Looking back… and a few of the best pics

step in stone by numbers:

Visitors 8114
Volunteers 43
Website/blog views: 16,984 visitors: 4,974 from 68 countries
Facebook Friends: 2475
Twitter followers: 201
Workshop Participants: 257 for workshops (16), 102 for Walks (6), 56 for Talks (4)
Family Day: 190
Age range 0-95

 “I have been utterly entranced by what has been achieved by this extraordinary collaborative event. The fourteen artists are from a myriad of artistic disciplines yet have created a glorious spectacle. From the vastness of the quarries to the intimacy of the Black Swan’s Round Tower, the site-specific works harmonise with their environment. Fiona Campbell and her artists have achieved something wonderful.”  Amanda Sheridan, Black Swan Arts

 “Visitors have been fascinated and intrigued by the installations, which have brought together the arts and sciences. We have been able to reach a new audience by looking at geology from a new angle.” Juliet Lawn, SESC

It’s been a very intense and challenging few months.  Incredible seeeing step in stone through to fruition, and so fulfilling.  Overall, the project was a tremendous success, very well received by an extremely varied and broadly based audience.  We were overwhelmed by such a high volume of enthusiastic visitors from the area and further afield, who visited our 6 venues.  Through special events (workshops, walks, talks and performances) we enjoyed engaging a whole spectrum of the public, participants of all ages and interests, including school children, families and the elderly.  We received massive public support for the project;  people were genuinely delighted and inspired by the fusion of sound, art, landscape and wonderful use of unique quarry settings.

The project gained momentum as it progressed in steps to its finale. The final fortnight, tied in with Somerset Art Weeks Festival, was brilliant!  Each weekend approximately 300 people visited the magical Fairy Cave Quarry venue alone.  Family Day was really special, a huge success, so many enthusiastic children, grown ups and in-betweenies enjoyed a range of organised activities in the quarry.  The 3 Finale venues added fresh impetus, with all 14 artists showing together for the first time in the project at Black Swan Arts.

The Black Swan exhibition was a beautiful, strong, inclusive show in a wonderful gallery space, including the Round Tower and Hall (where the young sculpture design entries were on show).  It came together naturally in a grid-like structure, echoing the work.  The Preview was buzzing and feedback excellent.

An ambitious project for the budget, with a very small management team, it was incredibly hard work.   I really enjoyed working with such a fantastic set of high calibre artists, whose work I admire.   All of us explored and developed new areas of our practice.   We had immense support from many quarters: in-kind gestures, discounts, time given, technical help, assistance at special events and manning.  Partner Nick Weaver helped me enormously throughout and volunteer photographer Duncan Simey was a huge asset.    It was highly motivating to have such support.  Our legacy includes a documentary filmcatalogues, website, and artwork donated to Somerset Earth Science Centre permanently for educational and recreational purposes.

Bringing step in stone to fruition is the fulfilment of a dream to have contemporary art exhibited in these enigmatic, spaces in the Mendips.  I have so many people to thank for this, particularly our funders including Arts Council England/National Lottery, partners, venues, supporters, visitors and of course, the artists!

Some visitor comments:

That was my best HOUR of this year

In many years of visiting art events, I have never experienced anything as fascinating and inspiring as my visits to quarries today – especially this one.” (Fairy Cave Quarry)

“Had a lovely day with the boys exploring, was great to combine being outdoors with some interesting art..”

“Spent a fascinating afternoon at Halecombe and Westdown/Asham quarries. It was a treat for the senses and a revelation about the environments on our doorstep. Thank you!”

“Wonderful – best art gallery I’ve ever been to”

“We’re really enjoying the step in stone events and seeing places/quarries never been to before!”

“A hit for all ages”

“What a brilliant, inspirational and unique exhibition in a stunning setting”

“Love the work in this setting, quite magical in amongst the trees, and thank you to SESC for a warm welcome”

“Ingenious art in a spectacular setting. Do go! Fairy Cave quarry”

“Amazing creativity & lateral thinking. Our family enjoyed a really interesting ‘exhibition’. A wonderfully different experience.”

“Inspiring and fun – creativity thrived in the kids as a result”

“A wonderfully different experience”

“Like being back in Africa in my village – brilliant! Can’t wait to bring my grandchildren – thankyou!”

