Both Pat Gregory (the printmaker with whom I collaborated) and I were convinced that we’d get only a handful of people to our exhibition opening on Saturday but it turned out to be a wonderful celebratory occasion. As early as 2.15 pm, with Pat and I still sticking price labels on prints and putting out wine glasses, Oriel Canfas Gallery was brimful of art and poetry lovers. We chatted and mingled, then I did a reading of some of my poems and Pat talked about some of her prints as well as the myths, narratives, travels and environmental concerns that inspired us as we explored, through words and images, our theme of ‘North’.

We also talked about the different forms our collaboration took, including an intensive period of workshopping, leading to the creation of two joint pieces of work, exploring how and to what extent words and art may be integrated. This felt like the riskiest part of the process, requiring each of us to step into the other’s territory, me making visual decisions and Pat playing with language. We also produced a stepped series over several months in which a print, produced in response to a poem, stimulated the next poem in the sequence and so on, resulting in a total of nine new pieces.

As we said in our intro to the exhibition, ‘Working together during the two years of this project has been a treasured experience…In this collaboration we talked our way into our theme, throwing ideas and experience from many different contexts into the mix – crime novels, fairy stories, science, history, myth – and linking each new poem and image into our narrative. In the pleasure of this shared journey we have been each other’s muse.’

Up There Where the Air is Rarefied runs for the rest of this week, until 23rd September – Oriel Canfas is open from midday-4pm each weekday and from 11-4pm on Saturday. Pat will be in residence at the gallery until Wednesday and I’ll be there on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, hopefully meeting any interested people who weren’t able to make the opening. And then we’ll have to plan the next stage – taking the exhibition to Swansea and beyond!

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