The Walking Studio Parks

February 25, 2021

Shelters, Habitats, Nests and Retreats

This is an invitation to become part of a walking art collective. Our studios will be our localities, our walking routes and our artistic quests to photograph, make and write about what we find along the way of everyday journeys.

I hope we can share our walks together through photographs, reflections and artworks. We will meet in our shared artistic encounters documenting our surroundings that create impressions in the moment and beyond.

My recent walks have been discovering human nests in Phoenix Park, Dublin. These are large habitats made by people within the park’s forests. These dens have multiplied in number and feature designs handmade by those who frequent the park. They are available for personal retreats, forest schools, family occupations and group escapes. As a form of social media (socially constructed with a multiplier effect), they are landmarks in a common landscape of people.

A forest shelter and habitat in Phoenix Park, Dublin

Below you will see an aerial view of Phoenix Park, one of the largest enclosed parks within a European capital city. The park was established in 1662 and it is home to deer, foxes, badgers and rabbits. Throughout the park there are forests, gardens, lakes and paths going into wild and quiet places. During darkness the park is a sanctuary for solitary walkers, who travel with night vision, moonlight and with street lanterns to guide their passage.

“The commons as public park is there for the making—place making is integral to experiencing the commons as an archive of landscape that is environmentally designed by people and ecology as co-creators. A public park is there for everyone, a location that can be re-formed by art making, and a declaration of how to create with materials that are readily available” (https://en.ecopoiesis.ru/aktualnoe/news_post/habitats-of-composition-the-nature-of-the-commons)

The creative pursuits of a walk are many, and within each roaming there is a studio to be discovered along the way.

Phoenix Park is depicted in the map above, as the large green area
An aerial view of Phoenix Park
A deer herd in Phoenix Park, Dublin
A walking journal with grass and leaf imprints

A Response Walk by Bridget Nugent

“The experience of walking around the town park was paradoxical, it was busy yet peaceful, some trees were bare after the winter but there was also an abundance of greenery, in areas it looked like there was no life yet what you could hear was full of life- the birds singing and kids playing. The car park was full yet the paths were empty. A fresh walk for a Saturday evening.”

Drum Manor Forest Park is located near Cookstown, Northern Ireland. The park was created from the pleasure groups developed in the 1800’s around a Manor House in the vicinity.

Drum Manor Forest Park, Cookstown (Northern Ireland)

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