“Unique and surprising”

As a geologist (amateur) married to an artist I found the combination of the 2 subjects absolutely fascinating. Especially loved the sketchbooks, also Catherine’s and Amanda’s work..”

 

A few best pics to tell the story…

step in stone artist research trip to Westdown/Asham Quarry.  Photo by Duncan Simey

Artist research trip, Westdown/Asham Quarry, Jan ’15. Photo Duncan Simey

Amanda Wallwork on Artist Research Trip at Fairy Cave Quarry

Amanda Wallwork at Fariy Cave Quarry, Jan ’15. Photo Duncan Simey

'step in stone' artistes reccy trip to Fairy Cave Quarry and Whatley Quarrey

Artist research trip, Whatley Quarry, Feb ’15. Photo Duncan Simey

Bronwen drawing at Westdown

Bron Bradshaw sketching at Westdown Quarry. Photo Duncan Simey

 Frost on research trip in rain

Stuart Frost, recce to Fairy Cave Quarry, Feb ’15. Photo Duncan Simey

Tessa & Jack - Fairy Cave

Jack Offord filming Tessa Farmer, Fairy Cave Quarry.  Photo Duncan Simey

Charlotte McKeown - young sculpture competition design winner

Charlotte McKeown – sculpture design competition winner

Charlotte and Lucja (under 13yrold winner) making winning sculpture

Lucja Korczak and Charlotte McKeown working on winning sculpture – made in a day

Kinetic Structure - made in a day - being used for the first time by Duncan Cameron, Charlotte and Lucja

Charlotte McKeown, Duncan Cameron, Lucja Korczak trying the newly made ‘Kinetic Structure’ – designed by Charlotte

Duncan Elliott's Sleeping Beauty at Somerset Earth Science Centre

Duncan Elliott’s Sleeping Beauty at Somerset Earth Science Centre. Photo Duncan Simey

Ducks and diatoms (by Fiona Campbell) at SESC.  Fiona's work.  Photo by Juliet Lawn

Duck on Fiona Campbell’s Diatom, SESC.  Photo Juliet Lawn

Tessa Farmer at SESC

Tessa Farmer, Out of the Earth, wormshells, soil, fossils, insects, bones, plant roots, tufa, glass dome, SESC. Photo Duncan Simey

 

Stuart Frost  Pavimentum  limestone dust. Photo by GUNHILD LIEN

Stuart Frost  Pavimentum limestone dust, Westdown/Asham Quarry. Photo Gunhild Lien

Bron's Guided Walk at Westdown with Somerset Wildlife Trust

Guided Walk with Bron Bradshaw and Somerset Wildlife Trust, Westdown/Asham Quarry

Christina White's Ocean Floor - Halecombe Quarry

Christina White’s ‘Ocean Floor – Halecombe Quarry ST697474’, installed. Photo Duncan Simey

Artmusic's BLAST at Westdown 22:8:15 - participating audience following live trumpeters

Artmusic’s ‘Blast’ performance, Westdown Quarry. Participating audience following trumpeters

Christin White's outdoor photographic workshop at Halecombe

Christina White’s Cyanotype/Vandyke Potographic Workshop at Halecombe Quarry – using bench as darkroom!

 

Tanya Josham's stone carving workshop

Tanya Josham’s community stonecarving workshop, SESC

Family interacting with Charlotte McKeown's Kinetic Structure, SESC

Family enjoying interactive Kinetic Structure, SESC

Duncan Cameron's Fairy Cave Cabinet

Duncan Cameron, Fairy Cave Cabinet, steel, wood glass, lamp, found items. Photo Duncan Simey

Above: Caroline Sharp, Pioneer Seeds, Stoneware and Whatley Clay, Willow.  Photo Duncan Simey

Below: CarolineSharp, Birch Layers, Birch, Split Hazel, Willow.  Photo Duncan Simey

BSA Exhibition, photo by Sally Barnett

step in stone Exhibition at Black Swan Arts. Photo Sally Barnett

 

BSA - step in stone, photo by Christina White

step in stone Exhibition at Black Swan Arts. Photo Christina White

Cath Bloomfield Collagraph on Black 01 Jo Hounsome Photography

Cath Bloomfield, Collagraph on Black 01. Photo Jo Hounsome

Duncan Elliott & Bronwen Bradshaw, BSA Round Tower, photo by Sally Barnett

Duncan Elliott and Bronwen Bradshaw, Black Swan Arts Round Tower. Photo Sally Barnett

