Artist residency Lapua, Finland

Jan 2017 – Artist residency at Vanha Paukku kulttuuri- ja yrityskeskus, Lapua, Finland

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I took part in a two week residency in Cultural Centre Vanha Paukku, Lapua in Finland. Vanha Paukku is an arts complex with galleries, a museum, artist residency building with studios, visitors centre, library, artisan shops, cafeteria and a movie theatre. During the two weeks I had a studio in the main residency building.

The Vanha Paukku building was previously The State Cartridge Factory established in 1923, a significant employer and important part of Finnish history. In 1976 an explosion in the loading department took the lives of 40 factory employees, a significant national tragedy for Finland.
Their museum in the complex focused on local histories, their famous tragedy and traditions including wartime Finland. I was able to learn of its communist connections and saw artefacts and interesting imagery and logos associated with it. There was also a shooting range in Vanha Paukku where a local marksman Arvi (who worked in the new Nammo Lapua Ammunition factory) practices. He showed me the Lapua bullets and memorabilia he collected and even taught me to shoot a riffle. He gave me a few bullet shell mementos that have Lapua impressed on them.  I want to use the documentation I took of his office, memorabilia and the Lapua bullets to make some new prints. I have a collection I started in America of old gun prints which I can now develop more with the Lapua bullet collection and imagery. The town’s crest also has very striking imagery of a man with a club riding a polar bear.  I will develop the work back at Seacourt to create new prints.

Art Vend

January 2016 ‘Art Vend Project’ Oriel Wrecsam, Wrexham, Wales

Since 1973, Oriel Wrecsam has presented engaging, exciting and sometimes controversial exhibitions to the general public of Wrexham and further afield.

Their first off-site project is Art Vend, which has been developed in partnership with Leeds based Woolgather Art Collective. Oriel Wrecsam has commissioned artists to create miniature artworks, which can now be purchased for £1 each from their town centre Art Vending machine.  The machines will be sited in a wide variety of public places, and moved around regularly as part of Oriel Wrecsam’s mission to make contemporary art accessible to all.

The commissioned artists include students and professional practitioners, working both locally and across the UK. The artworks include limited edition prints, ceramic sculpture, handmade books and USB sticks containing specially created digital work, amongst many others.

Art-vend-slider

 

Stories in the capsules are collected from the surrounding areas in Wales:

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In the mid to late 20th century in Chirk, Wrexham.  There was a haunting manifestation in a block of old council flats of several ghostly figures.  Including a woman in a Salvation Army uniform and a blind man with a stick.  It is said that weird white faces peared in through the windows.
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May 2008 at Chirk Castle, Wrexham a photographer claimed to have captured a ghost on film.  He had been experimenting with long shutter speeds on his camera when he caught a semi-transparent female form outside the chapel. He claimed there was no one standing there when he took it. Unfortunately, as long shutter speeds can quite easily make people look semi-transparent, the chances of this being any form of apparition is pretty remote.
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Sometime in the ‘00s a haunting manifestation was reported at Packhorse Bridge in Caergwrle, Wrexham.  A team from the Cheshire Paranormal Society photographed a strange white figure crossing this footbridge late at night during one of their vigils. It is said a total of three spirits haunt the bridge, a young girl and two older women.
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Beddgelert is home to the grave of Wales’s most famous hound owned by the Gwynedd Prince – Llywelyn the Great. The prince ruled Wales over 800 years ago with Gelert the dog at his side.  One afternoon the Prince returned home to find Gelert in his son’s room, covered in blood.  Thinking that the dog had killed his son, the Prince plunged his sword into the hound’s heart. As the dog howled Llywelyn heard a cry of the baby under the toppled cradle, with a dead wolf at its side.  With great remorse the Prince buried his dog outside of the castle walls, the grave can still be seen today.
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The Afanc is a lake monster from Welsh mythology.  Sometimes described as taking the form of a crocodile, giant beaver or dwarf – it is a demonic creature. The afanc is said to attack and devour anyone who entered its waters. Several sites lay claim to its domain, among them Llyn Llion, Llyn Barfog and Llyn-yr-Afanc a lake in Betws-y-Coed.
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When the great king Owain Gwynedd died in 1170 a violent and bloody dispute arose between his 13 children regarding the succession. Madoc and his brother Rhirid decided to leave their homeland and sailed westward. Legend states Madoc found America, the New World. Him and his sailors inter-married with a local Native American tribe, and for years the rumour of Welsh speaking Native American tribes was widely believed.
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Records of an enormous wolf-like animal in North Wales date back to 1790, when a stagecoach travelling between Denbigh and Wrexham was attacked and overturned by an enormous black beast almost as long as the coach horses.  The terrifying animal tore into one of the horses and killed it, while the other horse broke free from its harness and galloped off into the night.  The attack took place just after dusk, with a full blood red moon, “bad moon on the rise” was whispered in travellers’ inns across the region.

In the winter of 1791, a farmer and a blacksmith followed enormous wolf-like tracks across fields.  It led to a scene of mutilation which made the villagers in the area quake with fear that night.  A snow-covered field became soaked with blood – dotted with carcasses of sheep, cattle and a farmer’s dog.  The owner of the farm was found locked up in his house terrified. He had barricaded himself in after witnessing an enormous black animal that resembled a wolf ripping the throat out of his sheepdog.  The farmer said the wolf pounded on the heavy oak door, almost knocking it off its hinges. The weird-looking animal then stood up on its hind legs like a human and looked in through the windows of the farmhouse.
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