I landed in Barcelona almost two weeks ago and made my way along the south coast to a place called Villanova i la Geltru. I’m told the name translates to “new town of the old” and it is clear to see why as there is a definite old town centre and then the area around it that grew to be the new town. For the most part this small Catalan coastal city is a summer resort area for the Spanish who are seeking more moderately cooler temperatures in the middle of their hot summers.
Along one of the seaside streets that looks out from the cliff above is a place called Moli de mar and this where I stayed for a one week intensive course called Weaving by the Sea with Tim Johnson who is originally from the Isle of wright now living in Spain, Monica Guilera a native Catalan and Danish instructor Mai Hvid Jorgensen. I have travelled here to learn about working with plant material of the Mediterranean for the purpose of sculptural construction with natural materials within my own art process. All three of the instructors have interesting and diverse backgrounds with many years of professional experience.
I am surrounded by students who have years of experience working with these materials and are looking for new ideas as well as those who are completely new to this whole process.
In one week I have learned weaving techniques, structural techniques and attachment techniques. I’ve also learned about different plants worth working with and how to prepare them for using in this way. All of this I expect to be very helpful in my upcoming residency in Almería later this month.
The teaching schedule consists of starting each day at 9:00am and working through to 2:30 with a short break in between for a second breakfast or lunch, where we are served typical Spanish food fare. It requires a fair bit of concentration to learn the many techniques being presented and by 2:30 you are ready to stop and change gears. Because we are only steps from the sea, I took advantage of taking a wonderful swim daily in these warm waters and afterwards you can choose to continue to work on projects on your own or walk into town for exploring, tapas and drinks or just down time and rest.
Below are some photos from the week: