Material Woman Sounds Good – August 2012

Material Woman’s Plans

Material Woman has set herself the challenge to spend the period between 2 and 31 August on Dartmoor making new works inspired by the landscape, the weather, the encounters she has with Dartmoor’s inhabitants and other experiences/influences.

Material Woman’s Blog

is coming soon!


How to Join Material Woman (slight change as Friday, 03-08-12)

Every day at 10:30 am between Friday August 3rd and Friday August 31 she will be in the car park at Shipley Bridge (SX681629) on OS Explorer Map OL28.   If you’d like to join Material Woman on her travels, plan to meet her there on the day of your choice.   You may want to walk with her for a while, have a bit of a chat about the work she’s undertaking before heading off on your own adventure, or you may decide to join her for all or part of the day.  Material Woman is flexible.

If you not up to walking on Dartmoor, Elspeth will be more than pleased to hang out with you in the Shipley Bridge car park.  She’d like to tell you about her project as well as listen to your stories, before she heads out on her route of the day.

If you bring her some food and a top up for her water bottle she’ll be very pleased as she’s likely to have been out and about since dawn, or even earlier, and her food/water supplies may need replenishing.  If you bring her a set of new aa batteries for her audio recorder she’ll probably give you a big hug (or not, as you wish…).

It is understood that you will undertake your walk/engagement with Material Woman at your own risk.   As you’ll be out on Dartmoor with her  it’s important that you come equipped for the changeable nature of the weather.  A sunny morning can quickly turn into an afternoon of high wind, driving rain and dropping temperatures.  For advice about what to wear and what to know before taking a walk on Dartmoor an on-line search of walking advice for Dartmoor (or something similar) will return lots of information.

If you are thinking of joining Material Woman and have any advance questions, contact Nancy at AHA by email or phone:  01364 72 046. 

Material Woman’s Advance Thoughts, Plans and Inspirations (16 July, 2012)

For me the crux of this project so far has been the element of collaboration.  At first it was hard to acknowledge this part of the process, because Material Woman is usually quite secretive in her preparations, leaving plans only vaguely articulated until the last minute.  For me, Sounds Good is one in a sequence of Blue Moon Projects, but for Aune Head Arts, it is a one-off commission for their EVA project.

Gradually, after a meeting in Princetown with Nancy Sinclair and Amanda Pallatt on 8 June and with Jo Pelley at Bala Brook on 11 June, I accepted the need to announce a journey plan.  This plan was circulated to AHA and MW mailing lists in early July.  A risk assessment was carried out and a contract agreed which gave me sole responsibility for my health and safety while on the Moor.

Uncertainty about mobile phone communication remains.  Further mailouts with detailed information about how to take part have been distributed with the aim of obtaining as many committed participants as possible before I begin the walk in August.

Tony Walker, AHA’s Technical Producer, has given me long distance support in the use of an Edirol recorder.  He and I are also having a face to face session on August 1.   For me, the whole of August will be given over to the gathering of sound recordings from the time on the Moor.  I will not begin editing the final work until September.

At the same time as this working and planning together with Aune Head Arts has been taking place, another very significant collaboration has been developing.  This has been my main source of inspiration and energy and has created a whole further layer to the project.  In the earlier Blue Moon journeys I have always made a daily structure in the form of a task and I had been floundering with what that could be this time.  The ritual has been discovered through a collaboration between myself and Penny Roberts, a friend for more than fifty years who I first met when we both taught at Dartington Hall School.  Penny has just finished making 30 “clooties”.  These are small scraps of fabric torn from the clothes of her daughter Sasha who died a few years ago.  On the fabric Penny has written quotations from a literary work on Beauty that Sasha left unfinished.

Each day Material Woman will take one of these delicate fragments out with her and lay it down, on the rocks, on the grass, on the bushes, leaving it to the wind and the weather.  She will record herself and others reading the words out in the wild and photograph each scrap as she leaves it in its spot.  I believe it is these recordings that will be at the heart of my final sound work.

To return to the EVA Artist Commissions page, go here.





Aune Head Arts
Dartington Hall
Devon TQ9 6EN


Aune Head Arts is a Company Limited by Guarantee, registered in England & Wales. Co. No. 03478530; Registered Charity No. 1141626. Reg. Office: as above Aune Head Arts has now ceased to trade.

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