Belmont Residency 2008

When one embarks upon the journey of being a visual artist, opportunities like this residency provide an insight into the type of occupation you have chosen. Personally one of the greatest assets one can have as an artist is freedom and space to make work. This aspiration for freedom can be financial, psychological and related to time. As a young artist, one may receive opportunities to create shows, take part in exhibitions and various projects etc; however without time and financial freedom these opportunities can become burdens as you struggle to make work whilst supporting yourself. This residency at Belmont came at a fortunate time for my work as with shows approaching in September I knew the necessity of having a block of time to concentrate, develop and produce strong work. Through being here at Belmont for the last three months I had time to think about the kind of show I wished to create for September and take stock of where my work was currently positioned. I found it invaluable to have the opportunity to speak with the artists within Belmont about art practices, ideas and future plans. Without this kind of dialogue, one can become very insular within your chosen art practice and with the best of intentions; a broadening and development of work can become largely forgotten. I am happy that through speaking with these artists and also engaging with natural and found materials around the mill, new thoughts and forms within my work have begun to develop.

The kindness and understanding of Tom and Sandy has been an enormous help in giving me encouragement and hope to continue working as a visual artist. Their generosity in providing a centre like Belmont is vitally important to all types of art practices. I have enjoyed the experience of living and working at Belmont mills immensely and I hope in years to come it continues to help and further the careers of artists who come and work in this environ.

Laura Fitzgerald 2008