Our first Visiting Artist (VA) came today. The Darlington-based poet Jo Colley drove up to see us and we spent the afternoon out in the sunny weather. The three of us walked from Beadnell Harbour to the Long Nanny bird sanctuary. The tide was just on the turn from high water and there was seaweed, bits of crab shell and broken urchins all along the water line. Just before the footbridge – at the National Trust signpost for High Newton – we sat and enjoyed the view. Mel worked on her second study of the estuary, while Jo and I talked about poetry, family, first loves and formative memories. These are Jo’s photographs.
Jo Colley: reflection
Seaweed: not strewn but curated by the sea. Positioned along the shoreline. Up close, it is a discarded pelt, a shed skin from a sea creature, or a mermaid’s fancy dress. Exhibited now for black backed gulls, dog walkers, and we three. The sea changes all the time, not one single drop is static or fixed. I walk this line, follow the emphatic print of your walking boots, lean on the wind while the weight of water hits the land over and over again.
Jo and I did no writing in situ but sometimes that’s OK. Being present in an environment is an important part of an artist’s practice. As a project VA Jo will send us her response when she creates it. That could be tomorrow, next week, or months from now. The creative process is mysterious and hard to pin down and all we want from our VAs is that they be present in the moment and share what this lovely piece of coast made them feel and/or make.