From May to September 2021
Kate is Artist-in-Residence
in the Elan Valley.
The 1892 Water Act allowed Birmingham Corporation to purchase the watershed of rivers Elan and Claerwen. These 70 square miles would provide water to fuel the city’s industrial growth.
The WATERSHED LINE, the perimeter of the land claimed, was, and still is, marked by concrete posts.
Today, 81% of the Elan Estate is an SSSI. Ironically, the economic value of its water has protected it from the use of pesticides and other chemicals, preserving habitats for now rare plants and animals. However, harnessing the natural cycle of these valleys was a feat of Victorian engineering that accelerated industrialisation, contributing to the current global environmental crisis.
I have become increasingly interested in the ‘art of nothing’ in the context of the English countryside; in exploring the concept of the communication of ‘just being’ as an art-form. This includes finding my place in a landscape with a non-linear history; where I can connect with the footprints of others in any time or space. Always ideas led, my choice of material is secondary; and although in the past I would have described myself as a problem solver and a maker, recently I am more willing to accept the inexplicable and have allowed myself to work in a more intuitive and kinder way.