The end of week one is fast approaching. In this blog I will tell you what has transpired thus far and what we can expect in the near and then distant future. Students have spent the greater part of the first week absorbing huge bits of information about the Burren and trying to determine how a visual or musical concept can be developed based on their compacted experience. We continue to provide them with more and more information about this place with the hope that they will absorb as much as possible and then incorporate this information into their art and music. I think that it is important to keep in mind that each student has a little less than three weeks to develop a body of work that will satisfy our and their expectations. Is this possible? These students were chosen for this program because we feel, that for them, it is not only possible, but also likely that they will produce some amazing and insightful work. Each of them has settled into a rhythm and a routine where they average between 7 and 10 hours each day working on their projects or talking about their work and art and music in general. This conversation continues when they return to their houses and in the Pubs in the evening. This program is an opportunity for them to immerse themselves in their work without having to worry about virtually anything else. Some begin the process quickly. They make decisions, and commit immediately. Others need a little more time. Each day, someone breaks through and begins producing a level of work that they were previously incapable of producing. This is very, very exciting. Matthew and I realize that there are risks involved with the way the program is structured. The worst-case scenario is this: 15 students have the same objective. 14 of them hit the mark and work daily on projects that excite them and are conceptually sound. One falters. This one student sees everyone around him working successfully, happily and experiencing satisfaction. This scenario can turn serious very quickly. Away from home, not living up to expectations. Fortunately we are always aware of this possibility and we are very careful to never let this scenario come to pass. Through steady interaction, and a one on one approach to teaching, we always have a finger on the pulse of each student, not to mention the very supportive atmosphere that students create for themselves. Today was and will be a day chockfull of unique experiences. We spent the morning in the studios continuing to work on projects. Some chose to work from home. After lunch we all went on a Flora and Fauna hill walk at Black Head with our guide Shane Connelly. Shane has been our guide for each of the four times we have done this. He’s a very knowledgeable person who is also a farmer in the area besides being a tour guide. He has a great sense of humor and makes the dissemination of information enjoyable. Unfortunately, the weather was uncooperative. I’m not sure that it actually rained but the fog was so thick that all of us were completely soaked by days end. Nothing that a hot shower, a hot cup of tea and clean dry clothes can’t fix.
Last evening, (Friday night) Eddie Lenihan joined us to share his stories about the myths and legends of Ireland. Eddie has been collecting and putting in books all of the old stories and legends that have been mostly passed down through the generations orally. His goal is to record them before they are lost forever in the ‘mists of time.” He tells these stories in the classic Irish way, full of animation and energy. To fully appreciate Eddie, you have to know what he looks like. Here are a few photos of him in mid-story:
This blog will be posted sometime on Saturday so my tenses may be a little off. We only have wifi at the college and not in our houses so it isn’t possible to always post at opportune times. Please bear with us. Today, (Saturday) we went to Galway for the day on the local bus line. Galway is a great little city with tons of shops, street performers and craft and farmers markets. Not to mention that Galway is the arts capitol of Ireland. The day began bright and sunny but almost as soon as we got off the bus, it started to rain. Everyone went on their separate way and I don’t think the rain interfered with enjoying the city. (BTW, the sun came out again as we were boarding to return to Ballyvaughan!)
Until tomorrow…lots more pictures on the way, including photos made by students. If you have any comments or requests, please let us know. You can also e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org