At the end of the first week on the R&D project Only When Its Feathers are Grown, the company, who had been thrown into the woods for five days, were asked for feedback. As they hacked their way through the undergrowth, they considered the outcomes and their experience…
Were you already familiar with the concept of The Descent?
Yes. No. Not really. I was familiar with some descent stories, Persephone, Alice in Wonderland, but not with the concept itself or the psychology behind it.
What have you learnt, and how has the activity helped you to develop as an artist?
I am not used to developing ideas as a group, so this collaboration was a very helpful experience which I learnt a lot from. So much, about The Descent, nature and its healing. I have learnt a different way to look at a project from a far and not dive into it head first, how to explain The Descent to people who have never encountered the story before. I hope it has helped me be freer in sharing ideas with others. I also found the meditation very interesting, as I had not had much experience here either.
What has been your favourite part so far?
Being outdoors in the woods, photographing in the woods – even early in the morning, creating photos that respond to the project. Building the fire for the BBQ, photo shoots, and rebellion burning. Learning about The Descent and the psychology behind it, even though I didn’t know anything about it before.
What have you found the hardest?
Mindset – letting go. Staying on top of all the different things I have thrown at me even when I haven’t finished the first thing. Writing my own story of The Descent. But ultimately this was a good exercise for me, because it shone a light on various issues I still need to work on.
In your own word/ words/ picture/ interpretative dance, what is The Descent?
Falling into the unknown through a series of decisions/ meetings/ paths. The Descent for me is someone who falls into a hard time and is struggling to continue, but then eventually starts to get better over time and come back to their original state or even better. A difficult journey, with many trials and a definitive, and definitively dark nadir. But from which you learn about yourself and in general, become stronger and are more able to give back in some way. A rite of initiation for women to contact their true feminine natures.
It was such a great experience living altogether in the woods, and this immersion was very conducive to the creative process. Thanks to everyone who took part and made it happen.