Brenna Henry is a writer and a current student on BA Creative Writing course at Falmouth University. She has been a lifelong residence of Redruth (besides a couple of years studying away) and has worked as part of our inaugural Flamm Crew. We invited her to write about Flamm from her perspective, and below is what she has shared:
To the unknowing eye, Redruth may seem like a dreary rundown town, but more goes on behind the scenes than I think most know about. For years now, Redruth has been home to a magnitude of creatives.
Whenever I hear “there’s nothing going on in Redruth,” a phrase often followed by a scoff, I have to hold myself back from screaming “YES THERE IS!”
Redruth has played the host to some art festivals in the past, with Flamm being just the latest one. A festival that covered the whole of the town, from top to bottom, left to right. It was nearly impossible to visit the town without stumbling across at least one art installation by an incredible artist.
Metro: Red River Line – Patrick Lowry
Pink circular signs popped up overnight indicating something new was afoot. A buzz began to grow among the locals, “what’s going on?”, “what’s Flamm?”. The Cornish word for ‘flame’, and the name of a new art festival about to take place in Redruth, and I was lucky enough to be a part of it.
This was the first time I’ve had the chance to be a part of something so monumental in Redruth. Growing up in the town, I played small roles in the Murdoch Day parades via school, or I would help my mum at Open Studios at Krowji.
Under/Over – CAMP Member’s exhibition at Krowji during Flamm
My experience within Flamm was unlike anything I had done before. Invigilating art instillations and the opportunity to converse with artists, locals, and visitors to Redruth, some of whom had travelled long distances just to attend the event.
My time spent chatting to the visitors during the festival gave me the chance to hear how the town really feel about these events.
Lorna Gaunt, a Redruth local and Flamm visitor, said, “I never expected to have this happen on my doorstep,” after moving from Bristol sixteen years ago. “The town was buzzing and there were top quality exhibits.”
The increased footfall did not go unnoticed for the shops in town. Rachel Rawicki from ‘The Craft Collective’, an independent arts and craft shop on the high street, told me that the stream of traffic through the town during the festival “made a positive difference.”
Core – Abigail Reynolds
Flamm would have been nothing without all of the artists that contributed their work. Local artists and artists from further afield came together to create a culture rich festival for visitors of all ages to enjoy.
Speaking with some of the artists who took part in the festival, it is clear that Redruth was a key host for such an event.
Carys Wilson, an artist based at Krowji, said of her experience of Flamm, “it has done my sense of being an artist a huge amount of good!!”. Carys’ installation, ‘Walking and Thinking, Thinking and Walking’, featured her undertaking a ten-hour walk, painting the path with her feet at The Crypt on both Saturday and Sunday.
“As Redruth artists, we were delighted to see the vibrant art ecology of Redruth promoted widely.” said Redruth Press, a collaboration between Caroline Wilkins and Tony Minnion.
Fly Post – Redruth Press
Sunday at The Ladder on Clinton Road saw host for Truro based artist, Keith Sparrow, and his ‘evolving map of Redruth’.
Keith kindly took some time to chat with me about this festival and other events that have taken place in Cornwall, particularly the duchy’s capital, Truro.
“Truro has a much more commercial-based centre.” Sparrow makes reference to the difficulty in creating a creative buzz in a commercial city like Truro compared to a smaller town like Redruth, or perhaps Penzance.
“I was a bit surprised, when we tried to have an annual arts festival there a few years ago, it was difficult to make it work.” Said Sparrow referring to Truro.
An Evolving Map of Redruth – Keith Sparrow
Flamm’s decision to bring this event to Redruth not only brings art and culture to more people, it brings Redruth to more people. The conversation around Redruth is growing from “there’s nothing going on there,” to “what’s going on this weekend?”
Writer, current student @ BA Creative Writing, Falmouth University
Insta @BrennaaHenryy Website: brennahenry.co.uk
For all that’s going on in Redruth, visit Discover Redruth website.