The Elmgreen School 2017

Katherine Hyde, Isabella Costello-Wilson, Ruby Rogers

London to Lundy

For our Mark Evison challenge, we decided to combine physical and creative challenges in our London to Lundy project. While visiting the remote island of Lundy, we challenged our creative skills by producing material for an artistic magazine (zine). We chose this project because we wanted the opportunity to produce something completely independently, and Lundy’s remoteness seemed like the perfect place to fulfil this goal.

The first challenge we encountered in planning our trip was how to get to this very remote island, which is 11 miles off the North Devon coast. We decided to take a coach to North Devon the night before catching the ferry to Lundy, as the boat only left at 8:30 in the morning. Unfortunately, our coach there was delayed by 3 hours, and so our trip began with sitting in Victoria coach station, making preparations for our zine. After a Seven hour coach journey and a night in the local town of Barnstaple, we made our way to the shore office. After seeing the choppy weather, there was a moment of a panic as we had been told that the ferry would not depart in unsuitable conditions. Luckily, the weather cleared in time for our departure and we set off on our two hour journey, and were fortunate enough to see two dolphins. The journey was not so enjoyable for one of us, who spent the majority of the trip in the toilet feeling very ill.

As we approached, we were amazed at the wildness and the beauty of the island. Although Lundy is small (3 miles long and 1/2 a mile wide), it’s rocky formation means that its paths are often very steep and physically demanding. However, this challenge was completely worth it when we were rewarded with stunning 360 degree views of the surrounding ocean, which was amazing to paint and photograph. We spent the next three days and nights on the island exploring everything Lundy had to offer, including an old disused lighthouse, magical castle ruins and its beautiful natural wonders. The island’s wildlife was particularly inspiring, and we saw everything from wild mountain goats to rare seabirds. All these things served us with great creative inspiration unlike anything we’ve ever experienced, and really helped us in coming up with the material for our zine. Living on Lundy was not without its challenges, however. The island is currently experiencing a severe clean water shortage, so the tap water was not drinkable. This meant we had to be very careful with rationing our bottled water, and really reminded us how far we were from the commodities of our homes. At times, the island’s isolation was overwhelming, with no phone signal for us to speak to our families.

Our project’s main challenge, however, was a creative one. We have never worked autonomously on this kind of project before, but we found the creative freedom to take the project wherever we wanted very liberating. Using the limited materials we had space to bring on our trip was also a challenge. It was a completely new experience painting from life rather than from photos, and one we found very creatively stimulating. Moreover, the islands rule of “take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footsteps” meant that visiting the island was like travelling back in time, and was fascinating to experience after researching Lundy’s interesting history. There was definitely an air of magic and mystery to the island, which also served as great creative inspiration for our writing. At times, we felt a creative block due to the pressure to produce something in such a short space of time, however Lundy never failed to fix this issue by providing us with fresh inspiration.

Visiting Lundy, and the subsequent creative process has been an incredible experience, and something we would never have had the chance to do without the generosity of the Mark Evison Foundation. We are so grateful for the support of the Foundation, and we will treasure our memories of Lundy.