Stefan Escreet and Claire Webzell

“We did the 10 mile walk around Derwentwater. We took drawing and writing materials, camping chairs and a table. The table seemed to get heavier the further round we went. So we were delighted when Kate Parry joined us at The Chinese Bridge and became a sherpa. We set up our outdoor studio at various points along the route and invited members of the public passing by to fill in a postcard with a few lines – either as a picture or as a short piece of writing. We kept busy filling in postcards too.

Man sitting on table with butnung and postcards on the shores of derwentwater.

We had some delightful encounters: a couple who had just got back from three years in Saigon and were drinking in the unpolluted air of Cumbria; a man who made a real fuss about going in for a swim at the Chinese Bridge and then revealed that he had always brought his sons here for a swim when they were little; and two-year-old Thomas who tried to draw on every postcard we had. Lots of people thought we were mad and lots of people were really curious. One couple were anxious about getting back to their car because of parking tickets. Then they got so absorbed they spent about 20 minutes colouring in!

Answering the three Artful questions

Question 1: Creativity – What does creativity/culture mean to you?

What a massive question! Being in the moment. Finding the sweet spot where head, heart and body are working in harmony.

Question 2: Covid-19 has forced us all to reimagine ways to connect. What have you missed – and what new possibilities have opened up?

We’ve missed being with people. There are wonderful new possibilities in working online – we have managed to adapt and deliver some of the work we were doing previously and there has been the huge pleasure of weekly creative writing sessions with Rachel Ashton of Theatre Factory. 

Question 3: How can we, collectively, and artfully, better care for our environment? 

At the Chinese Bridge there was a small crowd of people for the time we were there. In the meadow at a little distance was a herd of cows with beautiful calves. Everyone seemed to move on at the same time and as we packed up the cows approached and took their turn drinking from the riverbank. It was an idyllic scene and a reminder of how we must share resources. Others may not be as patient as those cows.

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