Intro

The image is a predominantly black rectangle with a small round peephole view on the right hand side. Through the rounded hole which is slightly faded at the edges you can see a closed eye, an eyebrow, a nose and the top of a lip topped with a mustache. It's almost an image of the artist!

Hey, I’m Hamza welcome to my studio. I’m a self-taught multimedia artist and researcher. I’m an able-bodied male-conditioned, postcolonial person. My work is informed by continuous conversations with the people I love as much as any reading, listening and observing.

I’m using this residency to resume an investigation I started some time ago (before getting distracted by another project). Mark of My Departure (MOMD) is preoccupied with the South Asian diasporic experience. The centerpiece of the work is a 7 minute visual collage set to an original composition.

I will use the time afforded to me in the residency to continue the collection and tessellation of related postcolonial images and ideas. I am aiming to produce a supporting body of work so that the video is held within an expanded context.

When you step into my studio, you should smell my aunties homemade garam masala slowly infusing into fried onions on the stovetop. Poke around the work you find and if you have any questions or comments do not hesitate to leave them in the comments section.

Sending love,

Hamza

A Holy Place

Black and White Pyramid. Kofi is inscribed inside the pyramid.
@Pyramidkofi

I am Amaqhawekazi Emafini Malamlela(She/They), a Ghanaian-South African multidisciplinary Artist. Welcome to my shrine. As an artist, what influences my work is the deep sense of spirituality, identity and sexuality. 

Dance, Theatre, Performance Art, visual art and sound previously shaped the artwork I created. I am currently interested in exploring ideas of Space-Time and what it is to have a body and ritual as a process of creating sacred spaces. This residency is the opportunity to further experiment with film and how to translate sacred space onto digital platforms. 

This is a sacred space where I will reinvigorate my creative practice, taking a leap on new concepts and digging deeper with research. I will share with you Trumu Fetish, an artwork dedicated to bringing forth a Transgender deity. Trumu Fetish is a multidisciplinary artwork building a world of faithfulness. Visual art is key to the longevity of the belief and the castration of patriarchal symbols. Durational Performance Art: through the body summon the spirit of the deity. And through literature give rise to intimate comprehension.

Please, take a moment and join me as I unpack my creative process with you. You can expect video, text, images and weekly updates throughout this residency. You are welcome to leave comments and questions. Again, welcome to my shrine.

Tongues

If I told you that my name should be spelt Istabraq but that at the borders of this country, those deciding the status of my family using a language which struggles to identify it, didn’t have patience enough to actually say.my.name…

Would you believe me?

Estabrak. It’s official. I mean, English tongues can say it.

Iss-tub-bruq is how it’s pronounced. And A rough silk only found in heaven is it’s meaning.

>> a reading of the text above for those who need it<<

THOUGHT EXPERIMENT

mixed media collage artwork of multiple figures, objects and symbols interacting in a visual poetry.

Often before starting a piece I’ll do a rough sketch with notes of ideas for it. Looking through these rough sketches I felt the end piece always lost some sincere venerableness that the early sketches had, as if I was uninhibited  knowing no one would ever see these rough takes. I wondered what a balance between the sincere sketches and polished final artwork would look like. Which is where the sketchy erratic almost unfinished feel to the piece came from. This piece is like a visual diary, a live stream of my thoughts at the time, even going as far as including the tools I used to create the piece, as if this was a blank canvas I was projecting my thoughts on to. While creating this piece I felt off balance, thinking back to regrets of the past, or worrying about the future instead of being balanced in the present moment. being a self employed artist comes with many pros and cons which I explored in this piece. The main type of commission I work on are album artworks for musicians, these artworks need to be the perfect square to fit the size of the album cover, I started to feel boxed in my this same type of canvas with fears of repeating myself, using up my creativity on others work, losing love for what I do, but needing to make money. Even with my personal artworks, I wondered if I was creating as a distraction so I didn’t have to stop, be still and just think. I felt I was in a never ending cycle with all these different versions of myself (the freelancer, the artist, past and future) all colliding in an anxiety filled mess. despite this piece being personal, I felt drawing myself would instantly make the piece about one thing. me. But I wanted anyone to be able to project themselves onto these figures, which is why I often leave faces quite abstract to detach any one identity.  Identity was another thing I was thinking a lot about, and how being a POC growing up in England is a kind of psychological obstacle everyone has to go through. Growing up being taught to love and respect a culture that doesn’t do the same back, and how it can create inner conflict from early ages. Despite going to some fairly dark and painful places with this piece, It still has a fun childish energy about it. Often when I’m working I feel I’m doing a balancing act between my inner child who’s the artist and my inner adult who’s the editor that cuts the fat and gives the piece more intention. So I think this childish optimistic feel comes from me naturally not taking myself too seriously, wanting to create art to be fun, enjoyed and give the viewer the feeling of being a child looking at something with curious wide eyes. Despite art being tired up with all these different aspects of my life like my work, passion, self worth, identity. Creating this piece reminded me to just enjoy/embrace the process and have fun with it. 

