Fresh Milk welcomes Sonia Farmer and Alex Kelly to the Platform

Fresh Milk is pleased to welcome Bahamian artist and writer Sonia Farmer and Trinbagonian artist Alex Kelly to the platform for the month of March, 2016.

Sonia will spend her time at Fresh Milk working on two main projects—one a personal creative project, and the second a wider community endeavour.

The personal writing project will be a series of experimental poems with the working title ‘The Best Estimation in the World’. Sonia will work with transcriptions gathered from interviews conducted during her work in the art department at Baha Mar, the mutli-million resort development in Nassau. Using a voice recognition software, she has collected dense blocks of mostly indistinguishable text rife with errors from these interactions. Part erasure and part found text, she will comb through the material to identify phrases and words, and separate and re-structure them into poetry. Though completely void of all content and subject matter from the original interview, the poems based on the mistranslations would nonetheless develop around an unsettling alternate reality of the tourism model in The Bahamas.

Additionally, she will establish a relationship between Fresh Milk and her larger creative endeavour, Poinciana Paper Press, by conducting a series of workshops on book-binding and design entitled The Art of the Book.

Alex’s work explores the “how come” of life in Trinidad and Tobago. By applying an understanding of human nature, considering the population as both a community and as an individual in a larger global community and by utilising images from the past and the present that act as culturally specific ideograms, he examines cultural, social and historical circumstances that have lead to the development of the present realities of life in Trinidad and Tobago.

His work intends to engage the public by providing familiar points of reference while calling into question prevailing assumptions about Caribbean life that often serve as cushioning from harsh realities. The intention is to confront the audience with a more honest discourse about Trinbagonian culture.

Alex’s aim is that this residency will facilitate the expansion of the scope of his work, building on links established during his participation in the Caribbean Linked III residency in Aruba. This experience reignited a desire to participate in solving problems surrounding Caribbean life and Caribbean connectivity.

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About Sonia Farmer:

A Bahamian writer who uses the crafts of book binding, letterpress printing, hand papermaking and printmaking, Sonia’s work is intimately tied to the Caribbean landscape and identity. Often her work engages with contemporary Bahamian society through the lens of history and mythology, specifically in the realms of feminism and the tourism industry. She is the founder of Poinciana Paper Press, a small and independent press located in Nassau, The Bahamas, which produces handmade and limited edition chapbooks of Caribbean literature and promotes the crafts of book arts through workshops and creative collaborations. Her artwork has been exhibited throughout Nassau including at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, Doongalik Studios, The Hub, & the Central Bank Art Gallery. Her poetry has won the 2011 Prize in the Small Axe Literary Competition and has appeared in tongues of the ocean, The Caribbean Writer, Poui, The WomanSpeak Journal, and Moko Magazine. She holds a BFA in Writing from Pratt institute. Visit poincianapaperpress.com to learn more.

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Alex Kelly

About Alex Kelly:

Alex Kelly is a contemporary artist living and working in Trinidad and Tobago. Kelly recently graduated from The University of the West Indies, St Augustine with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual Arts. Over the period of his study at the university Kelly participated in several public art projects. Among them are the mural “Hope” at the Family Development and Children’s Research Centre, St Augustine, for which he acted as co-facilitator; an art outreach program at Mayaro Government Primary School, Trinidad and Tobago, which formed part of a collaboration between The University of the West Indies and the Bridge Foundation; and a collaboration with the College of Science Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago designing a fundraising campaign for the creation of new student bursaries at the institution. Kelly has exhibited in three group shows with The University of the West Indies and in 2012 produced the mural “Slave” at the Night Gallery in Woodbrook, Port of Spain.

In 2015 he began occupying a studio space at Granderson Lab, a project of Alice Yard. In August of that year Kelly participated in the Caribbean Linked III artist residency and exhibition in Aruba, where he spent three weeks producing original works and participating in engagements that have expanded the scope of his practice from a national focus to a regional one. In September of 2015 he began working with the University of The West Indies, St Augustine as a guest lecturer and visual arts demonstrator. Kelly is currently interested in facilitating further integration of contemporary art into the national consciousness and public policy, and in providing opportunities for greater connectivity between art communities in the Caribbean.

The Art of the Book: Book Binding Classes with Sonia Farmer

Fresh Milk’s upcoming resident, Bahamian writer and artist Sonia Farmer, will be offering a series of four workshops on different methods of book binding and design at Fresh Milk in March, 2016. This four week course will examine the intersection of text and the book form. Covering a range of book structures, participants will be encouraged to consider the book as an active part of their storytelling practice rather than as simply a vessel. Each class will build upon the former to provide students who wish to take all four classes with a thorough beginner knowledge in making handmade books and book objects and fresh ideas on how to approach narratives.

