Ronald Williams’ Fresh Milk Residency – Week 3.5 Blog Post

Barbadian artist Ronald Williams, the recipient of the 2018 Fresh Milk ‘My Time’ Local Artist Residency, shares his blog post for the three and a half week mark in the studio. This part of the residency was largely focused on production, taking the research and influences of previous weeks to experiment with pattern-making and digital collage. On Tuesday May 22nd, Ronald also led a collage & portrait workshop with a group of Class 4 students at Workmans Primary School as the community outreach component of his residency, where the children looked at African masks for inspiration and got creative and expressive with materials. Read more below:

Week 3 Monday saw me start what I fully intended to be a productive week in solitude. Both Katherine and Daisy were out at the Barbados Museum and the Jewish Synagogue respectively, so I took advantage of my little alone time and was a DJ for a while. Side note: K. O. D. and Without Warning are hard and I’m a lot late to the party but Migos’ two albums are better than I thought they would be. Judge me.

So, first order of real business was to create the pattern I had in mind. The base design is actually the amalgamation of various prints, cut and pasted together in Photoshop and laid on top of a photo of a piece of black fabric. Took much longer than I needed it to. That base image was then flipped, duplicated, pieced together and the process repeated until I got what I wanted. With that, the day was almost up.

I worked on this piece for the rest of the week, getting lost midway, questioning what exactly I was trying to say with the piece and if I could properly translate how I felt without the reading of it going very left. We’ll see.

Week 4 Monday was spent preparing materials for an African mask inspired portraiture collage project that I, along with Katherine and Daisy, would conduct  with the Class 4 students at Workman’s Primary School the next day. This project, which was my community outreach portion of the residency, was my personal highlight of the last week and a half. Daisy, Katherine and I all ended up making one. It was fun.

All things considered, a relatively complicated week and a half where everything didn’t go to plan, but an ultimately satisfying one.

Dorothea Smartt’s Residency – Final Blog Post

British-Barbadian poet and live artist Dorothea Smartt, who was in residence with Fresh Milk in November-December 2016, led a workshop on poetry and free writing with Class 4 students at St. George Primary School on January 16, 2017. Read more from Dorothea about this experience below. Thanks so much to the staff at St. George Primary for allowing us to host the session, and to the bright and enthusiastic children for embracing it!

20170116_113708

After a return to London to take care of pressing domestics, I reconnected with Fresh Milk in January. We had a good meeting with local St George Primary School in December. Katherine at Fresh Milk followed through, and we were given a date, Monday January 16, to hold an 80 minute session with some of the students.

We met the head teacher before going to the class. A junior class of curious boys and girls greeted us formally, after a brief introduction from their welcoming class teacher. Katherine introduced me as a Fresh Milk International Artist in Residence. I talked a little with the pupils about myself and being a poet.

The class took part in a discussion on people leaving Barbados to go to work building the Panama Canal. I drew a rough map of the Caribbean, and they joined in identifying where Panama was. Some pupils, one boy in particular shared about great grandparents who’d gone to Panama. Some pupils were hearing about it for the first time.

I read them one of the poems about Panama that spoke of some of the men who died. And we spoke about the dangerous working conditions people endured. I guided the pupils in a free-writing exercise with a prompt: ‘In those days…” and they wrote for 3mins. They responded with enthusiasm.

To follow I shared five old black and white photos of the Caribbean. These were from a learning resource pack produced by the (British) National Archive. The pupils worked in five groups with a photo each. First they discussed the image and were asked to imagine how they might relate to Panama workers. For example, they imagined a banana worker was harvesting food for the workers; a large drawing room, a place where bosses would have gathered to relax; and an image of a hut with a canoe outside a place where a worker may have lived and fished for food.

Then each pupil wrote a short poem drawing on our discussion, their free-writes and the photos. We had time to hear some of the pieces produced, which were full of imagination and insight.

I really enjoyed meeting these pupils, they were keen and interested. Their input, questions, and writing added to my own imagination, especially when it came to what the workers would have eaten! Hopefully my workshop is the start of an on-going relationship with Fresh Milk – as they have plans to work with this class on a future project!

I had hoped to connect with the group in Panama again, and present something of my work and process. Time, internet and availability of space weren’t able to come together and after a discussion with Katherine/Fresh Milk, I let this go.

On this residency, the space, time to focus and reflect, discussions with Bajans and others, and the events I attended have enhanced me. I feel encouraged and affirmed on my journey with this research and the poems I written. There’s more to unfold and write, and this residency has definitely resourced me to carry on.

Maferefun Egun. Maferefun Orisha.

Brass Tacks: A Workshop on the Nuts & Bolts of Building a Writing Life by Naomi Jackson

Brass Tacks: A Workshop on the Nuts & Bolts of Building a Writing Life is an afternoon session which will be hosted by writer Naomi Jackson at Fresh Milk on Saturday, July 16, 2016 from 2-5 pm. Naomi will lead participants in conversations and activities designed to help refine their writing goals, support the creation of productive and satisfying writing lives and address the commercial aspects of breaking into the business.

Brass Tacks_Naomi Jackson Flyer

Some topics to be addressed include:

✔ Setting and achieving goals for your writing
✔ Developing writing routines
✔ Preparing writing submissions (i.e., drafting query letters)
✔ Approaching potential editors, agents, and/or publishers
✔ Building a community of support and trusted readers to advance your work

To register, please send a letter of interest to freshmilkbarbados@gmail.com. This one-page statement must outline your current writing projects, your short and long term writing goals, and why you wish to participate in this programme.

There will be an attendance fee of $15.00 BBD, and spaces will be limited to 12 participants.

________________

About Naomi:

n.jackson_headshot

Photo credit: Lola Flash

Naomi Jackson is author of The Star Side of Bird Hill, published by Penguin Press in June 2015. The Star Side of Bird Hill was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and longlisted for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize as well as the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. It was also selected for the American Booksellers Association’s Indies Introduce and Indies Next List programs. The book has been reviewed in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Kirkus Reviews, NPR.org and Entertainment Weekly, which called Star Side “a gem of a book.” Publishers Weekly named Jackson a Fall 2015 Writer to Watch.

Jackson studied fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She traveled to South Africa on a Fulbright scholarship, where she received an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. A graduate of Williams College, her work has appeared in literary journals and magazines in the United States and abroad. She is the recipient of residencies and fellowships from the Kelly Writers House, Hedgebrook, Vermont Studio Center, and the Camargo Foundation.

Jackson has taught at the University of Iowa, University of Pennsylvania, and The City College of New York. She is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College for spring 2016 and will be Visiting Writer at Amherst College beginning in fall 2016. Jackson was born and raised in Brooklyn by West Indian parents.

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.

Sonia Farmer_Art of the Book Flyer2

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).

___________________

IMG_9023

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.