It was quite a struggle to spend lots of focused time on making artwork when there was so much to take in and adjust to in Peru. We were out of the studio for 1 week in Chazuta and also spent a lot of time organising the Lamas event, updating the blog etc. That said, the inspirational surroundings and unique culture of the place meant that you couldn’t help but want to respond creatively to it.
Land Art/Natural Sculpture: We experimented with our first land art pieces which was exciting. There was a real sense of connection between the people and the environment where we stayed and this definitely rubbed off and made you think of how disconnected we are to our plants and animals in UK. We tracked a dried up channel from the main river near our studio and installed a pink line of petals from the Palmarosa tree along where the river use to run- the contrast of the bright pink petals against the mossy green rocks looked amazing. Weirdly, 4 days before we left there was a terrible storm and the river broke its banks filling the dried up river bed and washed away our Palmarosa line. The locals said the last time the river had done this was 11yrs ago and then again 100 yrs before that!
Film/Sound work: We also captured a massive amount of film and sound footage. The jungle was so filled with life and the staggered noises of frogs, crickets, bats, dogs and cockerels created a sound piece every night! Ants and butterflies were great to try and capture too- we are going to use our footage to develop an installation which will attempt to recreate our experience.
Ceramics: The potential of ceramics is also something which became clear when we worked with the ceramicists in Chazuta. It was so refreshing to be hands on with the material and we began making casts of the local environment. We want to continue this in the UK and any other travels to build up a giant clay picture of different places. We also want to explore the idea of the boundary between practical pottery or craft and when it can become art - thinking about pushing the material to its limits or creating a pot which doesn’t function as a pot etc. We are looking at sourcing clay in the UK and if there are places to collect and prepare it ourselves as the ceramicists in Chazuta do. We also used the process of making wishing pots in the plaza to interact with the local community in the village- this was an interesting experience and something the local children found intriguing!
Weaving: We met someone in the village who wove with discarded plastic sourced from the nearby town who had ingeniously taught himself to make baskets. Chumbie weaving (colourful belts hand woven from cotton) is also a beautiful and skilful indigenous craft and both methods have inspired many ideas in us to do with weaving different materials to create vessels of some kind. We had visions of creating a giant water catcher installation.
Natural pigments: We collected lots of stones from the river which we have crushed to create painting pigments and plan to test these out back in the UK and see what we can find locally which can be used in the same way.
Paper Making: Having made our very own paper in Chazuta we are now looking to sculpt with the sheets in some way, the paper is so thick and has such a tactile quality that we are going to experiment in 3D with it to see how far we can push the material
As well as the skills and crafts we were also inspired by the people we met and worked alongside. Sachaqa Arts Centre allowed us to work alongside a variety of artists, all unique in their artforms, experiences and ideas and all of whom made our time in Peru the fantastic journey that it was.
Lena Huber is a photographer and writer from Switzerland. Lena really inspired us by her refreshing approach to life, a free spirit and one of those rare people in life that can truly be inspired and interested in anything that she comes across. http://www.sachaqacentrodearte.com/page3.php
Jaime Miranda a sculptor from Lima, Peru. Jaime recently studied at Chelsea College of Art, London and has an amazing talent as a sculptor. Jaime was a great person to talk to about anything and everything and put us in touch with some fantastic people in Lima. We really hope to work with Jaime again in the future. www.jaimemiranda.com/index.htm
Trina Brahman, painter and founder of Sachaqa Centro de Arte, originally from Bradford, England Trina was very inspirational to spend time with and allowed us to see and understand different ideas on life. Trina paints visions that she experiences using natural pigments and attributes these experiences to living in the jungle, feeling a close connection to nature is important to her work. Trina has a unique approach to painting and really believes in her art, the centre and the life she is building in the highlands of Peru with her husband Daniel Lerner and baby Jacob. http://www.sachaqacentrodearte.com/page3.php