Lydia Eyland is a recent graduate of Dartington College of Arts in Devon, having obtained a first class degree in contemporary fine art with community practices in June 2009. An affiliation with Langage Farm throughout the third year of her course inspired and influenced much of the work she created.
As a resident of Lee Mill in Devon where the Langage farm and factory are situated, I had long been intrigued by this busy centre of production that was so immersed in the natural, surrounded by Jersey and Guernsey herds and set amongst country lanes and fields. As I very often use a camera in my working process, and have a particular interest in action and production, I was delighted when Langage granted me permission to create work around their site, and better still, in collaboration with their staff. Photographic and artistic facilitation has always been of equal interest to me as making my own work and so I relished the opportunity to work in conjunction with factory workers and reception staff to create photography that reflected the working environment at Langage. Within the same project, my interest in community groups had led me to begin working with the Women’s Institute in neighbouring village, Sparkwell. Langage Farm extended their generosity in supporting me in the organisation of a visit for members of the W.I. to the Ice cream Factory and Farm. A suggestion by commercial manager Richard Scutt that the famous Langage Farm clotted cream might be coupled with W.I. homemade jam and scones set a project theme of “the cream tea” which, although a previously unexplored genre in my critical arts practice, seemed to fit this project rather well!
As the visit took place during a half term holiday, many W.I. members were joined by grandchildren for their tour around the factory and on-site farm. Keen to get participants thinking artistically, I had issued disposable cameras to the women and their families which were used to capture and document their experience of the exciting visit. Despite the enthusiastic sampling of ice cream throughout the day, everybody managed to end the visit with a cream tea kindly supplied by Langage Farm.
Following the collection of photography created by W.I. members and Langage Farm staff, I was able to edit a body of work including my own responses to the site. The exhibition was displayed in Sparkwell Village Hall before being installed in the reception area of the Langage factory. The response by those who worked at Langage Farm matched their previous generosity with comments of the work force and processes being brought to life, and an enjoyment at being so closely involved with an art project. The experience of working with Langage Farm has influenced much of my previous work, and reassured me that there is a place for such community art projects. The support I received from the company has not only helped me to obtain my degree, but has allowed me to create links between them and the local community, and make artists out of people who might not have expected it!”
The product photography on this website has been created by Lydia Eyland, for more information or enquiries contact: