Sojourn; noun. A temporary stay; Verb. Stay somewhere temporarily.

To be in the hands of128412_orig-copyNovember 1, 2016 –  January   2017  //  Kwa-Zulu Natal  .

Nestled in a vast expansive landscape of hills and cows, horses and stables, dams and irrigation systems, rivers, trees and distant mountains lies a place called the Falconer Foundry. This majestic sanctuary is situated on the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg mountains, just outside of Mooi River in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. On a clear day, from the top of a hill, you can see the supine, slumbering giant rest amongst his castle. The sun and rains are abundant here in the summer season, the vegetation is lush and juicy, perfect conditions for the expansive farmlands that extend into the distant horizons.

Around the end of October 2016, The Falconer’s launched their first ever FLASH RESIDENCY. A six week opportunity to live on a farm, with a studio, a bedroom, shared living space and hands on, experienced based learning about each intricate techniques of the lost wax bronze casting process. Not to mention a R10 000 casting budget to produce ones own work. They had two spots open, a week to receive proposals, a weekend to decide and a day to notify the artists.

And just like magic, (after applying of course) I graciously received one of those spots. The other went to a kindred spirit, a brother from another mother, Noa Maubane. A humble young artist hailing from the cool capital of Pretoria.

Here is a glimpse into our journey to becoming alchemists.

Life, death, life, breath.
Life, death, life, breath.
Water, earth, fire, wind and ether,
Elements that bind us, as life forms and creatures.
I’m an open, mouldable and adaptable being,
Pressed and heated, in search of freeing,
Seeing,
Perceiving,
Achieving,
Revealing.
My thoughts and practice work with nature.
She is my deepest teacher.
To appease her,
I hear her,
Cease her,
Seek her.
I conceive of her,
To of speak her,
Breathe her,
Trace her
For in my truth I can only believe her.
Of alchemy and cycle,
Of ebb and flow.
To accept, to learn,
To assimilate and grow.
Together we are shaped and shifted with precision and love,
In the details of sentience, we are hand and glove.
We wax and we wane, prevail and get lost,
When ours shells are broken, our essence is embossed.
And whilst working with magic we are guided and wrought,
With this come patience, pursuit and the will to be taught.
Life, death, life, breath.
Immortal, mortal.
Life, death, life, breath.

 

UNDERSTANDING VALUE

The foundry truly embraces an ethos around skills sharing and community. Welcomed with open arms, as part of their new community I exchanged an extra 6 weeks on the farm for manual labour and a mural, which for the first time ever, made up as I went along. Although in my own eyes certain elements of the mural is still incomplete, I feel safe to share my work in its process in order to share the insights I came across while painting.  I had never before given myself the freedom to let my subconscious mind and creative flow to burst onto such a large-scale over such a long period of time. This freedom from myself, my ego, allowed a narrative to emerge that taught me about trusting my process, working through self doubt and allowing to multiple layers of symbolism and meaning to grow and materialise onto a vertical picture plane.

With this sense of freedom and relinquishment of control I landed up collaborating with the sweetest 3 year old, Emma Falconer (the bottom right hand corner of the mural.) We shared stories about the silly bunnies that were chasing us, how to mix colours and clean our brushes.

Emma’s mom Claire, has just embarked on a new journey by opening up a local school called Growing Free, one of the foundation principles is self directed learning.  She is a remarkable writer, teacher, wonderful human, mother and new friend. Click here to learn more about her insights and perspective on education.

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