AUGMENTED REALITY AND DARKROOM PRINTING

I am interested exploring darkroom printing with AR. Furthering on my work from the other week I’ve carried on exploring Anna Atkins cyanotype printed and edited them to create into an AR artwork.

Anna Atkins cyanotype print which has a blue background and white outline of leaves on top.
Anna Atkins cyanotype print which has a blue background and white outline of a plant on top
Anna Atkins cyanotype print which has a blue background and white outline of a leaf on top
Anna Atkins cyanotype print which has a blue background and white outline of a plant on top
Anna Atkins cyanotype print which has a blue background and white outline of 3 fern leaves on top
Anna Atkins cyanotype print which has a blue background and white outline of 9 ferns on top.
“Anna Atkins, Ferns. Specimen of Cyanotype, 1840s, cyanotype, overall: 26.3 x 20.8 cm (10 3/8 x 8 3/16 in.), R. K. Mellon Family Foundation, 2007.15.1”

Vectary

Scan the QR codes to see further AR works.

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One of Anna Atkins leaves created in Adobe Illustrator and Vectary with the Anna Atkins print used as a material. Photograph taken over rhubarb leaves.
One of Anna Atkins leaves created in Adobe Illustrator and Vectary with the Anna Atkins print used as a material. Photo is of the leaf placed over grass with a fence and a dog in the background.
One of Anna Atkins leaves created in Adobe Illustrator and Vectary with the Anna Atkins print used as a material. Photo is of the leaf placed in a bed of dying tulips.
One of Anna Atkins leaves created in Adobe Illustrator and Vectary with the Anna Atkins print used as a material. Photo is of the leaf placed in a bed of little blue flowers.
One of Anna Atkins leaves created in Adobe Illustrator and Vectary with the Anna Atkins print used as a material. Photo is of the leaf placed in a rose bush with one tiny yellow rose that is currently growing.

Adobe Aero

Scan the QR codes to open your Adobe Aero app to see further works.

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A cut out of an Anna Atkins cyanotype that is floating in the air with a garden behind it. If you click on the link it will take you to footage on YouTube of me walking around the work.
Photo of one of the Adobe Illustrator works with a garden behind and a dog in the distance.
Anna Atkins cyanotype that I've edited in Adobe Illustrator is sitting on grass with a garden behind it. If you click on the link it will take you to footage on YouTube where the work in bouncing.
Anna Atkins cyanotype that I've edited in Adobe Illustrator and now in Vectary with the print of the outline of the plant as a material. If you click on the link you should be able to see it in Vectary.

PORTALS

Portals are familiar tropes used as convenient plot devices in fantasy and science fiction stories. This convenience serves both the storyteller and audience by removing prolonged travel and any otherwise necessary scientific/technological/magical explanation.

The character enters a portal from our world and emerges into an unfamiliar one governed by different systems.

The moment of intense change between the two sets of existence is described as liminality. In sociology, liminality is defined as a civilizational shift. While in anthropology, it refers to undertaking a rite of passage. In architecture, it refers to anything from a doorway to an airport. In regards to the landscape, beaches serve as the liminal space between land and sea.

When used in science fiction, the portal is a device that develops themes that makes audiences consider the human condition through the juxtaposition of the old and the new normal. The use of portals emphasizes liminality as both a creative and destructive process. To enter the unknown, something must be confronted or sacrificed in the old self or the old world for the new self or the new world to come into being. Itself a symbolic abstraction that compresses and concentrates experience and meaning, the portal becomes a threshold of acute conflict.

pre-residency interview with Jamie

A still from a video. Two superimposed images in bright harsh colours, in the centre of it there is a wooden figurine/doll with a hula hoop on its hips. The figurine has blonde wooden hair in a bob, light skin tone, it is wearing a wooden miniskirt in dusty blue and a red crop top that says BALLS.
Film still from a video for Ping Pong Bitches / Mommies live performance, violet marchenkova.

