Artist's Statement by Amy Sterly
Being involved in the Literary Atlas project has been an exciting and inspiring journey that has helped me create a new direction for my work and it also helped me explore new connections and meanings between literature, art and the concept of mapping. The interdisciplinary nature of the project forces one to think about the nature of fiction and its place in the real world and how it connects with the way we imagine the story we are reading.
The journey really began when I received a book in the post, chosen by the organizers, that they thought would suit my work and how they interpreted my work. They were spot on. Pigeon connected to all the themes and ideas I have been working on recently and brought me to the mountains of north Wales with new eyes. The landscape and characters came alive and the words and images flew around my head and an idea of a new artwork formed. Certain moments were amplified into the symbols and themes of the book, Welsh and English words were woven into a single tapestry. The old Welsh samplers came to mind and the dry stone walls that cover the hillsides. The weight of the words were like stones and built a foundation for the novel. The characters ‘taste' the words and spit them out again to create the narrative. So many ideas, a nest of ideas, to make an artwork, out of books, out of scraps, out of keepsakes, out of paper airplanes cut from Welsh books. Built firmly on the ground and hanging by a thread. The commission has steered me in new directions of bookwork, learning new skills and creating work that reflects the book like a map.
A novel is a mapping of the soul, and can create emotion, depth and vision that are footsteps through the real places around us. I like to think my work enhances the novel, explores the characters' identities and makes them a little bit more real to us.