First Fridays are our informal gatherings/sharings, open to all. They started life as a physical place to meet up for a shared lunch followed by a live or occasionally remote presentation by an artist or group. Since May 2020 we have been gathering online which has taken away some of the social aspects but opened First Fridays up to a much wider and geographically diverse audience. Each event is on the First Friday of the month starting at 13.00 and finishing at 14.00 (UK time). All are welcome (and it’s free!).
In December we are featuring work and ideas from art.earth members.
Related links / info
The link to buy Sarah’s book is here https://www.bookdepository.com/Ravens-Nest-Sarah-Thomas/9781838956684
And the audiobook is here (I narrate) https://www.amazon.co.uk/Audible-The-Ravens-Nest/dp/B0B5Y71Q9F/
Sarah’s events page is here (for the readings): https://sarahthomas.net/events/
In Iceland, Sarah tells us, it is tradition to buy books for Christmas and spend part of the day reading. How fantastic! (And after you have bought Sarah’s book why not head over to our own Bookshop and see what you can find…)
Annie Rapstoff will read a new piece A Love Letter to a Sheep and ask for your responses.
Annie Rapstoff is a cross-disciplinary artist interested in responding to place and species. She explores relationships with other beings in the widest sense of the word, including animals, plants and trees. She has recently been researching the possibilities of self-transformation, the interplay and impact on nature of human intervention, animism and what is heard, felt, and experienced through the unnoticed. Her recent research focuses on birds in particular postures, behaviour and human myths such as those concerning The Magpie, The Crow, The Albatross and The Cuckoo.
Annie’s practice is sometimes collaborative, process-based or ephemeral, taking the form of instructions, events, performance for the camera, gestures, interventions, video and writing/ language. She has shown worked internationally and has been in receipt of several Arts Council England grants for projects and curatorial events in The UK.
Annie was recently in Zagori, Northern Eastern Greece on a residency supported by Oika, a group exploring relational aspects of nature and The Eco Museum. The numerous small villages in the area are on The Transhumance routes inhabited by many shepherds who walked these areas with their sheep and cattle. Many of the paths of the high lands and low lands of The Pindus mountains are now overgrown, but the interest and regeneration of the area is being supported in an effort to keep the skills and practices of the area alive.
Her short talk for First Friday will concern her recent work which covers strands developed during the pandemic, concerning birds and some more recent tentative work developed during the residency concerning sheep. It is these areas which she would like to talk about at First Friday.
Fio Adamson who is currently a student on the MA Arts & Ecology at Dartington Arts School has been working with nettles and will share that work with us. She says:
The sting’s the thing. The climate and ecological emergency is causing pain and death worldwide. As an artist and a believer in the goodness of humanity I sense that humans would not wish this if their desire to learn, create and develop had not been skewed by the challenges of survival.
Humour in the work is intentional. Every child has felt the sting of nettles and every adult will shudder and laugh to remember. This might be a way to bring home the seriousness of humanity’s plight, since art relies on the circularity of cybernetics, not on the logic of cause and effect?
Western cynicism and disconnection between human and beyond-human has developed from classical times. Most significant for women, forced to deny their significance and torn between the roles of mother and whore. In performance I use nettles alongside my own body to show how painful it is to recognise together the long separation between us and the wrench of waking up to the crisis. As an artist I usually include my own relationship with elements of ecology, so some connection between human and beyond human will be present. How could it be otherwise? Humans must find connections outside themselves. Of the triangle, Artist, Artwork, Viewer, I aim to provide the Viewer, via the Artwork with some new insight into the workings of ecology, and the current crisis.
Culinary use of nettles, full of iron and other minerals, accentuates the use of wild herbs and vegetables, bringing knowledge of growing and sustaining away from the idea of the supermarket shelf.
As well as performance and animation, bringing the nettles to life, I make 3D objects, notably here a grid of nettle stems, in two versions. One grid is purely natural: the other incorporates stripped digital cabling, a gentle reminder of the digital beyond-human.
Sarah Thomas will introduce her new ecological memoir The Raven’s Nest (Atlantic Books 2022), set in Iceland’s otherworldly Westfjords region following the 2008 financial crisis. She will briefly talk about the book’s narratives of making, breaking and repair; and her attempts to write ‘entangled’ memoir for the Anthropocene, in which the human narrator is in a polyphonic chorus with many other beings and elements, and the structure is inspired my multispecies dwelling.
Embodying the book’s themes in its sharing, Sarah has been touring the book with intimate events in the Icelandic tradition of kvöldvaka, in which someone reads aloud to the household as they knit and mend. Sarah will give us a taste of this wonderful practice here with the promise of a longer session at a later date, and invites you to bring your making and mending to do as she reads. She also welcomes invitations to venues and bookshops who would enjoy this in 2023.
Twitter @journeysinbtwn || Instagram @journeysinbetween || Website: sarahthomas.net
Elli Lestas says:
I collaborate with nature, it’s a two way relationship.
I move freely across several art practises like drawing, making and photography and
I use all sorts of mediums to draw onto like rocks and found objects. I make art with seeds and other natural matter. Sometimes I draw birds, also abstract work that has come about because of an experience in nature or a creature that I have come across usually lizards, birds, insects.
The rock drawings came into being as the result of a few years of my own artistic evolution. The concept was not thought out or pre conceived but rather emerged and flowed from one thing to another.
I try to tap into the heartbeat of the natural world through the land and creatures or plants.
Recognising natural energy and accepting how it is the same as the energy of creativity . I have been trying to explain or explore what creativity is and how it operates when we make art ?
Please note that this is not only the last First Friday of 2022 but the last until February 2023 as we do not meet in January.