Forest and Found

Max Bainbridge & Abigail Booth

2019 Thinking Residency

Arriving at Harp Cottage was a moment of warm reprieve and peace for the tired mind. After a busy and exhausting year past, we were ready for time to clear our heads and heed our bodies reach for the whispering call of the landscape beyond the front door.

The low-slung ceilings and thick stone walls enclose a calm and tranquil warren of rooms and passages interconnecting a cluster of intimate living space. The quality of low winter light as the sun rounds the hill and spills into individual rooms as each hour passes is tranquil and lets the mind wander as you read, drink tea and sit by the fire.

We were there to think and nothing else. To quietly let thoughts, rise up and fall again like lapping waves or the dance of a lone leaf in the breeze on the bough of a wintered oak. To feel the mind drift and let loose the weight of last year’s needs and demands to look afresh to the start of something new.

Within the day we found ourselves one foot in England and the other in Wales as the nature of the border wends its way beneath your feet inscribing lines drawn deep. We walked three hills on three days each steeper and longer than the last. To navigate the dips and dives of hills’ false altitudes and paths worn tight to the rise.

We found ourselves above and below the rushing waters of Break-Its-Neck fall, down shear creased rock to ascend through tall pines straighter than the arrow. With sun and haze caught in the blend of forest green points and needles tease. Tired hearts and thighs cut short our walk as the city’s grips still clung to us.

Chancing upon boughs downed, our hearts danced with the promise of new prospect. Scaled wood, torn free from sleeping trees spoke of new ideas and the chance to enter into new contracts with old to bring forth new.

Three days, three hills, through mist, and damp breath in tight chests, we turn back and set sights to home. The draw of fresh minds and a clear vision for a year to come, makes us ache for the intimacy of occupied space. Confined in the city, narrowed horizons float forth remembrances of earth trod and litter-leafed scents rising from foot to heart. It is Spring again. The studio awakes.