Artists' Spare Room | Charlie Hammond

Charlie 1

The world is a busy place. My life is too, even after spending the last year creating space for myself and my relationships away from my arts practice. To have a week, 5 days even, away from the normal routine of my life has been a delicious treat.

I have come to my residency at Eden Arts as I move through a transitional period based on the question that arises for most at some point: What am I even doing?

I work as a clown and street performer. My work as a clown takes me into hospitals where I work as a Giggle Doctor for Theodora’s Childrens Charity. It is joyous and emotional work. I truly love it, but I don’t love the travel and the tiredness that often follows. As a street performer I work closely with a few companies seeing the length and breadth of public space in the UK: high-streets, town squares, a piece of grass somewhere. Glorious, silly work where I get to see corners of the UK often forgotten.

My original intention for this week was to carry on developing the solo clown show I want to make - The Assistant. I would do a showing on the last day, go out into Penrith high street, test, develop, learn! But as April drew in the central message of the residency gravitated in my mind: come to the artist’s room at Eden Arts, spend time doing whatever you want. There are no expectations.

This is what I needed. No expectations. Time.

Back in my day-to-day I do have time on my hands outside of my paid work. Unpaid professional time. Which gets filled with emails, and tasks, and funding bids, and planning, and doing, and making ends meet. To have a week of time, and space, and ignoring the world of emails and messages and deadlines has been very precious to me.
This week has also brought some unexpected joys. I revisited the sights and sounds of Penrith: a town that has been a passing place to other adventures. I found the spot where my friends slept in their van on a late-night excursion up to Scotland; the lampost they marked with the same van on a early-morning sleep deprived maneuver gone wrong. I re-visited the adrenaline fueled arrival to Penrith station after a 5 day cycle many years ago. I also cycled to Ullswater Lake on a wild windy day, marveled at the beauty of the hills and the water. I bumped into a old friend from my coffee shop days, Morgan Harper-Jones, and had a beautiful catch-up hearing about her success as a musician. I treated myself to delicious meals out. I had time to chat to strangers.

I spent time thinking about Clowning. About the links between play and connection and how important it is. How I might be able to take those skills into more therapeutic areas. How maybe the show I was making didn’t have to be a big laugh-craving office bonanza, but something tender and beautiful and strange. I re-read The Clown Manifesto by P. Nalle Laaneela & Stacey Sacks and found wisdom I had totally missed the first time round, wisdom that resonated deeply with my emerging thoughts on clowning and my life at the moment.

I leave this week feeling like I have peeled back a layer, and feeling like a breath of fresh wind has dusted off some inner cobwebs. I hope that I can keep this layer of protective calm returning to the busy world of emails, and messages, and deadlines.

I am very thankful to Eden Arts for having me, to Adrian for hosting me, to all of the team for both showing their interest in what I was up to and also for allowing me to hide out with my thoughts in the artist’s room or out and about Penrith.

If you have thoughts on clowning, therapeutic practice, or a creative silly idea in mind feel free to hit me up at my website or on instagram @charlie_hammond

Charlie Hammond 07740873034

Watch a short film of Charlie here.

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  • Supported using public funding by Arts Council England