On returning to Grizedale

During the residency with us in September, Anna was perhaps most impacted by our time in Grizedale, a place she already had associations with. In her blog, she shares what this means for her, and the key issues that she wants to portray in the prints she will be making, drawing on photographs and text collected from and inspired by the residency.

On this residency I wanted to revisit places which hold feelings and memories for me. When I first moved up to the Lakes I lived in Grizedale Forest. This soon turned out to be a very difficult and testing time. I soon felt alone, without social connections, phone signal, Internet, and family break up at the same time, I found myself experiencing intense feelings of isolation and loneliness. Whether created by my surroundings or coinciding with that time in my life, the forest became a container for these feelings, which resurface whenever I revisit the area.

I love being outdoors, and the landscape and environment of Cumbria, however I’m still working through these feelings and issues a few years later. I felt like this residency could be a vehicle for me to explore different viewpoints in the landscape and attempt to revisit and reframe this time in my life.

Wordsworth presents isolation in the landscape as something to be aspired to, the image of the single man as lone surveyor of the scene, at home in the landscape. An innate pull towards nature as the answer. I find his words inspiring, and love being in the landscape, however I feel that his words don’t always connect with my own experience of the landscape, that there is more to say.

I was struck by the tradition whereby the Herdwicks are hefted to the fell on which they live. An invisible map passed from mother to lamb, an intricate knowledge of their place and where their bounds lie – where they belong. We heard from Rob & Harriet that following the foot and mouth outbreak when farmers lost so many sheep, that this knowledge was also lost and took generations to be restored. An uprooting, all fences fell away.

I want to talk about rural isolation. I feel there is something to be worked through still by returning openly to the place which in part carries these difficult feelings.

Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.

Links

Grizedale Forest

The Wordsworth Trust at Dove Cottage

Previous Residents’ blogs: Melissa Davies and Emmie Coxey

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