We are three artists, Kirsty Lovell, Steph Holden and Jean Smyth who met during Spike Island’s Press Play course run by Emma Gregory in 2018/19. During the lockdown we spent time together in the local environment gathering thoughts, ideas and finds.
We started the residency with these shared experiences and were excited to work in a large space and have dedicated time to play and explore. We were not sure at the outset whether we would work collaboratively or alongside each other. After a day’s settling in and creating a collaborative piece, we then sat together and talked about what we each wanted to get from the experience. The discussion enabled us to understand that the experience of being together was more about shared values, discussion and letting one another in to each others’ practice rather than collaborating on a particular piece.
Being in the space and working alongside each other was transformative as day by day we deepened our understanding of our own and each others’ work and practice. We continued to create our own pieces and the ongoing dialogue enabled growth and inspiration that propelled each of us forward in a way which would not have happened if we had been working alone.
We concluded our three weeks with an open event to showcase the work we had been doing and having conservations with visitors about the pieces and our process. These conversations brought new perspectives and created a deeper understanding for us through speaking about our work to others.
This has been a very special time for us and has given us valuable insights into our work, ourselves and how we move forward. But perhaps the most important learning we took away was to trust the intuitive flow of the process and the gift of being able to let the right person into your practice.