Installation and Private View – Salisbury Arts Centre

The final hang last week at Salisbury Arts Centre took just 3 days, which was quite a feat!  Curated by Amanda Wallwork and me, and set up with the help of many other step in stone artists and a team at Salisbury Arts Centre, including Visual Arts Manager Louise.    As part of the installation , Tessa Farmer has re-created a miniature environment in the entrance display case of her skeletal fairies and other creatures interacting and emerging from fossils, some on loan from Somerset Earth Science Centre.  Ralph Hoyte has also re-created his GPS-triggered soundscape ‘ANTICLINE’ to listen to via smartphones around the grounds of the centre.  This can be downloaded via this link.   The artwork includes a selection of indoor and outdoor pieces from our 6 venues last year.
We had our Private Vew on Friday evening (19th Aug).  It was lovely to have so many of the artists together again, many who haven’t seen each other since last year’s project.  Numerous visitors came, expressing their interest and enthusiasm for the subject, our work and the exhibition as a whole.  “An intriguing multi-media, sophisticated exhibition!” We are pleased with the information/artist panels, which really help to tell the story.
Below are some images from our installation and Private View.  Do come and visit the exhibition (runs ’til 24 Sept)!
Fiona Campbell  22/8/16
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step in stone – Salisbury Art Centre 18 Aug – 24 Sept

We are gearing up to our exhibition at Salisbury Art Centre starting next week.  It runs Thursday 18th August-Saturday 24th September, open Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10am-3pm. Our Private View is on Friday 19th August 6-8pm – please come along if you are in the area!

As part of the exhibition, there will be a located GPS-triggered poetic audio-walk ‘ANTICLINE’ by Ralph Hoyte around the grounds of Salisbury Arts Centre.  To access it, visit this link, and download onto your personal smartphone.

 

step in stone launch coming soon!
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Exhibitions


Box Office: 01722 321744
www.salisburyartscentre.co.uk

Image: Suzie Gutteridge

Launch: Friday 19 August, 6 – 8pm

Exhibition runs: Thursday 18 August – Saturday 24 September


This exhibition tells the story of a unique event held last summer in the South West.  Fourteen artists, all with connections to South West England (including two from Wiltshire) but from as far afield as Norway and Australia, created a collaborative and multidisciplinary series of site-specific artworks that fused art and the natural landscape in response to the nature of quarries and their place in the environmental, cultural and industrial heritage of the region.

The pieces were installed in six venues (three disused and working quarries and three related indoor exhibitions), and staged in three “steps”, the quarries’ natural history, ecology and geology inspired works in surprising forms. Aiming to link culture and the environment, the extraordinary artscapes gave over 8000 visitors a free opportunity to encounter contemporary artworks while exploring the spectacular, wild landscapes of abandoned and working quarries in rural East Mendip.

‘step in stone’ really engaged audiences, encouraging them to consider the environment around them, our place in it, how it evolves, the benefit we get from it, our impacts upon it and how nature responds and reasserts itself. It engaged a whole spectrum of the public, including school children, families and the elderly, many who had never visited these interesting spaces.

Exhibiting artists include Artmusic, Catherine Bloomfield, Bronwen Bradshaw, Duncan Cameron, Fiona Campbell, Duncan Elliott, Tessa Farmer, Stuart Frost, Suzie Gutteridge, Ralph Hoyte, Sally Kidall, Caroline Sharp, Amanda Wallwork and Christina White

We’d love you to join us for the launch event on Friday 19 August from 6 – 8pm

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step in stone tours to Salisbury Art Centre

Great news – we will be exhibiting a selection of step in stone artwork by all 14 artists this summer at Salisbury Art Centre, Wiltshire:

The exhibition runs from 18 August – 24 September.  Private View Friday 19th August, 6-8pm.

This exhibition tells the story of a unique event held in the summer/autumn of 2015. Fourteen artists, all with connections to South West England including two from Wiltshire and from as far afield as Norway and Australia, created a series of site-specific artworks in response to the nature of quarries and their place in the environmental, cultural and industrial heritage of the region. 

Exhibiting artists: Artmusic, Catherine Bloomfield, Bronwen Bradshaw, Duncan Cameron, Fiona Campbell, Duncan Elliot, Tessa Farmer, Stuart Frost, Suzie Gutteridge, Ralph Hoyte, Sally Kidall, Caroline Sharp, Amanda Wallwork, Christina White.

If you missed some of our venues last year, now’s your chance to visit us in Wiltshire!

