Yesterday was the second of four days I will be spending with "Vigil I" at the Cannon Hall Folly "Fairyland". Whereas the first day was fraught with minor panics (would the candles stay burning? Would the camera keep clicking? Would people 'get it'? Would the weather hold? Would I die of boredom - or the cold?), this time, despite the earlier start, settling down to wait - holding vigil over the sculpture, as it were - felt comfortable, like shrugging into a favourite jumper or an old coat. This feeling got stronger when one of the first people passing by was a regular morning walker, whom I'd already met back in January. "Oh, there you are - right from seeing the lights in the distance, I wondered whether it was you coming back." Between me growing more comfortable with the technology - and trusting it - and being accepted as a 'regular' feature, holding vigil had become familiar. Short of dogs barrelling into the tripod, I wasn't expecting too many surprises.
And indeed, the surprises were subtle ones. The point of "Vigil I" is waiting - patiently, half-expectantly, hopeful, but maybe not daring to hope too much. That was kind of the feeling I had. It was two months after the first visit, and I was photographing a stretch of wall with no vegetation apart from a few bits of ivy (which, I had ascertained first thing - and much to my disappointment, hadn't grown at all!) The only variation was the sun, or rather, its arc across the sky. And around 9am, this simple difference resulted in the picture on the right.
I love how evocative the shadow cast is, it reminds me of a gravestone. Back in January, the sun was simply too low, and I now wonder what will happen in June/July. There were more such subtle difference throughout the day - for the first time, the sun reached the front of the sculpture, mottled through the leaves, and I think, in full summer, it'll get a proper blast of sunshine.
I expected there to be more people than in January - by afternoon, I was down to a sleeveless t-shirt, moving my camping chair from shade to shade, trying to avoid the sunburn. What I didn't expect - and I think it was simply fluke - was the number of people wanting to pause in front of the sculpture to read the entire letter. This resulted in quite a few 'out take' photos for the timelapse video, because the camera was, of course, mercilessly clicking every two minutes. Other people I chatted to started to take ownership, trying to hustle the 'readers' along, so as not to disturb the 'art'. It made me smile to see these two different approaches colliding. I simply took an extra photo as soon as people moved aside, and I hope that this didn't disrupt the overall experience.
This time, I had come prepared with a flyer, which gave information about the project, and also advertised next week's fairy-making workshop, so I hope people had a second chance to engage with Follies for Follies, other than my ramblings.
Once more, I had a little reprieve in the day, when my two friends Rachel and Janey visited with a blanket and a full-blown picnic. I had a little wander to the shops, and managed to point out to staff that Cannon Hall was in this month's Yorkshire Life magazine (which they were selling). And since every publication so far has used the photo Janey took of me back in January, we thought we'd add to the pool of available 'artist with sculpture' photos (see right).
Throughout the day, I got asked whether I was doing 'college work' about four times...I'm not sure whether this reflects on my youthful appearance (*cough*) or on some unspoken assumption that no serious artist would spend a day sitting in a park with a sculpture. Once more, I am so happy with the interest Vigil's outing has sparked, and I hope next week's fairy-making workshop will give me the opportunity to involve more people directly.
The video from yesterday hasn't been created yet - it'll take a bit longer this time, due to the out takes, but also because I was to add it to the end of the other one, so that the overall intended shape of the final video will become clear. Thank you again for all your support!