Thursday, 7 July 2011


Hello, My name’s Clare Thornton & I’m the recipient of the Laura Ashley Foundation Residency Award.I’ve been in residence here since the beginning of May 2011 and will be so for another 4 weeks.

The studio's here are great spaces to work in and I've been jamming with some incredible people in the past weeks.By way of introduction I’d describe my practice as interdisciplinary and collaborative and I work across performance, visual art and craft to create performance events, print/book works and mixed media installations.

A key part of the Laura Ashley Foundation’s support for my residency here at Aberystwyth Arts Centre was to encourage local engagement with my practice. With the aim of creating the right conditions for that engagement I developed Materials Matters - a social, participatory installation in the gallery space which I hosted from 28th May-9th June with collaborative support from Aberystwyth based artist Ali Matthews, who is a Ph.D. student at the University and researching participatory performance and relational practices.

In the lead up to this event I established a small network of community contacts guided by the Arts Centre team and the call went out through its diverse networks for local residents to bring me an object to the gallery space that might tell me something about them or their local area...

So Material Matters was an invitation to join in.
A way of opening up of a creative research process.
A process that involved a good deal of chat (dialogue plays a key role in my work), as in fact does Collecting/examining objects and the memories we tenderly fold into them.

Material Matters was curious about people's interaction with each other, their physical and emotional relationship with objects and with place or context/situation.

The proposition was to create a 3D landscape of Aberystwyth, an emotional, biographical landscape if you like, shaped through the objects shared with me by local residents.

It was a kind of mapping process. A shifting, sculptural installation transformed daily by the participants active contribution and transactions with the artists and the objects displayed.

This activity works alongside my interests in revealing the processes of production and inviting people into discussions around contemporary art production.

So now that installation has been de-installed and the objects returned to their owners, its time to move out of the gallery and back into the studio. I'm using this part of my residency as reflection time and using the studio space to begin to consider how I might transform the materials I have gathered through this social, public research process.

I would like to work with these encounters: with people, objects, gesture, conversation and explore how I might transform these 'fragile materials' into performance movements (to camera), sculptural forms & works on paper.

I'm excited to use the studio space here to work more physically and try out some movement ideas. I'm really pleased to have met Louise Ritchie, a Ph.D. student here, as I like to engage with her research around the 'In All Languages' movement vocabulary. And look at how I may introduce that into my studio practice.

I’ll let you know how I get on...

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