Catherine’s artwork combines a range of media and processes, but its making is always driven by a passion to create without burden, to seek a simple and sympathetic purity of process. Using traditional skills that could easily be lost if not perpetuated, she works with found and discarded objects, such as rusted hinges, paint scraps, conkers and berries, to make and sell her own natural inks, batch bottled and in the form of drawings, prints and functional textiles. Through residencies and exhibitions, she makes work that is site-specific, temporary and ephemeral.
She has previously contributed to work around the closure of Whitchurch Hospital and last year was the first artist in residence at the Llandough Hospital Orchard project. Alongside her own making, she facilitates workshops where participants make dyes, inks, drawings and botanical prints. She explores and documents habitats, mapping the experience, making and engaging with nature and wildlife in both urban and rural settings.
Whilst at 1a Inverness Place she will be making work in this way, whilst also exploring her current recovery from breast cancer. She is now a regular patient at Llandough hospital.
“I see the residency as being about making a sanctuary, a safe space, a community of wellness, a place of growth, inspiration and transformation. In making a well-space I hope to promote a personal therapeutic process, improving well-being through the combination of meaningful activity and connection with a place and the people. I’ll offer a place to gather, grow, learn, share and be inspired; a place where people gain a new connection to the urban landscape, to work in harmony with it, slowly embracing the natural and creating a sense of personal peace and well-being within the community”.
The weekend before the residency Catherine will perform a tree dressing at a nearby well, with friends who have helped her in her recovery.
The spring was one of a number of wells in Cardiff which were considered to be holy and endowed with powers of healing… ‘It rises out of the soil with great force, and immediately forms a pool of considerable size, which is overhung with trees, and teems with aquatic growths of various kinds. The scene is one of wild and romantic beauty…’ (John Hobson Mathews, 19C city archivist).
The well-tree dressing echoes clootie wells, which are places of pilgrimage in Celtic areas. Strips of white cloth or rags are tied to the branches of the tree as part of a healing ritual.
Following this weekend, Catherine will be in 1a to make a well-ness space for slow making and recovery; the space will also house her urban ink making lab, using well water and materials found whilst walking between the well sites and the gallery. She invites visitors to bring ink ingredients to her and also donations of old bottles to store ingredients and finished inks.
Anyone affected by breast cancer is invited to the +well+ space on the second Tuesday, to share conversation and add messages.
On the final Saturday eve, there is a gathering to hear about the making process and to write, play and draw with the inks.