Jane O’Sullivan, 8 – 14 January 2022

In early January I was lucky enough to return to Brisons Veor for a second residency.

In mid-December I had been on a workshop with renowned folk artist Julie Arkell at Loop in London. (https://loopknitting.com/collections/julie-arkell)

She gave each of the participants one of her paper mache creatures and we spent the day dressing it from her stash of vintage fabrics and beautiful wool collection. Mine is shown above. It was one of the most relaxing, creative and fulfilling workshops I have attended.  I decided there and then that my residency would be spent making some small paper mache items and I would try to recreate that relaxing atmosphere for a whole week.

In preparation for the residency, I made batches of paper mache from books, stamps, egg boxes and envelopes. I had also scoured charity shops and was thrilled to find some floral-patterned cotton fabric which evoked a vivid memory of the bedroom my mother had created for me as a teenager.  She was a whiz on a sewing machine and made curtains, a duvet cover, pillowcases and covered an old blanket box in the same fabric. Even the wallpaper was the same pattern. There was so much brown and white pattern in that bedroom it is etched into my memory like a metal printing plate!

I arrived at Brisons Veor with a vague idea of making some small sculptures but no definite idea of what they might be. I had found washed up plastic bottles and polystyrene between the rocks in Priest’s Cove and knew I had my starting point. Back at the cottage, I covered them in paper mache. Soon some little characters started to emerge.

My maternal grandmother ran a haberdashery and often sent my mother the end “bolts” of material. She would get on her industrial sewing machine (which was set up in the corner of the lounge) and start to make different items of clothing – trousers, shirts, waistcoats, skirts – for all my playmates who lived on the same street. There always seemed to be enough material so that everyone had something to wear!  As my creatures emerged it was obvious they were the characters I remember from the street and school.
There was the innocent one, the teacher’s pet, the one who never took his coat or hat off, the naughty one who wore his tie on his head, and the class clown!

Brisons Veor is in a spectacular spot near St Just.   If you need space to create, in an inspiring environment and enjoy the outdoors, I cannot recommend this place enough. A short walk along the coast road will take you to Kurt Jackson’s gallery. There is a nice café very close by. The local community are welcoming and there is a man-made swimming pool in Priest’s Cove where the brave go swimming on a daily basis throughout the year!

I am gathering quite a collection of items that I would like to exhibit in 2022. The week at Brisons Veor gave me an opportunity to add something a little different, but still with the same themes around recycling, memory and textiles.

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