Seeing Through the Rainy Season

If last week’s photo series was about changeable weather, this week’s is about the apparent permanence of moisture during one of the rainy seasons in Wales – there is certainly more than one!

I was recently up on the hills of the Mawr ward near Swansea to assess the conditions for a scheduled project production day . . . what a joke. I couldn’t believe the weather on my journey up there but thought “the weather is so changeable these days, you never know, it might clear“. Ha! Wishful thinking indeed.

Having said that, I had my waterproofs with me and decided it would be good to try and capture something of the atmosphere of the place in these wild conditions. So here is a short accurately descriptive sound clip to accompany the first two images of the week.

Mist and rain on Mawr

Mist and Rain on Mawr

Celebrating Dylan Thomas

In celebration of the centenary of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, I thought I would post a second time today with a link to my StillWalks video “Cwmdonkin Walk – Autumn”. The park in Swansea was a significant feature in Dylan’s life and has seen some notable improvements in the last year to celebrate his centenary.

I have upgraded the normal sample version of the video to the full length at a higher resolution and hope that you will enjoy it as much as those people using it on a daily basis.

Click here or the image below to watch the full video (8 minutes).

Cwmdonkin Park

Trolley Cemetery and a New View of Drawing

Decaying with time, these old trolleys create a strange cemetery in the mouth of the River Tawe, Swansea.

Those that already follow this blog will know that there is more to come throughout this week to tell the story of a recent walk in the docks/marina area of Swansea.

The walk was the second Mission Gallery Walk and Draw with Sarah Abbott that I have taken part in. On this occasion, while I did a little sketching, most of my drawing was with my DSLR camera, iPhone and small edirol sound recorder.

Having read that the winner of the Jerwood Drawing Prize this year was sound artist  Alison Carlier, I felt that my description of drawing with my camera and sound recorder while out on pre-production recce walks for StillWalks videos, is perfectly valid.

With The Big Draw continuing throughout this month, perhaps it is an appropriate time to consider and enjoy the broadening definition of drawing.

trolleys in sand

trolley in sand

Old fence section

trolley in sand

Breakers Walk – A New StillWalks Video

This past week I have been showing a taster of this new StillWalks video. Now, here is the video itself. Please watch and if you can, use the expand button in the corner of the video to watch it full screen.

The video is nine minutes long, which is longer than many other StillWalks videos, but I hope that you will appreciate the reasoning for this and enjoy its full length. Comments are welcome.

The video was produced as part of a research project with Dr Cathy Treadaway for CARIAD at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Back On the Buses

Due to my car breaking down recently (on top of a Welsh mountain), I found myself having to use buses to get to work for the first time in – well, I can’t think how long.

These photos and sounds may be familiar to those who use buses all the time, but for me, I came to the experience with a new ear and eye. The first bus I took seemed a bit of rickety old thing but this just made for a fascinating series of rattles, squeaks, creaks and bangs to say nothing of the changing noise of the engine and the hiss of doors.

These were recorded the day before World Listening Day!

Bus en route to Gowerton

Standing at bus stop Pontlliw

 

 

Sounding Out Colour and Texture – imagination and a tapestry weaving workshop

A few weeks ago I took a tapestry weaving workshop over the weekend for the Crickhowell Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers. They had asked me if I could do a version of my workshop “Sounding out Colour and Texture”.

tapestry weaving workshop

The workshop focus was sound and the intention was to help everyone to develop ideas for tapestry weaving by using a medium that may not have occurred to them previously. It wasn’t going to be possible in the time allowed to produce finished tapestries but we were able to experiment with different techniques and materials as a means of interpreting different aspects of sound.

The language used in describing sound relates very well to the language used in the visual arts and crafts. I am not talking of the technical terms connected to audio and tapestry weaving, but rather the interpretive, emotional terms used. Colour and texture, rhythm and melody.

We often hear the term “the tapestry of life” – the wide range of techniques and materials it is possible to use within tapestry weaving make it possible to represent any number of aspects of our emotional and physical lives and sound can be an excellent starting point for exploring those possibilities.

In these workshops I would also ask people to close their eyes and imagine what colour a sound might be or what it would feel like in their hands if they could grab a hold of it.  The sound editing program I use, Adobe Audition, can show us the wave form of the sound and it can show us the “shape” of the sound in the spectral display, but it cannot tell us its texture and the colour it shows is only that selected by the user in the program’s preferences.

This is where the imagination comes in and helps us to develop the designs we may use to present an interpretation of a subject that could be said to have an extra dimension to it.

 

apart from looking at how different sounds appear visually on the spectral display of an editing program like Adobe Audition, 

The Sounds of Cwmdonkin Park

There are a number of different features to Cwmdonkin Park in Swansea and if it was anything like it is now in Dylan Thomas’ time, then it is hardly surprising that he liked the place.

All the photos I have posted this week from my recce walk of the park have been take on my iPhone and I look forward to returning with my full StillWalks production kit. I had the kit in the car when I was there but neither had the time nor the inclination to go and get it!

Noise pollution – Too much of my time in the park was spent with the aural backdrop of somebody from the parks department using a leaf blower! I cannot think of a more irritating source of noise pollution.

There are two sound clips here, tell me which you prefer.

These and two other clips can also be listened to on SoundCloud.

Cwmdonkin trees

Cwmdonkin trees

Cwmdonkin trees

Cwmdonkin trees You can use the new Donate button below to help StillWalks. Pay how much you want and receive a high quality download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “Autumn Lakeside Walk” from Gnoll Park, Neath, South Wales. Click the image below to watch the video.

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