I’m thoroughly delighted to be starting 2020 with the prospect of working with the Scottish Book Trust as a recipient of their Ignite Fellowship.
I’ll be working on a collection of poems provisionally titled ‘The Water Cure’, investigating the waters of the west coast of Scotland, their histories, geographies, myths and peoples.
What the sky demands
the wind insists on.
How much light can one body bear?
See what we become when our gnarled,
knotted needs are swept aside.
A landscape stripped to the horizon
to rockform, flint flaked with hesitant gleam.
Gorse-root fingered, peat block feet
tread paths perpendicular to the weather.
Whin-haired, heather sweetened,
a huddle of willow bickers
behind you, a flock of starlings
weave their old prayers into the cloud.
This is the final week of our group show at Dunoon Burgh Hall, with work made by four cowal-based artists at Cove Park residencies this year. (Sandi Kiehlmann, Jackie Stevenson, Soozie Tarkenter and myself.) The gallery is open 12-4 daily.
Maps of the Other Side, Cove Park, 2018 – by Anoushka Havinden
In July this year, I spent a week at Cove Park, exploring ways of making new work. I took a pile of books, and various ideas I’d been working with including mermaid/selkie stories.
At Peaton Layo, the shingle beach at the bottom of the hill from Cove Park (a good spot for swimming) I found driftwood that suggested a head, and eventually collected the remains of a mermaid figure.
I used this figure to embody a character, to narrate a story that then informed the work I made.
The mermaid was a creature that longed for human life but never settled wholly on land, a self-created, impossible creature pulled in different directions. The poem, written in her own odd, broken Scots, is her last will and testament.
Words and images sprang from the mermaid’s central, invisible and unwritten story. This was informed by the history and geography of that sliver of coastline, the loch beyond, and the Clyde Estuary that flows down past Dunoon.
Peaton Layo: ‘A flat rocky point on Loch Long – it is supposed to be a corruption of the word Leac, a flat stone’ – Ordnance Survey Name Book
a slate (for writing on)
a ledge (of rock)
a slab (of stone)
a flagstone, paving stone
With many thanks to all at Dunoon Burgh Hall and Cove Park.
I’m off to do a week’s residency in Cove Park, shortly. Gathering books, materials, thought strands, screwing courage to the sticking place. I’m planning to introduce my poetry to my visual art and see what happens. The residency will be followed in August by a group exhibition in Dunoon Burgh Hall. Watch this space for more info.
Upcoming show in the Lillie Gallery, Milngavie.
All very welcome!
(The days at the turn of the year)
a process of sinking – a following of form, a stripping away, a pursuit into the unknown.
Last year, in these turning days, I made large, shadowy ink paintings on paper.
Red indian skirt, grandmother’s shawl, grandmother’s easel, grandmother’s onionskin paper, sandals in December, the wrong feet, a child’s brush, the sludge from the bottom of last week’s painting jar, pastel scraps; the size of two overlapping pieces of roughly A3 paper.