Jamie Wyld: Thanks for being part of the Vital Capacities residency programme! Can you say a little about yourself and your work, perhaps in relation to what you’re thinking about doing during the residency?

violet marchenkova: So I am a moving image artist, writer, and community organiser. I make short experimental first person films, some people say they are like visual poems of sorts. I haven’t been able to make a film since 2019, when I had a residency at ONCA Barge, so I’m really excited to reconnect with that part of me and see where and how my practice can develop.

My roots are in being an art historian and documentary practitioner – so I’m hyperaware of the money and power that make artworks in history what they are, and I’m very critical of how realism is signalled and how the truth is constructed. That’s just what goes on in my head most of the time.

I’m currently thinking about the theme “Environment” in terms of accessibility frameworks, experiences of isolation, domestic spaces used for feminist organising (and how we lost that during lockdowns), UK’s hostile environment policy, the designed environment of the house that I’m currently in but being evicted from.

Otherwise, I’m looking at some Wolfgang Tillmans’ artist books I got gifted, I’m reading “No Bad Parts” about internal family systems, I’ve just received my copy of Ф Письмо by isolarii with Russian feminist poetry (that I’m too scared to read because it’s too close to my heart), and I’m watching Queer Eye to sleep because apparently, I’m not okay unless a see a group hug every 5-10 minutes. That is what’s in my field of awareness at the moment.

JW: One of the aims of Vital Capacities is to create an accessible site (so more people can use it) – how do you think this will be an opportunity to develop your way of working?

vm: I love that website. It strikes me as this luscious garden patch, where all kinds of pieces – from voice notes and unfinished thoughts to complete videos – can sit together, cross-pollinate.

I never had a real artist studio! And my whole adult life I’ve been stuck between art institutions and DIY art scenes – between the institutionally validated ways of working and rebellious acts – which is not the worst place to be but it brought a lot of inconsistencies to my life that I used to not know how to hold.

For my creative practice to flourish, and even to simply exist, I’ve always felt like I needed to first organise spaces and structures where art like mine could be appreciated. I think that is what drove me to put so much energy into community organising with Devil’s Dyke Network. Art needs to be shared and when you can’t see any contexts or venues or projects that your work could unapologetically fit in (or those are too out of reach) – you start questioning yourself.

So yeah, seeing this virtual space already set up for me, that is so versatile and served so many different artists before me – I feel held! and ready to express and document ideas.

JW: What would you like to achieve through the residency? Is there a particular project you’ll be focusing on?

vm: Honestly, I just intend to be the most neuroqueer artist version of myself that I can be and stop apologising for it, for being different, for any of that.

In previous residencies, or while at uni, I’ve always struggled with my failing to “do things properly” or was insecure about my film practice, unaware how neuroqueerness draws me to new and unexpected paths that are equally as valid. There’s too much professionalisation of the artist that’s gone down in the past decades, and I don’t think I can perform that to any good outcome. And I think I’m at peace with that.

The thing is that many disabled artists are perpetually emerging, we are constantly stuck in being emerging artists because the consistency and progression that we expect in an artist’s career are jeopardised by barriers to access and the shortage of opportunities. Disability often directly relates to our capacity for labour so things like long periods of inability to work, and maybe just general ableism of the art world are major exclusionary forces. So, honestly, I’m just here to take this paid time, focus on my art and see what needs to be said.

JW: How do you see the next few weeks unfolding? Where would you like it to take you?

vm: My art practice never works out in a planned-out cause-and-effect way. I just love listening to Alexis Pauline Gumbs talk about receptivity and being a vessel, our practice being a portal. Whatever comes through us is a gift. No ego, no control, just receiving.

Usually, I just kind of sketch out ideas, listen to what asks to be made visible. Filmmaking is a space for me where I can speak in a language that is true to me, as opposed to the life of writing narratives on other people’s terms (disability assessments, funding applications, social media, stuff I write in my day job).

I’m looking forward to just sitting down to look at the footage I have accumulated (some important pieces from visiting Latvia and Scotland), playing around with editing, writing a bit more, maybe a new script.

Introduction video with Jess Starns

Transcript:

[00:00:00] Jess: I’m Jess Starns and my creative practice is participatory collaborative and inclusive with a focus on disability, neurodiversity, or history. It is also multi-disciplinary with materials and approaches formed by the theme of the project. I have an interest in using digital technology creatively and finding new tools to create art.