Tessa Farmer  'The Quarry' (detail), BSA. Photo by Christina White

Tessa Farmer, The Quarry (detail), BSA. Photo Christina White

InspirED School Workshop with Fiona Campbell - students from Yrs 4,5,6, Curry Mallet Primary - Wire and paper Seeds, SESC

InspirED workshop with Fiona Campbell – Yrs 4,5,6, Curry Mallet Primary School – Wire and Paper Seed Forms, SESC

Amanda Wallwork at Fairy Cave Quarry

Amanda Wallwork, ‘Geo Code Specimens – Eastern Mendip Sequence’. Photo Duncan Simey

Tessa Farmer's installation at Fairy Cave Quarry

Tessa Farmer, ‘The Colony’, wormshell colony, crab claws, mummified birds, taxidermy thrush, wasp nest, dried frog, dried bat, dried lizard, bones, coral, insects, plant roots, Fairy Cave Quarry.  Photo Duncan Simey

Installations by Suzie Gutteridge at Fairy Cave Quarry

Suzie Gutteridge, Squaring the Circle, local wool. Photo Duncan Simey at Fairy Cave Quarry

 

Fiona Campbell's 'Eviscerated Earth' (detail) at Fairy Cave Quarry

Fiona Campbell, ‘Eviscerated Earth’, scrap steel found in quarries, recycled wire, paper, wax, string, nylon, cotton, oil.  Photo Duncan Simey in Fairy Cave Quarry

Visitors crossing the stepping stones at Fairy Cave Quarry

Visitors crossing the stepping stones at Fairy Cave Quarry

Workshop with Duncan Cameron - Clay and Plaster Relief Tiles, SESC

Workshop with Duncan Cameron – Casting Animal Tracks, Clay and Plaster Relief Tiles, SESC

Fairy Cave Quarry - end of the day..  with Sally Kidall's work

Fairy Cave Quarry at dusk with step in stone installed.  Photo Clive Gutteridge

 

Fiona Campbell   23/11/15

 

 

 

 

 

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Lost and Found Caves

It’s been fun exploring materials I don’t often use together – wax, paper, oil, cloth, chicken wire… to go with scrap steel remnants I found in the quarries for a new piece to be installed at Fairy Cave.  Thanks to Rowena Pearce for her recycled wax donations!

The work’s about the lost (destroyed) and found caves at Fairy Cave Quarry.  Photographs by Duncan Simey of the formations within and Andy Sparrow’s film ‘A Rock and A Hard Place’ have helped bring the caves to life for me… I may even go down them one day soon!

Experimental work for Fairy Cave

Fiona Campbell   16/9/15

Opening Week – STEP 1

Our opening week of Step 1: installing artwork, signage, running school workshops, guided walk, making a sculpture in a day, press launch and official opening at Somerset Earth Science Centre has been a whirlwind of activity!

4 of us spent 2 days setting up artwork inside and around the grounds of SESC.  My artwork forstep in stone includes both new work inspired by features of the quarries (for Steps 2 & 3) and pre-existing work (for Step 1) that reflect how the quarries resonate with my interest in life forms.  The installation of my floating pieces involved adventures in a boat.   2 helpers were enlisted from Moons Hill quarry (both called Paul) to assist with this.  Slightly perturbed by the strangeness of it all to start with, they were soon singing rowing songs – delighted by the novelty once they relaxed into their new roles and we floated the first ‘Diatom’ in the water.   My other installations meant climbing up tall ladders, and wrapping ‘Lichen’ round a tree with helper Nigel.  Duncan Elliott dragged his heavy stone pieces up the road on a trolley, and built huge scaffolding frames to hoist up his ‘Age of Stone’ – a back-aching job, but worth the effort – it is magnificent!  Tessa Farmer arrived on a train from London laden with her intriguing boxes of insects, miniature evil fairies, worm casts and bell jar – the intricate work taking her hours to install – and Christina White set up her beautiful multi-exposure photographs in the Centre against limestone walls.

Some of this process was documented by Duncan Simey (see ‘wild-landscapes’ photos below) and filmmaker Jack Offord, for our final documentary film.

