Designers Eleanor Goulding and Russell Denman on journeys to the sea
Eleanor Goulding and Russell Denman, designers based out of rural Dorset, talk about the restorative qualities of travelling to the sea, the mediative state its infinity brings, and the importance of allowing enough space around ideas…
A ‘hole-and-corner’ is an old English term meaning a secret place: somewhere you go to escape the world, to be inspired and to contemplate and create. Where is your ‘hole-and-corner’?
My hole-and-corner has to be a journey to the sea. It is the sea, but it’s also the movement in getting there. Moving is always very helpful when I need to think something over before starting a project of some sort. I love to swim. If I’m at the start of something or want to think about my ideas I’ll usually go to the pool and swim. Even just watching the movement of swimmers in a pool can really get me into a meditative state where I start to notice ideas and thoughts much more easily. For Russ this is probably a long bicycle ride on a path that doesn’t have any cars. So, our hole-and-corner is a meandering journey to the sea with a swim then returning to our studio.
Is it important to you to have somewhere to escape from the hustle and bustle of life?
The sea is so special to me because it’s an expanse of space that has no boundaries or gates – It’s not owned by anyone. Metaphorically I think this is an incredibly helpful part of the thought process as it allows meandering thought and space. I also grew up on the Gower Peninsula in Wales where the sea was always such a familiarity at so many points in my life.
What elements do you think make a perfect ‘hole-and-corner’?
We fell in love with an empty church in rural Dorset and ended up moving our home and studio there. We wanted to make room for thought in a way that was free of distractions and noise so that we could focus on our ideas and make the work we needed to make. The space inside the church studio is very important to the way we work in that there is a real sense of peace and purity to the space that I’m sure feeds into and informs our work.
What do you like to listen to when you’re working?
At the moment we’re hooked on listening to Scout Niblett ‘ It’s up to Emma’. It’s stripped back, raw and completely transcendental. Toru Takemitsu’s soundscape for Masaki Kobayashi’s film ‘Kwaidan’ is incredibly atmospheric and really interesting to work to. The score is very slow and specific and could almost be sounds from our workshop – sounds of cracking wood becoming transformed from a sound recognizably organic into something menacingly alien.
Is it private to you or do you let other people visit?
It is mostly a very private space but can also be lovely to share at particular times.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Probably the best advice I’ve ever been given was by my tutor at Art school when he made me realise that you don’t need to try too hard to find ideas, they can and definitely do stand out on their own if you allow enough space around them.