Archive for July, 2010

Cortijada Los Gázquez in THE SUNDAY TIMES / Travel

tom fordyce



Creative Course / ‘En Plein Air’


At 15 m high (50ft), a canopy of 20m in diameter (65ft) and a trunk nearly 2m (6 1/2 ft) thick, this is the Aleppo pine growing at Cortijo del Pino. It’s 200 years old.

Holm Oak

A Holm Oak, (Quercus ilex) it’s grazing line determined by hungry wild boar looking for acorns.


A creative guest painting in the shade of  the awning…

rio caramel

Early evening, an abandoned farm house on the Rio Caramel

Torre de Salazar

Torre de Salazar with cave houses on the Alto Plano.



LURE / Short + Forward / vultures

the view NE Sierra Larga

Early morning saw myself along with JOYA resident artists Louise Short and Alice Forward scaling the 1400 m Peña Casenova…

Mount Lynch

The view from the top is awesome…

LS on Peña Cassenova

Here is Louise Short setting her ‘lure’ of animal entrails hoping to entice the odd vulture from the sky. She has set up her super 8 camera on a 48 hr time lapse. The finished film will be shown at the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol in August. Hopefully I can arrange some stills or an excerpt to show you at a later blog post.



Caballa en Hojas de Vid

mackrel and vine

Last nights supper. Fresh mackerel (we are 80km from the sea) with a little salt and pepper wrapped in blanched vine leaves from the big grape vine outside and popped on the ‘barby’ for just a few minutes. Delicious!


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Making Moth Mix

making moth mix

Here are the children making ‘Moth Mix’, the lure for the ‘Mothshadow Movie’ with JOYA resident artist Louise Short. It’s a heady mix of brown sugar, Coke, rum and treacle…..mmm!



LURE / Short + Forward / Skep

forward skep 1

Within days of being here Joya resident artist Alice Forward has collected the local esparto grass and after much reasearch into her subject, she has started building her first grass skep.

forward skep 2

It takes hard work and discipline and hours of patience (especially as in this case it’s not been done before) to make and learn as you proceed with the construction.

forward skep 3

It’s becoming a beautiful object already. I’ll keep you informed as to it’s progress…



LURE / Short + Forward / Mothshadow Movie

moth trap 1

Evening time, the air is warm and alive with the sound of crickets. Here at Los Gázquez the night sky doesn’t suffer the ills of light pollution. And as the night extends more stars than ever begin to reveal their light.

This is us, our family, Solomon and Sesamé along with Joya artists Alice Forward and Louise Short. They have commandeered us to help make a harmless lure for moths. It’s a brew of coke and treacle, brown sugar and rum all mixed up and then applied liberally to an old almond tree. Step one in the production of Mothshadow Movie.

moth trap 2



Joya Resident artists #25-26 / Short + Forward / LURE

‘We are two artists passionately interested in the natural world and human interaction with it, and we are very excited to be at Cortijada Los Gázquez to work together on a project we are calling “LURE”. Inspired by the work of early naturalists such as the nineteenth century wildlife photographers Richard and Cherry Kearton, who used an array of decoys and disguises to make the very first wildlife photographs, “Lure” is a series of works and actions that all involve attempts to attract wild creatures to temporarily spend a little time with us. We will revisit and celebrate the creative spirit of these early naturalists’ practices, and in the process create situations in which we can interact with creatures in ways that are new to us, and ask questions about both historic and contemporary notions about human categorizations of the wild and the domestic’.

‘Some of the ideas we are planning to carry out over the next two weeks are:


‘Mothshadow Movie with Roman Snails for Norbury Park curated by Tamsin Dillon

1. Mothshadowmovie : (a version of a work that Louise has done several times before in other habitats) will involve attracting moths and other nocturnal insects onto the lit up screen of an overhead projector at night. Its light will be  projected onto an outside wall of the farmstead, throwing onto it the hugely magnified shadows of the insects as they move across the screen.

A.Neighbours bee-house no.40

2. Skep : A more long-term lure, involving the building of a skep, or grass beehive, using the grasses growing on the surrounding hill slopes. Farmers in the area keep bees to aid pollination of the local almond plantations, and our intention is to persuade a passing swarm of Spanish bees  to move into this skep and set up a colony for a while.


3.Vanitas Movie : In a nearby field we will apply sugar water to an Andalucian wild boar skull to attract butterflies and other insects, and will make a super 8 timelapse film of  what takes place over the period of one day, from dawn till dusk. This we will later screen at Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol,UK, as part of a film festival in August.

for Human Mothtrap

4. Human Moth-Trap : We will soak a paper suit in a cocktail solution irresistable to moths (coca-cola, rum, brown sugar and treacle) put it on, and stand in the landscape to wait for them to come and feed.

little owl

5. Hoot : We will make a recording of the owls we hear hooting all night here, and play some of the sounds from this back on a speaker under the olive tree outside our window, to lure an owl to roost in it for a while.

Wild Boar Skull copy

6. Jabalí Jam : We will also try to tempt in some of the local wild boar with beans dipped in lard, of which they are said to be very fond.

Louise Short and Alice Forward are artists who often work together on each other’s projects as they share many ideas and interests. They are both passionate about  the natural world  and  human interaction with it, and plan to spend their time at Cortijada los Gázquez developing and building on  research carried out in the area by Alice last year.



Gracias Ayuntamiento de Vélez Blanco!

newroad compilation

… for we have a new road across this alpine desert from Vélez Blanco to Cortijada Los Gázquez. (Not all the way mind, we don’t want to be too close to civilization)




Richard Elliott (friend of Los Gázquez and JOYA resident) and Francis Thorburn have collaborated to create a fantastic vehicle for the centenary of Arnold Circus. Bring your picnic and a dish to put on the sharing table. Be part of a special community picnic, with artists’ fair, music on the bandstand, 100 laps cycle ride & alternative vehicle parade.
Arnold Circus, Boundary Estate, Tower Hamlets, E2
Sunday 18th July, 1pm-5pm, 2010. Cycle ride and alternative vehicle parade at 4pm.



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