In this world of over-production and the dominant culture of growth for the sake of profits and not much else, in our new issue, we have turned our attention to the idea of slow and careful nurture. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, nurture is ‘the process of bringing up or training.’ It is also about feeding and offering nourishment.
For issue 23 ofHole & Cornermagazine, we explore many forms of nurture, and the results of it]. Jude Rogers joins the International Musicians Seminar (IMS) in Cornwall to witness their fiftieth gathering of different generations of musicians and maestri alongside a team of dedicated volunteers, who come together to lose themselves in music and learn from each other. We spend a day on a Kentish farm where flocks of Merino and Romney sheep are reared alongside a flower garden in a pilot project where yarn and dyes are grown from the same soil. At Marchmont House in the Scottish Borders, local makers and apprentices are given space and a community in which to thrive, and we find an artist who builds layer upon layer of pigment to create extraordinary surfaces that positively vibrate. We pause to plant the tiniest of seeds and see what will grow, and we meet a cohort of metalsmith, wire artist, cabinet maker and weaver, then a sculptor who works with lichen and eelgrass – each hammering, chiselling, weaving, moulding and honing their chosen materials into something precious and unique.
However, it’s important not to romanticise this idea of nurture and the slow, steady world of craft. As Annie Warburton, the CEO of Cockpit Arts, writes in her Viewpoint essay, to have the chance to discover a skill in the first place is a real luxury, not least having ‘the time and training to take it to its full expression. Although talent is everywhere, opportunity is not.’ Nurture means training and direction, but it also needs support for talent and creativity to thrive.