It is no secret that I love Cardiff. I moved here from America over three years ago and I feel lucky everyday to call this place my home. This feeling not only comes from the city itself but from the people I have met here and the communities which I have found myself a part of. Last weekend I felt especially lucky for these things as I took part in Made in Spring.
For those of you who don’t know, this is the spring-time incarnation of Made in Roath, a free artist-led festival which aims to bring art and the community closer together. Both events bring art outside the gallery and into streets, showcasing the work of emerging and established artists, makers, musicians, writers and performers. These people volunteer their time to bring their work into the community and use the whole of Roath as their venue, including domestic, commercial, public and overlooked or disused spaces.
Of course, I was delighted when I was asked to run a workshop and an open mic for Made in Spring which essentially acted as bookends to the festival. On Saturday morning, I ran an ‘Interpretations’ creative writing workshop at Milkwood Gallery which encouraged participants to share their memories, expectations, and interpretations of spring through a variety of activities.
When I arrived at the gallery I was touched to see the owner, Gail, setting up a table and tea cups and one workshop participant wiping down rain-soaked chairs from the garden! As the morning continued I was excited to have more and more people join in and was delighted by the work they produced. There were pieces about picking bluebells, drinking tea on City Road, budding romances, and checking Durex expiration dates.
One women, Angela, a regular attendee at my Roath Writers group, shared her poem about optimism and spring-time expectations. She’s a native German speaker and has recently discovered a love of writing poetry in English. It was wonderful that her, like the others, felt so inspired by the seasonal theme of the workshop.
The bird must have been right in front of my window,
blaring out his cheerful tune on the leafless tree,
waking me up before dawn.
A foretaste of warmer weather I thought,
lying in the twilight,
listening and dreaming of the things we do in spring:
walking to Lisvane through the fields,
happy in the awakening nature,
ending up in the Griffin, drinking cold beer, not wine.
But when I got up later on,
tired, and, in spite of my better knowledge, excited,
it was just another wet day in March:
the tree still leafless and even the bird had flown to a better place.
On Sunday evening I was lucky enough to host the Made in Spring open mic as well. This event aimed to provide anyone involved with or inspired by the festival with a space to share their poetry, prose, and any other writing about this community. A few days beforehand I was asked to merge this event with an acoustic night happening at Milgi Lounge. And, it could not have gone better!
The yurt was full of poets, musicians, teachers, and community members. There were readings about Roath, lost loves, Chaucer, the economy. There were performance poets in the audience who made me laugh out loud and hold my breath. It was wonderful.
I know I have waxed lyrical about Roath in the past (see my Roath People feature for more proof) but Made in Spring left me feeling truly inspired by the people and the spirit of this community. I cannot wait to see how my relationship with this place continues to grow.