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Participants can also take individual classes to explore a particular structure or group of structures that appeal to them. Included in registration for all four classes will be a book-binding kit to continue their practice outside of these workshops.

You can learn more about each of the sessions below. Spaces will be limited, so please email freshmilkbarbados@gmail.com to register your interest. Applications should include a brief bio and reasons for wishing to participate in the course, based on which Sonia will make the final selection of participants. Please indicate when signing up which sessions you wish to attend.

Registration is now closed.

Number of participants per class: Up to 7

Preparation: All materials will be provided for binding, but students are encouraged to bring any decorative papers, magazines or found materials they may want to explore and include in their practice. Each participant will get a basic book-binding kit with a bonefolder, awl, needles, thread and materials/suppliers list if they wish to explore the medium further. Students will also receive how-to worksheets to reference later at home. Other special tools that will be used together in classes, and the correct PVA adhesive will also be provided.

Tea, coffee and drinks will be available during the short breaks, but participants should bring their lunch as the workshops will be 3-4 hours long, depending on the content of the session.

Participants must understand that if they register for Week Two, they must provide a poem by February 15 to include in the class anthology so it can be laid out and printed on the pages that will be bound together before the session. It can be a poem you wrote yourself or just a poem you like.

Week One: Experimental Poetry and Folded Structures
March 4, 10:00am – 1:30pm

Participants will be led through simple binding structures using only folds and adhesives. Considering the “exquisite corpse” exercises of the surrealists, we will explore the accordion book through a collaborative poem and collage, while use of found text will drive an examination of folded books using a single sheet of paper. Participants will leave with two book structures to reference at home and a variety of new approaches to storytelling.

Week Two: Limited Editions, Zine Culture & Chapbooks
March 11, 10:00am – 1:30pm

Moving into book structures using needle and thread bindings, participants will explore simple softcover books and their many applications. Everyone will be encouraged to share a poem of their choice before class (by February 15) that they would like to appear in a class anthology, bound into a limited edition chapbook using the elegant Japanese stab binding. Then, we will explore zine culture through collecting found language and materials into a pamphlet stitch book. The technicalities of edition bindings will be discussed so that participants will be encouraged to explore making their own editions at home in the future.

Week Three: Hardcover Notebooks & Leather Journals
March 18, 10:00am – 2:30pm

In this class participants will leave with two small blank notebooks to fill with their written inspirations. Utilizing the basic cross-stitch, participants will build two multi-signature textblocks to use in two different casing-in methods: a hardcover notebook wrapped in decorative papers with an exposed spine, and a fully cased-in leather journal with rounded spine.

Week Four: Book Sculptures, Objects & Alternative Narratives
March 25, 10:00am – 1:30pm

In this final class, participants will think about how books can challenge their traditional form and become three dimensional storytelling objects. They will explore playful and alternative structures such as simple pop-up techniques, the tunnel book, and the flag book, and consider how alternative materials and unconventional processes can open up new possibilities in narrative structures.

Price: $150 BBD for all four sessions, which includes materials and a personal book-binding tool-kit.

* Persons may choose to sign up for individual classes rather than the full suite, but there is a base cost of $70 BBD for the book-binding kit, and an additional cost of $10 per chosen class (with the exception of Week 3’s session on hardcover & leather bound journals, which will be $50).

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About Sonia Farmer:

A Bahamian writer who uses the crafts of book binding, letterpress printing, hand papermaking and printmaking, Sonia’s work is intimately tied to the Caribbean landscape and identity. Often her work engages with contemporary Bahamian society through the lens of history and mythology, specifically in the realms of feminism and the tourism industry. She is the founder of Poinciana Paper Press, a small and independent press located in Nassau, The Bahamas, which produces handmade and limited edition chapbooks of Caribbean literature and promotes the crafts of book arts through workshops and creative collaborations. Her artwork has been exhibited throughout Nassau including at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, Doongalik Studios, The Hub, & the Central Bank Art Gallery. Her poetry has won the 2011 Prize in the Small Axe Literary Competition and has appeared in tongues of the ocean, The Caribbean Writer, Poui, The WomanSpeak Journal, and Moko Magazine. She holds a BFA in Writing from Pratt institute. Visit poincianapaperpress.com to learn more.