Together artists Clare Whistler and Charlotte Still have been following an organic process of where, being with and thinking about water will take them. A water wandering; inquisitive, interactive, immersive, reflective, poetic, experiential, unexpected, spontaneous and flowing. On the way they have constantly looked for ways to share their experience and convey their rapidly growing concerns and reverence for water
In 2012 their first project ‘Stream’, https://stillstreamwhistler.wordpress.com a search for sources of the River Cuckmere in East Sussex, was inspired by a simple wish ‘to find out where our drinking water comes from and where would fetch it if not from a tap’ and also by a memory they’d both heard at a funeral, of two friends meeting every year to walk from the source to the mouth of a river.
‘Stream’ began with a map to find the nearest sources to Charlotte’s home town of Hailsham and became a series of regular contemplative walks and returns throughout the seasons to about 10 streams and sources a few miles north near the village of Cowbeech. After a year they sought a place to contemplate their findings and questionings and on asking the local Town council were gifted an empty shop for a few months to use as a studio, with the understanding that they would offer something to the community in return.
Their unravelling sense of awe at the complexity of water, their experience of it in their exploration and the ineptitude they felt in conveying the wonder of their discoveries through their art led to the creation of Waterweek, a now annual public event mixing the practical, mythical and artistic, inviting conversation, appreciation and education in surprising ways and places.
Now in its 6th year Waterweek has evolved into a wider collective of artists and others with enthusiasm for water and the Waterweek concept. They include among many artists Christine Binnie, Julie Ford, Laura Jordan, Raphael Whittle and Jane Trowell, pond conservation expert ‘Pete the Pond’, members of the Cuckmere and Pevensey Levels Catchment Partnership and Graham Kean; local historian, Wealden District Council’s drainage expert and leader of Wealden Walks. Many others have become an integral part of Waterweek too, returning year after year interweaving art, industry, history and ecology to make the interactive art piece that Waterweek is.
Reaching out from Waterweek there have been community stream cleanups, https://www.facebook.com/breathingwaterways/ membership of the Cuckmere and Pevensey Levels Partnership http://www.cplcp.org.uk as artists in residence and a residency in a ladies lavatory at St Elizabeth’s Church, Eastbourne
For the last 4 years of Waterweek Gallery North in Hailsham has hosted a Waterweek exhibition by invited artists, curated by Clare, Charlotte and Julie Ford.