How did you get involved with The Way It Is Project?
I have been working with CAP, as a freelance community artist since the organisation began and have built a good friendship/relationship with Heather Douglas who is the coordinator for the Trash Fashion Programme. She got in touch with me to ask if this was something I might be interested in taking part in. I was absolutely delighted to be given this exciting but challenging opportunity.
The project connects poets with artists?
Yes this was a new and interesting way of working for me, letting me think about text whereas I usually only think visually. Marion Clarke, my partner on the project, asked me to give her some words that would describe my work this was really insightful for me and I found a new word that I did not know existed that described exactly what I was trying to capture in my painting. This was ” Euterria”, A positive feeling of oneness with the earth and its life forces. Wow.
You are happy to work with a poet?
Absolutely over the moon about this and as I said I was partnered with Marion Clarke who’s work I greatly admire. Coincidently we were childhood friends and in the same class at primary school in Warrenpoint. This gave us such a deep connection with our shared history and environment. Marion has a wonderful way of demystifying literature for those of us who are not so poetically gifted. She guided me through her work and gave me an invaluable education in the structure of writing poetry.
Are you working collaboratively?
Yes we are. Although we are working separately and in our own manner our work has been unified by our common bonds which are our families, illness, loss, grieving, the community that supports us, the power of nature and the elements within it and most of all the restorative powers of the landscape of Carlingford Lough. These flow through both our work.
Where are you up to now?
My paintings are at the framers and I have submitted the digital images to CAP. Marion has been very prolific and sent a few written works into Conor who is going to select which he thinks the most appropriate for the publication.
Has it all been over zoom?
No we have found messenger to work quite well for us. We did have a socially distanced meeting in Marion’s gloriously Mediterranean style back garden, which was invaluable in setting us up for work on our joint creations.
Is the project almost completed?
Yes well from our side of things. Images of the work are to be published in a book and there will be an exhibition of the original art and written works.