I spent the first week in April at a communal residency by Mimeses North at Allenheads Contemporary Art Centre in Northumberland. The main aim of our retreat to this remote place was to be able to generate a level of coherence within our joint work and to develop the concepts for such work. It did though also allow some time for personal work.
Allenheads is a small village at the head of Allendale which runs north/south just to the south of the A69 near Hexham. It owes its existence to lead ore and fluorspar found in the rocks on which it stands. The the site of the central hub of a substantial lead mine which was operated from the 18th century to the end of the 19th. The demise of the mine saw the development of today’s remoteness from the hubs of contemporary life – development which disturbed only by brief spell of fluorspar mining by British Steel in the 1970’s.
Allenheads Contemporary Arts Centre is an activity run by artists Alan and Helen Smith from the old village School. It offers basis accommodation for groups wishing to get away together and a chance to reflect on the life that was once in Allenheads. I guess the images which I made there are my personal homage to the men, women and children of the mines.