St Winifred's Well is a geographical, physical place. It can be found on an OS map, marked by a small cross symbol. It is made of bricks and mortar, you can walk around it and touch it. It is also a place that has been built (and continues to be so) by words. People are often led to the well by guides and you are directed around the site itself by signs and written prayers. Poems have been written about the history of the site and reports of miraculous cures have been recorded and distributed. Perception of the well is shaped in a vital way by words.
In terms of my work, I have been playing around with different sizes and positioning of text. I am particularly interested in the text on maps- it flows across the page and conveys meaning beyond its inherent message; the size, colour, position and font all convey information. Picture and word come together. I am hoping this is something I can explore further in my own picture-making.
Selection of photos from my visits to St Winifred's Well. I'm interested in the ways in which the site is a textual space. Graffiti on the walls, instructions for votive activities, signs through the gift shop and out into the changing rooms, historical documents that record people's experience of the well, text on maps of the area.... There is something about illustration and it's drawing together of word and image that is useful in understanding the site.
In the 4th Century, St Anthony the Great told philosophers that the mystery of faith is not found through logics, but calls for a "more-than-rational immersion" not a "rational distancing". Some more recent thinkers have criticised maps for condensing the landscape into dead spaces where rich multi-sensory interactions are absent. It is impossible to be in a place and to view it objectively, as a map would have us believe. This got me thinking about the idea of 'tactile maps'. Can some of the sensory aspects of landscape be combined with the language of cartography?
Indeed, this is something that the Inuit peoples practice. They create wooden 'coast-line' maps (Ammassalik)which help them navigate the difficult tundra terrain from the warmth of their gloves and pockets.
So far I have tried needle punching, stitch and burning with joss sticks. As one traverses the land, they can run their hands over a raised depiction of their path.
I have come onto my MA Illustration course without a practical art background. I studied History of Art at undergraduate, so am in many ways, a 'naive' artist. Mainly self-taught, my work is often intuitive and my first attempts at lino printing have resonated with my level of artistic training. You naturally have less control over a carving tool than a pen and the surface is a lot more unforgiving than paper; the nature of the medium resists fine details and exact lines. These works are inspired by recent visits to holy sites and the legends that surround those places.
On 27th December, I went for a walk along the Roaches. I was drawn to this place due to the folklore surrounding Doxey's Pool, a small body of water on top of the crags. Legend has it that a Siren haunts the lake, dragging unsuspecting passers by into its ink depths. It is also said that birds refuse to fly over it, instead choosing to amend their flight path. I'm fascinated by the way landscapes take on human characteristics and how those attributes become ubiquitous in the common psyche. I did some stamping in situ, in an attempt to capture the essence of the land whilst I was immersed in it.