I met Francesca at the Finding the Centre event last weekend. She told me of a walk she likes to take and on Thursday she took me on it. It is a long and beautiful walk, one that she'd started taking in July while her children were away for two weeks in Italy. She particularly enjoys it on a windy day: Spirited Away. Llandudno is completely different approached like this, sped through, rather than a destination. It feels like an alien invasion on an ancient landscape. Which, of course, it was. Is.
The walk is 17.5km, and it took us 5 hours. We talked of literature, film, fabric design, sustainability, careers and culture, of moving to new places, what Llandudno is like as a town, the grip of consumerism, the differences between approaches to food, alcohol, religion, children and education in Italy and North Wales. Of the pros and cons of perfectionism and the need for solitude, and of the other side - of isolation - if youdo not quit fit with a place.
Francesca talked of her work mapping personal geographies with textiles, and her approach opened my mind to freeing 'maps' from location: her (award winning) work is stunning - see here for images of her early work . Here is someone with arts and culture and sustainability running through her veins, that Llandudno doesn't seem quite able to either sustain nor reap the benefits from. It makes me realise just how important are CALL, Llawn and Providero as initiatives that are raising innovative, cultural, more contemporary expectations of Llandudno. Perhaps we should re-name Upper Mostyn Street 'Start-up Street' or 'Contemporary Culture Street'? I had noticed the other day, on my walk with Wanda Zyborska, that Providero had a poster for 'Creatives Anonymous'...
At the end of our walk, Francesca gave me this beautiful work she'd made (2016): Combining the Orme with yarns from her textile course she'd taken in Derby. This is Francesca's map:
But back to our walk. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I couldn't help but notice patterns and design everywhere.
We met seals, goats, sheep (sheeps), cows, model glider fliers (grounded, ironically, by an unusual lack of wind) and the sharply dressed Susan Harper from Hay-on-Wye. We also met Jenny, volunteering every day for 3 weeks protecting seals raising a baby, that she'd spotted: She's got notices posted to try to get people to stop interfering with them, to give them some space. Here is a quick visual record of our walk together.
Next day, Francesca did the walk again. A more elemental walk: The wind had returned! "I was rewarded" she said "with a rainbow"....