Installing Diatoms on Monday

 

Diatom

"'step in stone' installation at the Somerset Earth Sciences Centre"

"'step in stone' installation at the Somerset Earth Sciences Centre"

"'step in stone' installation at the Somerset Earth Sciences Centre"

"'step in stone' installation at the Somerset Earth Sciences Centre"

"'step in stone' installation at the Somerset Earth Sciences Centre"

"'step in stone' installation at the Somerset Earth Sciences Centre"

"'step in stone' installation at the Somerset Earth Sciences Centre"

"'step in stone' installation at the Somerset Earth Sciences Centre"

"'step in stone' installation at the Somerset Earth Sciences Centre"

"'step in stone' installation at the Somerset Earth Sciences Centre"

"'step in stone' installation at the Somerset Earth Sciences Centre"

We opened on Wednesday 8th July, and have already had a wide range of visitors of all ages engaging with our work, including 2 school groups through Somerset Art Works’ inspirED programme and some guided walkers through our collaboration with Somerset Wildlife Trust.  My half day workshop was with Yr 7 pupil premium students from Selwood School.  In small groups they created group wire pieces based on silver birch seeds.  Suzie’s workshop the next day with Castle School students resulted in felted balls using locally sourced wool.  Both sets of work will be exhibited as part of the Trail at Halecombe Quarry from Step 2 onwards.

Guided Walk at SESC Rubbings IMG_0368

Our first week culminated yesterday in the making of Charlotte McKeown’s sculpture with her in just one day.  This was her award for winning for our ‘Under 20’s Sculpture Design Competition’.  A bit like scrapheap challenge, a small, dedicated team worked hard to create the sculpture in a day.  Despite having prepared materials and got some parts together for it, the challenge was still a little daunting.  Our team included Charlotte, Lucja Korczak, who won the under 13 year-old design competition prize, her mum Aga, Duncan Cameron (step in stone artist and Strode College tutor to Charlotte), Nick Weaver (step in stone Partner) and me.  Perhaps the best thing about yesterday was how everyone worked together so well to make it happen and with such aplomb!    A slight rush to finish before the arrival of press and guests for our official opening at 5pm, the sculpture was installed by the Centre entrance.  Sarah Jackson from Mendip Hills AONB kindly did the honours to ‘open’ the event, and we all celebrated the start of an exciting few months ahead!

Kinetic Sculpture design - Charlotte McKeown

IMG_0383 IMG_0397 IMG_0400 IMG_0409 IMG_0420 IMG_0429 IMG_0430 IMG_0441 IMG_0453 IMG_0454 IMG_0466 IMG_0479 IMG_0490 IMG_0498 IMG_0506 IMG_0509 IMG_0515 IMG_0521

 

 

Thanks to Gill Odolphie and Juliet Lawn at SESC for putting up with us all week and supporting us throughout!

 

Do please come and visit Somerset Earth Science Centre (SESC)  – open to public Weds 9am-4pm & special events

Artists exhibiting at SESC: Fiona Campbell, Duncan Elliott, Tessa Farmer, Christina White, Charlotte McKeown – young sculpture design competition winner

 

Fiona Campbell   12/7/15

 

Photoshoot at Asham/Westdown

Some of the team at Westdown

We had another photoshoot/research session – this time at Asham/Westdown quarry.   Artists Suzie Gutteridge, Christina White,  Duncan Elliott, Bronwen Bradshaw, Fiona Campbell and Steering Group member Nick Weaver met up with our filmmaker Jack Offord and photographer Duncan Simey to do a recce, film and photograph some of our trial pieces in the quarry setting.  Jack Offord is making our documentary film, so has been interviewing some of us.

It was a valuable exercise in working out logistics.  My work has been progressing slowly and I brought along part of it – already a heavy, awkward load to carry.  In my studio and garden it appears enormous, it filled the back of my truck with bits sticking out beyond the truck tail gate, but once we reached the quarry it seemed to shrink somewhat against the vast backdrop!  So I  plan to add more to this installation.. if I have the time…

It’s always great meeting up with the rest of the team, especially on site.  Ideas and enthusiasm rub off, working relationships and new collaborations are developing and I think a natural resonance between our work is being forged.