I am neurodivergent and due to my dexterity, I’m always looking for new, innovative ways to create art that is accessible to me. A big part of my creative practice is finding accessible tools to collaborate with others, to create art. That doesn’t seem like you are creating art. I also have a background in working in museums with young people and with communities.

A few examples of work I have created before is Bungaroosh, projection mapping piece. Bungaroosh is a composite building material, mostly used in Brighton from the mid 18th to 19th centuries. And Bungaroosh is made of broken bricks, cobblestones, flint, pebbles, sand with chalk and set in hydraulic line. I projection mapped onto stones film and photographs of buildings made from Bungaroosh.

During the first two lockdowns, I organised virtual walks to break down the feeling of isolation whilst we were all social distancing. Using Google street view and Zoom I went on virtual walks with others. I asked the participants if they would like to share places that are important to them, they are missing or places they would like to visit. 

The 23rd of July 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the education of handicapped children’s act in 1970, the act marked for the first time or children of compulsory school age had a right to an education. I gathered audio recordings about people’s experiences of the education system to produce an audio piece telling these stories.

During my residency, I would like to explore the Sussex landscape. 

Audio description of photographs in the film

Artists from Hong Kong & UK join Vital Capacities, April 22

April residents, from left to right: Jess Starns, Andrew Luk, violet marchenkova

For the sixth Vital Capacities residency, we partner with Videotage (Hong Kong) to work with artists from both Hong Kong and the UK. From 1 April, artists Andrew Luk, Jess Starns and violet marchenkova will join Vital Capacities, to undertake research and develop new work. Working with our partners, they will explore and exchange new ideas using their studio spaces, and create new work throughout the residency.

Got to artists’ studios to find out more about them and see what they’re working on: Andrew Luk, violet marchenkova and Jess Starns.

Call out: online residency for 2 disabled, D/deaf and/or Neurodivergent artists based in Brighton & Hove

Installation shot of Laura Lulika's virtual exhibition Body Builder which is made up of several images including a leaping football mascot with a sunshine head, a TV with football on in an old style wood walled pub, another leaping mascot with a parrot head and wing arms, a wooden pub bar with a glowing blue server, and an android with multiple heads sat down holding a glowing ball.
Laura Lulika, Body Builder (installation shot), 2021

We are delivering a month-long online residency exchange in collaboration with Videotage in Hong Kong as part of videoclub and Videotage’s seventh Both Sides Now programme.

Residencies will take place on Vital Capacities and on Videotage’s Minecraft residency. Residencies will take place in February 2022. Deadline for submissions is: 12 January 2022. Work will be shown as part of Third Thursdays in March 2022. 

To submit a simple expression of interest and to find out more click here.

Reverberation – latest exhibition

Image represents four artists work, top left: a still image from Siphenathi Mayekiso’s film Echoes of Identity, which shows a man with bare chest and arms across his face against a blue sky; top right: a still image from Rebekah Ubuntu’s film Ecologies of Belonging (a Meditation in Progress), which shows a person standing in the centre of a sandy footpath with long grass either side, in the distance to the left if the sea and clouds in the sky; bottom right: a still image from Nadine Mckenzie’s film A Will, My Wheels and a Way, which shows a young woman sat in a wheelchair reflected in a mirror, a wall of windows shows buildings and blue sky outside; bottom left picture: a dirt track footpath leads into the distance through a field, the ground is a deep red, making the grass on the sides of the path almost black in colour, trees can be seen on the horizon in the distance with clouds and a little blue sky above.
All four artists’ work, beginning bottom right clockwise: Nadine Mckenzie, A Will, My Wheels and a Way, 2021; …kruse, Directionsgreat to Storyplace, 2021; Siphenathi Mayekiso, Echoes of Identity, 2021; artwork still, ‘Ecologies of Belonging (a Meditation in Progress)’ by Rebekah Ubuntu, courtesy of the Artist. Find Rebekah online @rebekahubuntu.

Our latest exhibition includes new work by August’s resident artists Nadine Mckenzie, …kruse, Siphenathi Mayekiso and Rebekah Ubuntu. Each artist has produced work that resonates with the work they did throughout their residency, reflecting on memory, personal narratives, experience, and movement. See the exhibition from 30 September at 11am.

Word drawings

It’s very interesting, going back and visiting old work. I tend to be consumed by new work, absorbed in my making and thinking. When my practice focused on drawing, drawing was all I wanted to do. For a while, a walk without a walking drawing was a wasted walk. My excitement and enthusiasm for the drawings gripped my mind totally.


