Rebecca Chesney is our first Artist in Residence for the Black Mountains, as part of a collaboration between PEAK and the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority. Click here for more information about the residency.
Blog Post no 1: November 2015
My research week with PEAK in the Brecon Beacons National Park started crisp and clear with the Black Mountains white with snow and the sky blue. My accommodation for the duration of the residency, in a valley above Llangynidr, is nestled in a farming landscape of stone walls, hedges, livestock, tractors and muddy lanes. My first night was dark and starry with only the sound of running water outside the cottage; and I spent the following morning strolling down overgrown paths beside a fast flowing stream with dippers bobbing and the sound of farm dogs howling.
Meeting and chatting about the work of the Brecon Beacons National Park with the Sustainable Development Officers and the Senior Ecologist of the Park gave me lots to think about, and another of my days was spent walking up Table Mountain with the Arts Alive Wales staff then spending the afternoon discovering what downtown Crickhowell has to offer.
I’ve been allocated two guides during the residency, artist Penny Hallas and poet Lyndon Davies, to provide help and local information and we spent Black Friday on Black Bog, explored caves with old graffiti, walked along disused tramlines and talked about art and landscape.
In between busy days of meetings, conversations and connecting to others I had time alone to read and reflect. I took long walks and tested my map reading skills in finding unmarked, infrequently used footpaths, got chased by mean looking dogs in shitty farmyards and shared the hilltops with nobody, only red kites and buzzards overhead.
On the last evening Arts Alive Wales organised a small gathering of staff, board members and artists for a shared meal: a generous and lovely way to end my week.
My visit was a balanced combination of making connections and meeting others with being alone and given time to concentrate and contemplate ideas for the coming 5 weeks in spring. I left feeling inspired and excited for my return in January.