talking sticks, northam 7213

two sticks suspended between two posts in the wind by a car park on the north devon coast near appledore – simple but most satisfying! i am presently really enjoying the immediacy and subtle expressiveness of the medium of short film and natural sound abstracted by contemporary technology (and certainly far more than many of the apparently artful, endless and somewhat overly pricey ‘conversations’ relished in some circles!)

P Ward 2013


burning 9 bundles, COURAGE COPSE 9113

a short film documenting the eventual (and ritual) burning of 9 bundles of sticks that have been used in various projects over the last 6 months – from ecological art workshops, community dance performances and contemporary art exhibitions the bundles have been enjoyed by and inspired many people taking on a powerful presence of their own. But the bundles were made to be burnt and so they have come to their fitting end. Many thanks to COURAGE COPSE CREATIVES and HOME GROWN KIDS in North Devon where they were made and to where they were ultimately returned…

“ The ability of each thing or entity to influence the space around it may be viewed as the expressive power of that being. All things, in this sense, are potentially expressive; all things have the power of speech. Most, of course, do not speak in words. But this is also true of ourselves: our own verbal eloquence is but one form of human expression among many others.” from David Abram, Becoming Animal – An Earthly Cosmology.

P Ward 2013


mummer-me-a-bundle-of-sticks

In a vain attempt to appreciate the conceptual nature of my ongoing MA ART & ENVIRONMENT project, A BUNDLE OF STICKS, I have been tempted by drastic but most sensible measures. What could be more logical in light of my year long, artfully intensive and obsessive research into the practical, metaphorical and ecological implications of this primitive action and entity than to embody a most literal interpretation in practice?

 a latent bundle (pward 2012)

‘The Ashen Faggot is a West Country Christmas Eve custom – it’s a large log with withies bound around it to make a bundle which is burned indoors in the hearth. Drinks are consumed as each withy breaks in the flames, which sounds like an excuse for a good drink! The practice still survives in country pubs notably the Lutrell Arms in Dunster, Somerset – their faggot consists of twelve thick sticks bound in a bundle using ash withies and the Dunster Carol is sung while it burns in the vast fireplace. It’s a revived custom dating back to the 1930s but with much older roots.’  calendarcustoms.com

 workshop (pward 2012)

How often have we heard the phrase ‘to listen to nature’, or been puzzled by an intuitive resonance of substance or place? ‘Each according to their own nature’, we may declare, or ‘the substance of things may only be perceived through practice’ said Mr Beuys. As I struggled to consolidate and configure the diverse and intrinsic ramifications of A BUNDLE OF STICKS towards my own emerging practice within the confines of a 7000 word dissertation I was struck by how much I had begun to see the world through it – how I had become both the subject and object within the the nature of my study.

 seeing the world through a bundle of sticks (pward 2012)

As an artist there is a definitive emphasis on the sensory appreciation of and response to the world, which may then be most mystically synthesised with our intellectual, relational and tactile dexterity to perform our communal craft. An adult interest in earth spirituality and indigenous culture has been both enjoyed and indulged through the more traditional celebrations of our ecological connectivity, its ritual, its power and its lore, to enable an active expression of this essential sensibility within my evolving environmentalist practice.

And for a change, more pictures and less words …

  camouflage 1 (pward 2012)

“Owing to the failure of intellectual leadership, the breakdown of religion, and the short-cuts to culture, our minds are now for the most part demoralized; in any true sense we know nothing, we understand nothing, we are incapable of reflection.” John Stewart Collis; THE WORM FORGIVES THE PLOUGH (LONDON; Vintage, 1973) 

 sticks for ears 1 (pward 2012)

 a good cure for a headache (pward 2011)

 lampost (pward 2012)

For more images visit my mummer-me-a-bundle-of-sticks gallery on facebook

PW2012