So re-visiting the process of making walking drawings for this residency I expected to have that same consuming interest, and at first I definitely was excited and enjoyed seeing the work that was produced. Then as the days went on the work became frustrating. I felt stuck and I felt like I had gone backwards in some way. My focus has changed, my work is currently engaged with word crafting, I felt in some strange way that I was letting my practice down by attending to drawing, despite how much I love drawing as an art form. It was a very uncomfortable moment in this residency.

After wrestling with this problem and talking to artist friends I realised that I have definitely moved on from making drawings in the old style, with the drawing devices. But I haven’t finished making drawings per se, I realised that I have just changed the medium with which I make drawings.

I’ve written quite a lot during this residency and I was idly thinking about drawing, writing and the possibility of drawing with words. I wondered what the writing I have done for this residency would look like in a word cloud? I was thinking that perhaps I have used particular words very often and maybe looking at those words would inspire me to create something interesting for my final exhibition piece.

So I pasted my posts into some word cloud software. There were some interesting results, so I decided to copy and paste the words into Google docs and play around with them, trying to find some way of drawing with words. Surprisingly, when I pasted the word cloud words into the document I discovered that many of the words had somehow been stuck together, forming new and rather wonderful words. For instance, fungi and old became fungiold, way and road became wayroad, breath and raven, breathraven.

Reader, my brain exploded. Okay, not literally, but I was so excited to see these wonderful, randomly created new words. The process felt simillar to how I used to make drawings, in that I would set up an experiment which had an element of the unexpected and/or random process and then metaphorically step back and allow the outcome to generate itself. In drawing, that is effected when I design a device for making a drawing based on some input not deliberately controlled by my hand, as when the pen in the device moves because I am walking.

Using the word cloud felt similar. I wrote the initial words and input them into the word cloud, therefore setting up the conditions for something to happen, yet it was the way the word cloud software handled the text and the Google software handled the copy and paste process that determined the outcome of the combined words.

These combined words placed together in an arbitrary collection are word drawings, maybe even a poem. But I am the mother of a poet and I have enormous respect and awe for a poet’s effort and creativity in combining words and meaning and I feel that to call what I have created poetry is incorrect, even audacious. They are word drawings; odd, sometimes beautiful, nonsense in which we may nonetheless see meaning.

Just as I make the decision what type of pen or what colour ink to use in a walking drawing, therefore having some aesthetic control over the final drawings, so I took some control over the placement of words in my word drawings. Mostly, I left them as they were arranged by the word cloud software, but in some cases I moved them around and I sometimes inserted words, such as go, and or where to break up the list and improve the rhythm or flow of the piece.

Finally, I used some Open Source software called Twine to gather all the words into an interactive word drawing. Readers determine what text will be displayed on screen by clicking on the highlighted words, therefore having a different experience with each reading, depending on which words are selected.

I’m very happy with this result! I never could have imagined getting to here from where I began on this residency, back at the beginning of August. What is really exciting for me is that this feels like the start of a new way of working, a new stream to my practice, which is always evolving anyway. It was so good to pass through that uncomfortable place, revisiting the walking drawings, to come to this. Sometimes, being an artist is like walking along a path, one with switchbacks and branchlines and where the path ahead is often completely obscured by the trees.

Ten failed drawings

Okay, they are not exactly failures, in fact they are very lovely drawings I think. These are some of the walking drawings I have made over the last couple of weeks. Most are black ink on paper but three are on clear acetate and one is on a dried green leaf.

Black and white abstract drawing, ink on acetate. A tangle of short, straight and curved lines drawn with a brush pen.

These drawings have all been created using a very simple drawing device I made using wire, cardboard and a copper spring. I suspend a ink pen from the copper spring and take the whole contraption for a walk, the pen drawing as I move.

Black and white abstract drawing, ink on paper. A dense tangle of very short lines going in all directions but forming almost a circle. Small dots of ink decorate the edges of the drawing.

I’ve been attempting to film the process, with varying results. I bought myself an iPad, hoping for better film results, but it’s new technology for me and is currently proving quite frustrating, not least in the weird placement of the iPad camera to the far right of the device, which is really awkward in the drawing device. I might go back to my simple, but trusty mobile phone!

Black and white abstract drawing, ink on paper. Delicate, short, feathery lines made with a brush pen at the center and center top of the page, forming a roughly circular shape.

