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Blessings and beginnings

I received a life-changing email at the end of May and I am excited to announce that I have been awarded a Developing Your Creative Practice grant from Arts Council England.

This grant will enable me to spend dedicated time researching, creating and developing my textile art over the next 12 months, cumulating in an exhibition and workshops.

So what is this project? I'm very lucky to live in a rural, and very beautiful, corner of England, steeped in history (Roman roads abound while Neolithic and Mesolithic sites are on our doorstep). The land is marked by the people who have lived here over generations, incomers and settlers of old included. The earth holds it's own history - chalk and flint created from ancient sealife and time. And all of this fascinates me.

I have a favourite walk which was a balm to me during lockdown so it felt natural to base my funded project on the lane which makes up a good stretch of the route: Garlick Lane.

The lane takes me from hedgerows and grassy banks, past a vineyard and arable farmland, up, along a holloway that has been carved into the chalk over time, to a wooded area and fields for grazing.

As I walk, I often wonder who has gone before (the site of a Roman road runs through the woods parallel to the lane) and what the stories sleeping beneath the leaf litter and topsoil might be.

This has brought me to start collecting dye plants: wind-blown lichen, oak leaves, hawthorn and cowparsley to date, as well as research earth pigments, to create a 'palette of place' that will inform my textile work. I have begun to reseach the history of the land, contours and maps, as well as the stories associated with this part of my village. And, inspired by the 'walk wands' I made with my daughter when she was tiny, I have collected sticks, feathers and leaves to make mark-making tools, rooted in the place that I am drawn to.

As the grant is publicly funded, I will be keeping a record of my creative journey her, and you can also follow the hashtag #GarlickLane on Instagram.

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Debra Kay
Debra Kay
Jun 12, 2022

Awesome Sam!

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