t used, my response was that I found categorisation problematic particularly terms such as ‘socially engaged’ (which implies disengagement) and which I see as a term of investment & expectation, especially in situations where people are being designed over – as in my experience of large scale overly prescriptive public arts commissioning /regeneration projects.

PLEASE..if anyone who was there wants to add something to the discussion we had, or point out any omissions / mistakes I may have made, please use the box at the bottom of the post, or email me. (Also I didn’t remember everyones names on the Flikr set of photos, so do add them in too -thanks).

After our discussion, carefully timed by Greg who was itching to get going on the structure &…half of the group set to wok with the planting and the others went for a coastal walk/forage with Debs and Annie – we collected Sea Beet “this widespread coastal plant is the parent plant of of beetroot and sugar beet”  it looks similar to spinach “but with higher nutrient levels”.(Miles Irving)

Pic from Robin (forager in residence 2010 – Wild & Raw Sea Beet & Sorrel Houmous)

2hrs later – as if by magic (for those of us that went on the walk) a beautiful structure (nest?) was made.

time for some final group shots..and the day is done THANKS TO ALL

Here’s the video I mentioned – a performic response by Richard Layzell to the question “Hierarchies of value: where do artists and Socially Engaged Practice sit in and out of the gallery?” Demanding Conversations conference workshop 22.9.10

Greg returns..

Greg Humphries (in residence with us in 2009) is back to harvest willow from the coppice he regenerated. This time the willow is for a living shelter structure that will be built with the help of students from the MA in Art & Environment (UCF) tomorrow. He and Mac have been cutting whips in preparation as well as some thicker wood which will be made into charcoal for our summer local food banquet FEAST.

..speaking of banquets, today is Burns night (and also my birthday) so we’re celebrating with a bring & share meal and poetry readings. Big thanks to Pete and Debs for hosting this in their house for the 3rd year running!

Debs says Greg is ‘happy as a pig in shit’ to be accommodated in the little wooden hut we call ‘the snug’ for the night..

drawing by Mac Dunlop

Geography field visit

All hands on this morning as we’re expecting a bunch of Geography students to arrive, the only space big enough for everyone is the polytunnel -thank goodness the sun’s shining as otherwise everyone would get very cold! so a quick whizz around the site collecting chairs and a burner for the soup we’ve made.

how many students can you get in a caravan? – on the left Kate (Prof. Catherine Brace) is introducing the project van, the nature of the space, Rom vans and the role it plays to house people from all manner of disciplines to be here and respond in some way to the locality.

There was some discussion as to whether the project was ‘art’ prompted by Lucy Rose (PhD student) – she was interested in how it related to aesthetics & Kants’ notion of the sublime.

I tend towards thinking of  aesthetics as being subjective response that is everywhere in the un/remarkable and un/extraordinary moments of the the idea that ‘Art’ as being separate & ‘of itself ‘ imbued with sublime purpose that is the work of genius disinterested in social, political and contextual influence is anathema to me. ( I don’t profess to understanding the density of Kant or see aesthetics as a focus of my research aside from noting the impact such thinking may have had in isolating ‘art’ objects from their context).

A well known example of how artists’ purpose or intention gets lost within the historical canon is Duchamps’ urinal – the readymade is seen as significant in opening up a potential for ‘art’ to be anything, whatever it is named to be. But within that desire for a new movement or  categorical definition of ‘new’ art (focussed on the urinal – object) the actual social and political context of Duchamps’ intention has been afforded less value – ie his interventionist arts activity that questioned the curatorial hierarchy of an exhibition selection process.

Kate was asked what she had found interesting within the project – she said that the durational nature of the project had influenced her thinking about geography.