In ‘Cover, Attention, Unearth’, Katie documented the repetitive actions and thoughts of her first year at her allotment-studio in Milton Keynes, and provided the framework for others to participate in these processes and rituals. During the Groundwork Weekender visitors were invited inside a temporary structure that encouraged people to engage with the notion of sacredness and sanctity, and to partake in three actions that symbolised the core of Katie’s practice; to Cover (restore, nurture, rest), to give Attention (focus, sense, observe), and to Unearth (work, discover, reward). Each action revealed aspects of her wider experience of living and working in MK; a life exploring and discovering the city through spaces and objects, and through places green, old and quiet.
The specificity of the collective actions and collated materials evolved from a workshop Katie ran in August 2018. Here she invited people to her plot, a site that has evolved to function as a workspace, construction site, laboratory, farm, garden, temple and retreat. In this multifarious space visitors were offered their own place to work, observe, reflect and restore, catalysing conversations that revealed other sites of ‘sacred green’ in the city. These revelations have informed the shape and structure of Cover, Attention, Unearth, enabling it to function as both an outdoor installation offering sanctuary for rest, focus and reward, but also as a space of shared action, ritual and engagement.
Over the Groundwork Weekender people could engage with Cover, Attention and Unearth as a participatory event, then following the festival people had the opportunity to return to the site to view and engage with the collection of residual materials and undertake these actions on their own accord.
Katie Ellen Fields was born in Milton Keynes in 1985.
Her practice explores the creation and reverence of objects, particularly those used in rituals and ceremonies. Materiality is a frequent starting point; the green and granite of Milton Keynes in particular.
She has exhibited and performed throughout the UK; her home studio is in Stony Stratford and her allotment is in Woburn Sands, Milton Keynes. In 2016 she performed a series of tea ceremonies, and published her first book, WALK, in 2017.
Katie studied art at the University of Northampton and horticulture at Shuttleworth College, Bedford.