I am gradually building up a series of trials and tests of prints through weekly visits to open access sessions at Swansea Print Workshop. I don’t exactly know where they will go, but as I work I am getting a very good idea of what is possible and impossible, and taking note, as I learn, as to what feels like a good direction.
The prints are based on my morning walking, which I have been tending to do on afootpath through woods, near to where I take my son for his college bus. To get there, I turn at the main road in Cwmmawr, and cross Pont Tir Clai, go up past the horse fields, and park the car at Pont Andrew. Then I wander along the footpath, usually very slowly with much stopping, down towards the opencast workings or up towards the edge of the village, following along the side of Afon Goch as it twists and drops down in its shales.
If this valley is a quilt, these woods are on a seam, running along a torn roughly repaired edge. Their feeling: improvised and risky, wild. Full of growth and decay, jumble and impasse. The remains of Dynant Fawr opencast colliery are to either side, and it is wet land. Water runs on the surface of land which has been put back all wrong, pooling and muddy marshing, clays bleeding rust red into the stream. I have a sense of a place that has been flayed and hastily covered, then abandoned and left to find its own way back to health. Scored, dug, heaped, cut into, built on and temporarily fenced and roaded, piled back; this land is growing back over itself even as it bleeds. But I think, from what I can hear and see as I walk, that the place is self-healing and repairing; re-clothing itself in a sweetly disordered and glorious cloak, and slipping sideways through the threshold of a surer way of being in time.