Moving Mountains (and making me cry)!

I promise this isn’t favouritism (I have a whole class full of favourites actually 😉 but I had to share this artwork by one of the students I teach at Writtle School of Design because I had a bit of a ‘moment’ with it. Oh alright, I admit it, when Estella Cumberford presented this work to Ruth Catlow and I it made me cry!

Estella presented us with her response to the remit of working with ‘systems and chance’ in a way that tied in with an overarching theme of landscape and environment. Inexplicably, Estella had been tuning a small harp prior to the class and I was already a little bit distracted by that – harps are just so incredibly magical aren’t they?! Anyway, the work itself is a musical score built from data about the heights and names of the Colorado Rocky Mountains of her much-loved homeland. To be honest, she had me already when she showed the mountainous note range she’d plotted (which you can see in the image I’ve borrowed above), but when she played this transferred emotional and statistical information on her harp, I totally welled-up. (And have I mentioned that Estella is only a few months into the course?!) There was something so engaging in the movement of this material into a musical form that it really conjured up an experience of the mountains as we sat in our Essex studio. Oh my god I’m going to cry again – I guess when something moves you, it just moves you!

Now, Estella has turned the idea into a collaboration by offering the score on a website so that people can play the music themselves and send her their own versions. It’s such a great extension of the project which lets it resonate more widely and I urge you – if you can play an instrument, because I can’t – to join in.

Posted via email from Charlotte’s posterous

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