So back to the drawing board (or drawing device I should say)…

Black and white abstract drawing, ink on paper. Delicate, lines and dots form an almost triangular shape. The lines crisscross over each other.
Black and white abstract drawing, ink on paper. Close up image of a very dense roughly circular drawing made with thick, short, feathery lines going in all directions
Photograph of a dried green hazel leaf decorated with dense black ink lines in the centre of the leaf. The ink marks mostly go in the same vertical direction and cross over each other in the centre.
Black and white abstract drawing, ink on acetate. The lines go in all directions forming a roughly circular, spidery shape. The ink remains wet and forms little blobs of thicker pigment along each line.
Black and white abstract drawing, ink on tracing paper. A small roughly square tangle of thick ink lines decorates the centre of the page. One single fine line is drawn from the right edge of the page, not quite meeting the tangle of lines.
Black and white abstract drawing, ink on acetate. two ink blobs sit side by side roughly in the centre of the page. The blobs swirl in roughly circular form where they have been wiped with a cloth or rag.
The Black and white abstract drawing, ink on acetate. The image is full of movement, lines made in many different directions. The ink has not dried and has pooled in blobs along the drawn lines and in the centre of the drawing.

Spinning the lines

Last year I began toying with writing a novel. It’s not gone anywhere yet and on re-reading it’s fairly dire, as all first novel attempts are allowed to be.

One of the central characters in this story is a wild, grey haired woman who may or may not be centuries old and profoundly occult. She came to me as a vivid image, a woman in a long yellow coat walking the lanes and roads of Britain constantly twisting her fingers, which others think is a mere tic. What her twitching fingers are really doing is spinning unseen lines of magical force across the land.

“We were important people us spinsters. An’ I was one of the best. So they made me what I am today. Did the ritual, gave me to Britain. Spinster. Spinner. Walking the lines, spinning the magic.”

So. I am at that lovely (sarcasm that) stage in making when I have many ideas and no resolution. Yet. I’ve been dissatisfied with the drawing device work, feeling like it hit a dead end, uninspired with my results but feeling somehow nagged by the work, like it still had a way to go, even if I couldn’t see how to resolve it.

At the same time I’ve been thinking a lot about paths and walking and at the same time continuing to work on a long term project I am developing, called AuTCRONE Chronicles, which attempts to voice my grief about the current global ecological stupidity humans are embroiled in.

Anyway, one of the characters in the project (it’s a speculative fiction project) walks. She is a near immortal nomad bearing witness to climate disaster.

I want to write about her walking and have been thinking about how to tell the story of her walking even as I have been walking paths for this residency. And at the same time I’ve been making and filming walking drawings. I’m thinking stories and making drawings and have been unable to resolve either work and it’s been driving me mad!

Then I read the words I wrote for that occult character in the abandoned terrible novel and I think I’ve had a lightbulb moment.

What you don’t know about me is that I started my art career working exclusively with textile. I’m still a regular knitter (because I make all my clothes. And that’s another story) and I can spin on a drop spindle. I can spin on a drop spindle and walk at the same time. And so maybe I can gather up the threads of my making and storytelling and work them into something that might possibly involve spinning, drawing and storytelling.

It’s getting late and I’m tired after a long day walking but I think this idea might have legs. I’m going to run with it, metaphorically speaking. Goodnight.

The path is

Multi-layered digital image of paths the artist …kruse has walked along, with text from the poem, The Path Is, written by …kruse.
Audio reading of the poem The Path Is.

This had been a week of deep thinking and much doing. Most of the doing has not been about this residency though, which has been frustrating. This has been a very ovewhelming month. I’m not a summer person and August is often a rather fraught month, maybe for others too?


Anyway, there’s been a lot going on and I have found myself on a couple of occasions this week walking on the few paths I can find near my home with a feeling that is like a little half dried out sea creature crawling down the sand to the blessed water.

I think about the people in Afghanistan and their desperate scrambling for sanctuary. I think about all the people who take to the road to flee terror and danger.

Going to the path, even in my privileged life, can be necessary medicine, sanctuary, peace. I wrote this poem while walking along a path, feeling a deep need for green spaces and the peace of trees. I wanted it to feel a little bit like a prayer, particularly the ‘celtic’ lorica or caim, which is a prayer for protection, asked either for the self, or as a blessing for others. These incantations contain a lot of repetitive elements. I think many of them were written or created (most come from a time when there was very low literacy, and the loricas may have been passed on by word of mouth). They feel to me like walking poems, that is, they fit the pace and rhythm of walking.