27th – 31st July 2011, Caravanserai, Treloan Coastal Holidays
Caravanserai is an arts residency project initiated by Annie Lovejoy and Mac Dunlop at Treloan Coastal Holidays, a caravan and camping site on the Roseland Peninusla in Cornwall. In partnership with the campsite owners, they are working to encourage responsible tourism through hosting creative activities that engage with, and celebrate the local environment and culture.
To date, artists, writers, musicians, storytellers, geographers, foragers, academic researchers and post-graduate students have been hosted by the Caravanserai project at Treloan – either through being in-residence in the Roma project caravan, participating in their do tanks or performing at the feast and fireside sessions.
Christopher, Emma (Chris’ girlfriend) and myself had a fantastic time at Caravanserai – starting with a wonderful fireside session where poets, storytellers and singers entertained us all as the sun went down. The next morning The Living Room was set up outdoors in the events tent, where we held book binding and drawing workshops that were extremely popular with the people camping at Treloan, especially the children! As one anonymous person said:
‘I loved the set up, it was so enjoyable to see Johnsey’s beautiful books, paintings and homely objects. My life is one whirlwind of paperwork and timed tasks. It was delightful to step into this creative world full of laughter, friendship and genuine artistic spirit. Thank you so much for a wonderfully enriching experience.’
We all agreed that Caravanserai was the ideal place to hold The Living Room as not only is it the most beautiful location, but it also provides an audience who are friendly and relaxed and, being on holiday, have lots of spare time to come and enjoy the calming and creative atmosphere of our exhibition. Once again, as we discovered in the previous exhibition, children especially enjoyed the space and did not feel intimidated to look at the art and talk to Christopher and parents were happy to let them stay for a long time and play without any concerns which they might get from a formal gallery space.
A lesson learnt from the previous exhibition was to have something outside the space inviting people in. We put up a chalk board, which read ‘Please come in and join the artist Christopher Johns in The Living Room’ for a cup of tea and a piece of cake.’ Annie had also made wonderful flyers which were stuck up around the campsite to advertise the workshops, which were also mentioned by Mac during the fireside session. This meant that passerbys were aware of what was going on and were happy to come into the space with no fear that it was a performance or an installation that they were not allowed to interact with. The confusion that some people felt at the previous exhibition was successfully removed.
Christopher, Emma and Olivia would like to thank Annie and Mac and Pete and Debs for inviting them to Caravanserai and for being such brilliant hosts!
Treloan Coastal Holidays,
Treloan Lane, Gerrans,