Thanks again to Duncan Simey for taking these great images:

Suzie transporting her rocks (and some of Fiona's tentacles)

Christina capturing the long wall Bronwen likes the walls

Another wall or plinth

Moss growing

Carrying the monster Heavy load, long walk - Nick and Fiona carting monster piece

20150416-144116-DSCF4075

Bronwen's hand-made sketchbook Bronwen sketching

Suzie setting up rock/felt pieces Suzie's trial felt/rock pieces Suzie's trial felt/rock piece

Crinoid fossils

Nick Weaver with catkins

Setting up for photoshoot (work in progress) My work in progress - sea creature/tumbleweed-inspired

20150416-152744-I39A8012 Ideas

Christina Christina at work Bronwen's found her site Christina and Bronwen

Loaded back on the truck

For a full range of photoshoot images, check out Duncan Simey’s website:

Fiona Campbell 19/4/15

Photoshoot at Fairy Cave

A few of us met at Fairy Cave on Thursday for a photoshoot, equipment test and H&S walkabout with Martin Grass from Fairy Cave committee.  We had a glorious day of sunshine.  This had also brought rock climbers, who were already up rock faces in the quarry, when we arrived.  One of them – Terry Gifford – happened to have supported us via IdeasTap crowd funding, so it was a lovely surprise to meet him there!

Images below of: Tessa Farmer, Christina White, Fiona Campbell, Ralph Hoyte, Phill Phelps (sound engineer), Jack Offord (filmmaker), Martin Grass and Terry Gifford.  Photographs courtesy of Duncan Simey.  For more selection visit: www.wild-landscapes.co.uk

Jack Offord 20150409-124223-I39A7676

Fiona and Tessa Tessa Tessa and Christina Fiona, Martin, Ralph, Phill 20150409-130230-I39A7726 20150409-133117-DSCF3950 Terry, Martin, Tessa Ralph Hoyte Fiona Campbell Tessa setting up work for photoshoot 20150409-135549-I39A7786 20150409-135827-I39A7789 Tessa Farmer Tufa Fairies - Tessa Farmer Jack and Tessa 20150409-141710-I39A7810 20150409-141812-I39A7815 Ralph

We discovered that Fairy Cave is not only an area of SSSI for its renowned caves, but is also designated as SAC (a Europe-wide status) for its rare abundance of greater horseshoe bats – most evident in the winter months. Some caves were newly exposed through quarrying, although one was sadly removed.  When standing in parts of Fairy Cave quarry, we are standing in what was a vast ancient cave.

Fiona Campbell  12/4/15

Launch of Sculpture Design Competition

Somerset Earth Science Centre - photo by Duncan Simey

We held a Launch for the Sculpture Design Competition at Somerset Earth Science Centre, Stoke St. Michael on Monday 23 March, to give the public a chance to come along and find out more about the competition and our project as a whole.

Photoshoot by Mark Adler

It was good to hear artists discuss their ideas and see examples of work for the project so far.   Juliet Lawn, from Somerset Earth Science Centre, illustrated the geology of the area, allowing us to see and feel different types of limestone  in the Mendips –  black rock being most typical of the carboniferous era, when the Mendips were submerged by swampy sea,  giant dragonflies and a myriad of sea life forms existed.  In between slideshows Fiona Campbell, Duncan Elliott, Bronwen Bradshaw and Cath Bloomfield spoke about their different art forms and gave ideas about how to approach design work.   The contrast between Duncan’s found rock pieces, Fiona’s mixed media sculptures, Bron’s hand-made books fusing words and print and Cath’s cut-out reliefs gave a strong indication of the range of work that will form step in stone.

Left to right: Bron, Cath and Duncan - photo by Duncan Simey Geology slideshow by Juliet - photo by Duncan Simey Slideshow by Fiona illustrating the project's development and design possibilities - photo by Duncan Simey Duncan Elliott with sculptures - photo by Duncan Simey Bronwen Bradshaw talking about her books - photo by Duncan Simey

We had resource tables with examples of sculptures, designs, rocks, fossils and other imagery to give inspiration.  Young visitors were able to talk to individual experts and start designing.

Scrap steel sculpture, Fiona Campbell - photo by Duncan Simey Mendip rock - photo by Duncan Simey

Thanks to those who came, and to all who helped and supported including Nick Weaver, Jack Robson, Duncan Simey, David Chandler, Mark Adler and to Juliet Lawn for hosting on behalf of Somerset Earth Science Centre.

Designs by Duncan Cameron

Entries for the under 20’s Sculpture Design Competition are open online from 1 April – 18 May ’15 at:  www.blackswan.org.uk/sculpturedesign2015

Fiona Campbell 29/3/15