Taratories Blog

Inspire: Wales Residency

The time change had me up until 3am last night!  I still haven't adjusted.  After I got ready in the morning I headed over to the little cafe in Corris a couple doors down called "Andy and Adams" and it was the most quaint little place!  It was like a general store and cafe in one.  There is no wifi where we are staying so I was finally able to connect there.  Having to venture out to get wifi actually is a great way to get out and meet locals... and acquire a hot cappuccino.  

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 I sat in a cozy corner with the rain pouring down outside the window next to me.  I just love listening to the locals chat, it is my absolute favorite!  I want to bottle it all up and take it home with me.  "Could you please pass the marmalade?" "What are you doing for boxing day?"  "How lovely" "Cheers mate!"  Everyone is so friendly and kind here.  

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After coffee I went with Yuki, who is a volunteer and artist here from London, to Machynlleth to run few errands.  She has a car which is handy so we drove back to where I started on Saturday on my trek to Corris.  As we drove, I took in everything around me, the winding roads leading to the stoney bridge we crossed over, the water below, the sheep ahead, the traffic signs and old cemetery... everything stands out when you are the foreigner.  

I went to the grocery store when I was in town because I was down to one banana.  What a fun adventure it was going grocery shopping!  There were so many types of food I'd never seen or heard of.  I went with a few familiar items that I loved as a child in England such as Cadbury Flake bars, Ribena, and chocolate croissants as well as your typical groceries as well.  I do feel like such an American when I am with the other artists.  When I popped in my pizza for dinner, someone else was cooking turnips and potatoes on the stove and another had sardines on a salad.  

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After we got home I got to work in my studio.  Having this time to only focus on my art and my mind and my stomach (teehee) is so refreshing!  I went downstairs to the dining room to see if I could find some books to use as inspiration.  I found a really cool book on Celtic Mythology and a huge bird book that I leafed through.  I didn't really get quite the inspiration that I was looking for so I just kept working.  One of my favorite things from this residency has been seeing what the other artists are working on in their studios and talking the language of art with them.  It is so comforting and exciting to talk to people who understand the same things as me!  Being in community with other artists is also such a resource and learning opportunity.  I can never get enough of this kind of relational learning from fellow artists.  It is really invaluable!  

A couple of the artists came into my studio to see what I have been up to and we started talking about the idea of trying to use Welsh folklore in my work.  To read about that I needed wifi, and when you need wifi in the evenings you go to the pub next door... "Slaters Arms."  

A dog greeted Yuki and I at the door and when I stepped inside I felt like I just stepped back in time.  It is the exact scene you would picture in Wales if you had to dream one up.   

A few people standing at the bar, while a man with his grey coat and newsboy hat sits by the fire while he holds the leash to his two dogs sleeping on the floor. I chatted with him for a minute about Welsh folklore and he told me a fun story about how he acquired his dogs and where their Welsh names came from.  There is something about Welsh people that I find so endearing.  I feel like I could sit down and have a chat with any of them.  I love it here so much.  

 Turns out that the hunt for inspiration was the thing that was actually inspiring...