A selection of photographs from last week’s overnight camp in Fairy Cave quarry, long exposure night photos (*including Cath’s illuminated gabions) and early morning shots as the sun came up and a surprise morning slug on my coffee flask. Also some images of the assembly of the smaller works for the Black Swan and Frome Museum, with all work now in place. Looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow night for the opening.
Duncan Cameron 1/10/15
After a number of cancelled dates, due to the weather, I finally managed to spend Tuesday night in Fairy Cave quarry. The mini 12 hour expedition allowed me to observe the space on it’s own terms. Quietly lying up on the ridge I watched the sun setting over the west horizon, listened to the rooks and jackdaws roosting and then their calls replaced by those of the tawny owls that live in the woods around the quarry perimeter. Dark by 8pm, I lay making notes and observations as part of the collection case artwork.The moonlight and clear night allowed me to walk around the quarry by moonlight alone, a place with a very different character than in the daylight, the long monochrome shadows, the reflections of the moon in the many puddles and the vast black quarry walls. Woken at 2am by a barking fox and at 4am the constellation of orion came up over the rocky butress at the south end of the small ridge on which I was sleeping. The sun began to rise at about 6am and by the time I packed up to get to off to work at 8am the West wall was brightly illuminated in the warm morning sunshine as the sun crested the woods at the top of the Eastern cliff.
Duncan Cameron 24/9/15
The Fairy Cave Cabinet is wheeled into position and assembled on the ridge.
Duncan Cameron 21/9/15
I’ve been intrigued by molehills for many years. As a student in Oxford I lived next to the University Parks, home to abundant moles and their earthy mounds. I constructed a motorised mole hill (on top of a remote controlled car) and controlled it from afar, startling unsuspecting passers by.
I always notice molehills now and ponder the unseen, underground activity they hint at. Moles are rather fascinating animals. According to wikipedia: “A mole’s diet primarily consists of earthworms and other small invertebrates found in the soil, and a variety of nuts. The mole runs are in reality ‘worm traps’, the mole sensing when a worm falls into the tunnel and quickly running along to kill and eat it. Because their saliva contains a toxin that can paralyze earthworms, moles are able to store their still-living prey for later consumption. They construct special underground “larders” for just this purpose; researchers have discovered such larders with over a thousand earthworms in them. Before eating earthworms, moles pull them between their squeezed paws to force the collected earth and dirt out of the worm’s gut.” I’ve taxidermied a few moles over the years and used them in pieces to be preyed upon by the fairies but haven’t incorporated a mole hill until now. At Halecombe quarry along the conservation area which surrounds and overlooks the working quarry moles are plentiful. The neat mounds of fine soil excavated by the moles’ incredibly strong forearms and paddle like feet echo the huge industrial scale digging and excavation below.
For Step in Stone I am imagining underground colonisation by the fairies. At Halecombe this is hinted at by a single erupted molehill that reveals fairy architecture and moles enslaved by the fairies to expand and extend their usurped domain for their own purposes. At Fairy Cave their lair will exist deeper underground, amongst extinct fossilised sea creatures but also incorporating specimens of thriving extant wildlife. Amongst other materials I’m using a serpulid (wormshell) colony, wasp nest segments, mouse bones, insects and bats.
Tessa Farmer 7/9/15
When you drive through Stoke St Michael on the Mendips, you can sense that stone is part of its story. The grey stone houses, small, mostly, workers’ homes, the huge quarry lorries that you can encounter round any tight corner. Before you get there, on the the road from the A361, you pass several working quarries, and then the basalt quarry: Moon’s Hill Quarry, with the deepest, finest basalt around.
The Fairy Cave Quarry is on the other side of the village, hidden down a narrow leafy lane. It’s small (relatively, when you see the size of Whatley), not too overgrown, and closed to the public. So all the more exciting that it will be open to all during SAW, October 3 – 18th. I went there yesterday for a photoshoot with my still unfinished piece “Here Be Fairies”. This…
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