I opened my second show on Thursday, July 26 at The Fish Factory in Penryn, Cornwall.
I chose this space as it is a dedicated art space on the outskirts of Falmouth, which, in part due to the university, has a very creative vibe.
The Fish Factory attracts people interested in creative pursuits through a varied event calendar. While my show was on display, other events took place such as a comic book talk and a music night, which has hopefully helped to highlight my work to a wider audience (Fig. 1).
On the night itself, 13 people came along to find out more.
This isn’t a huge number, but it has led to two potential future opportunities. The first is to provide a talk to Cornwall Camera Club and the second is to create a short film in collaboration with a musician.
I provided a talk for the attendees to discuss my methods and my reasons for making the work (Fig. 2).
It was fabulous to talk to people about what they thought of my images. I also asked for people to provide feedback and three people left comments as follows:
“The beauty and simplicity of the images and the process engage you with the issue and makes it more accessible.”
“The images are beautiful, even without the explanation. The process is fascinating and the larger issue of the sand crisis makes me see so much more in the images.”
“Regardless of the important issue behind the work, these images stand alone for their appeal.”
It is interesting to see that people responded to them as pieces of art, and yet on learning about the sand crisis story it did not turn them away from the work.
I also ran a small print prize ‘treasure hunt’ on the night. I hid a number of the quote images on small cards within the venue, with three having winner on the back. If you found a ‘winning’ card you could choose a 5×7 version of one of the three A1 ‘lumen’ prints on display.
One of the winners shared this news on their Facebook page (Fig.3).
The show was also commented on via Twitter by the ecologist I had worked with previously on the Farm for AONBees project, Dr Grace Twiston-Davies (Fig. 4).
I’m truly excited to have received such positive feedback from the discussions I had with attendees and I hope over the course of this weekend more feedback will be provided.
Below are a few images from the night (Figs 5 to 8).
Although the show is yet to finish (it runs to July 30), I am now keen to look at different types of venues to display my work.
The Fish Factory and the Eco Park both have a certain ‘rustic’ charm and both were within my financial means at the time. But I am keen to discover if using more high-end galleries will have an impact on the potential for me to sell my work.
I also want to consider how I will use my work to make a living in future. I have often been tempted to use my images for an eco-fabric and clothing range but I am not sure if that should be work from Harena Now or simply from my other projects.
I may also approach eco-related businesses to see if there is any scope for selling work to them or collaboration on new work/residencies.
For this show, I included my cyanotypes, effectively creating a display of two halves. I am keen to look at how I can either meld the different processes/outcomes together or whether I should choose an option to develop further.
At present, given the conversations I had at the open night, it seems the ‘lumen’ prints are the ones that people are most fascinated by, with comments such as “they are like other universes”, “they appear to have multiple layers” and “the colours are amazing”.
I have previously said I felt I was being drawn away from the cyanotype for this project in particular; these types of remarks bolster my conviction that I am right to concentrate on this process in more depth rather than to try to include both the cyanotype and lumen methods.
By holding the open night, I have gained a much clearer picture of where I want to focus my time and energy.
Figure 1: The Fish Factory Facebook [online]. Available at: https://www.facebook.com/fishfactoryarts/ [accessed July 28, 2018].
Figure 2: The Fish Factory Facebook [online]. Available at: https://www.facebook.com/fishfactoryarts/ [accessed July 28, 2018].
Figure 3: Personal Facebook page of attendee.
Figure 4: Personal Twitter page of Dr Grace Twiston-Davies
Figures 5 to 8: Mobile images of opening night.