Made in Roath 2016

Made in Roath 2016

Friday, 17 October 2014

Settlement: Sausages, Masks and Volcanoes

17 October 2014, all day, Spit and Sawdust Skate Park

A mask from James's collection
From Rebecca's previous post I can confirm that, while Spit and Sawdust is a cosy and quirky venue, it really can be awkward to find. I arrived a couple of hours after it started (by which time Rebecca had poofed away to the Howardian nature reserve, for which you shall have a blog about later) and actually passed the skate park by, assuming it was a car park for Discount Tyres. Oops.

When I finally re-navigated myself around to Spit and Sawdust, I was faced with a choice of a jumble of different activities; now I realise that these were the wood and masks explained at the introduction that I missed.

Given that I am a danger to myself without involving power tools, I opted for masks. This activity was led by the lovely James Green; an artist and tutor at Cardiff Metropolitan University who was invited along to Settlement by Helen and Freya. Our task was to create a mask based on an aboriginal/colonial prompt - we could be as creative and innovative as we liked and could use cardboard, stencils, spray paint, poster paint, sharpies and glue, all outside and at the same time as the sawing and building was happening. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of my mask... but that is probably for the best. I was competing with fine art students, okay?

Halfway through my attack on a cardboard box with a Stanley knife - yes I am aware that I already said I was not safe around tools - I became sidetracked by sausage making. Yes. Yes I said that.

At the back of Spit and Sawdust in the skate park, for all intents and purposes, I got the chance with a few other budding chefs to make sausages for lunch when those on the walk returned to us. We were corralled and supervised by Ian Griffiths of Outdoor Wales, who taught us how to be safe, be healthy and how not to ruin lunch. It worked - we achieved sausage sort-of-perfection, even if some were a bit wonky. Close enough, right?

The pride! So much pride.
During lunch and the return of the Rebecca, I also got a chance to chat with Nia, one of the directors of Spit and Sawdust. I learned that the venue is part skate park, part burger bar (everything is locally sourced, organic and cooked fresh in the kitchen!) and part creative programme. A social enterprise, Spit and Sawdust celebrated its six month old anniversary just yesterday; lots of projects, including Settlement and also a circus, have shown interest in using it as a venue.

After we'd been fed and lounged and drank beautifully strong coffee - see below, mmm - another artist, Jenny Savage, organised us into groups for our next project. 

The spiky red thing is the volcano.
Oh no Roath!

The good kind of community service!

Roath, apparently had been blown away. (Oh no!) And it was up to each group to decide how to fix this problem from a business, architectural and community standpoint. Our group got business - but the most visual representation of the activity came, naturally, from the architects. They also got Plasticine to play with, the lucky bastards! James decided that the Roath Park clock-tower should be turned into a rocket sculpture in order to represent hope for the future... hence the rocket... and that we should also install a volcano to provide heat and as a tourist attraction. All good fun and team-building stuff. Jenny admitted to us after the project - and the laughter - that we were the first group to think long-term about the sustainability of a community (volcano aside). Our plan showed a progressive approach rather than the brutal reality of how these systems actually operate. As a community we focused on skill sets and group needs and moving forward together - but architecture can sometimes be considered an embodiment of capitalism, focusing solely on monetary value.

Nothing like a good ol' barn raisin'

I had to dash out at that point in order to attend another event - but I snapped a picture of the nearly-complete structure being hauled up outside. Having a quick word with Helen Clifford before I left, she explained that it was a symbol of a community working together, calling back to an 18th century barn raising. 

With paint on my hands and a smile on my face, I rushed out of Settlement and off into Roath.


For more information:

Outdoor Wales -

James Green -

Jenny Savage -

Spit and Sawdust -

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