Cherise Ward’s Residency – Week 1 Report

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“A Journey of the Imagination”

Before starting the residency, I attended a talk at Fresh Milk by three artists who spoke about their residency experiences. After hearing these, I was determined to start the residency (my first) with a clear mind and willingness to embrace new ideas.

Day one of the ‘My Time’ residency started with a talk with Annalee, where we discussed my intentions for how I will spend my time, and emphasised the importance of experimenting and exploring ideas over the necessity of producing finished work. I had a tour of the facilities, and then I took some time to explore the expansive grounds. Fresh Milk has a lot of space to explore: cows, chickens, the sounds of birds, breeze, plants, trees, flowers, and a swing. It was very easy to feel relaxed, and with a clear mind, I was excited to get started.

On that first day, Annalee recommended a few books for me to look through. One of them, The Art of James Christensen: A Journey of the Imagination perfectly summed up my intentions for how I will spend my time during the four weeks at Fresh Milk.

My plans for this residency included developing ideas for a story, and using this as the main inspiration for sculptural explorations. Week one of the residency was spent fleshing out the pages of the story. The idea was inspired by a fairytale I read for a class a number of years ago, called ‘The Doll in the Grass.” In this story, the doll falls into the water, and when she is brought to the surface, she has been transformed into a real girl. My story follows the adventures of this doll. Throughout her adventures, she is deep in thought. She laments about being made of wood, wanting to fall in love, wondering if she can without a real heart that beats, and finally, wishing she was a real girl. She is so caught up in her own thoughts that she does not realize that she is being followed by a real boy.  The story reflects the importance of being present in your life, as there is a lot you can miss out on when you are caught up on what was, or what you wish could be. (This story has a happy ending).

The imagery of the story is very much influenced by Fresh Milk’s surroundings. My work in general is inspired by nature, and there was so much to be inspired by. I decided to make the grounds of Fresh Milk her environment in the story. So this is where much of her journey takes place.

For the illustrations, I used acrylic ink on watercolour paper. This story, and these illustrations, will be the inspiration for the sculptures/puppets/toys I will work on/experiment with/explore in the coming weeks.

Follow Cherise on Tumblr for updates on her residency & practice.

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