Review for Alpine Journal 2016 by Terry Gifford

Terry Gifford, one of our crowd funding donors, has written an article featuring step in stone for the Alpine Journal, a hardback publication.   Terry is the unofficial gardener of climbs at Fairy Cave Quarry, a judge for the Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature 2016 and was Director of the annual International Festival of Mountaineering Literature for 21 years.  Former Chair of the Mountain Heritage Trust, he is the author of The Joy of Climbing (2004) and is in his 52nd year of rock-climbing.  Terry helped Cath attach some of her Gabions high up on a sheer rock face at Fairy Cave, and was a great support throughout the project.

The Alpine Journal won’t be published for several months and a hard copy will be hard to get, so Terry has given us permission to publish his article in advance.

‘step in stone’ exhibition, Fairy Cave Quarry, Somerset, October 2015

(Review offered for publication in the Alpine Journal 2016)

Mountaineers on the Alpine Ridge (PD) under full winter conditions, catching the last of the winter afternoon’s sun, photographed in close-up, can look very impressive on social media. But this is Fairy Cave Quarry’s easiest route to the quarry rim, all one hundred meters of it. When I moved to the Mendip Hills of Somerset four years ago, Stephen Venables was summing up the local climbing for me, adding, ‘and there are some over-rated grotty quarries’. A month after I moved into Stoke St Michael, unaware of this particular locked quarry (BMC website for access details) just a lane away from my house, it announced itself in the guise of a Climbers’ Club guidebook all of its own. It has since become the best-selling CC guidebook ever. What began as a bit of a joke – a sop to activists down in the lonely Southwest – from the CC guidebook committee has become a runaway success going through reprint after reprint.

So what is the secret to Fairy Cave Quarry’s popularity that draws climbers not just from Bristol and South Wales, but from all along the M4, from the south coast, and even tempts Iain Peters out of Devon? Most of its climbing is north-facing and it has a reputation for limestone looseness and vegetation. But it has the nearest slabs to London. And there’s not a bolt or peg in sight. The clean line of the classic Rob’s Crack (4c), benign beginners’ routes on the west-facing Balch’s Slide (4a) area, and the thin steeper challenge of Withy Crack (5a), plus plenty of tricky overlapping slabs at higher grades, attract climbers on most dry days of the year. But actually this is a cavers’ quarry, owned by a caver, the locked carpark reserved for cavers and its management committee dominated by cavers whose base is the cavers’ hut at the top of the lane. Apparently the many locked cave entrances in the quarry give access to some of the best decorated caves in the Mendips, where many cavers are also climbers. Withy Crack’s first ascent is credited to Cerberus Speleological Society in 1992. Given that it is also an SSSI (great crested newts; at least two species of orchids; ravens reared three young last year; Western Red Cedar has just been discovered there) climbers need to be aware that Fairy Cave Quarry is a place that we share, like so many of our crags, with other interests.

But what about three gabions of orange plastic hanging from the diagonal crack of Halfway to Kansas? Or the quarry floor littered with strange white tents on wheels in which green shoots grew from teapots? Or a disembodied voice speaking from somewhere up in the West End? Then over 1200 people finding all sorts of other oddities around the quarry during the two weeks (three weekends) when it was open to the public? Actually climbers seemed to have enjoyed sharing the quarry with the ‘step in stone’ sculpture exhibition for two weeks in October 2015 and may not have realised that they became exhibits themselves in the time-lapse, attention-provoking, photographs of Christina White displayed at the Earth Science Centre down the road. Indeed, climbers were responsible for hanging those gabions at the request of the artist, Catherine Bloomfield, so that their impact (unintended by the artist, apparently) as people entered the quarry was like a parody of three ducks on a wall. Actually, more subtle than that, they were the highest of a line of orange gabions that had colonised the quarry and clearly wanted to join in the climbing.

Poet Ralph Hoyte’s voice works were both an echo of the human construction of the quarry and an eerie post-industrial mysterious communication of echoing absence. Sally Kidall’s white tents on stick and sisal platforms looked like some post-industrial survivors’ attempts at nomadic domesticity that were now abandoned and being reclaimed by nature. From the climbers’ perspective on the quarry rim this seemed to be a community that had run its wheels into a dead-end before it simply gave up. Duncan Cameron developed a picture of the quarry site through evening, day and overnight ‘expeditions’, collecting fascinating found materials (including a wrist watch – but no old pegs!) that he finally mounted in his ‘Fairy Cave Cabinet’ on the dramatic cliff-edge start of the Alpine Ridge. For those climbers who walked around into the West End with their eyes open, a dome set into the ground will have revealed another miniature world of insects, ants and a dead bird. Tessa Farmer’s fairy world was a predatory one that certainly suggested ‘Alice’s unsettling journey down the rabbit hole into Wonderland’ as she puts in the excellent catalogue representing all fourteen artists who took part in the larger project involving six venues with workshops, walks, talks and performances that attracted 8114 visitors in total. Amazingly, the curator of all this, Fiona Campbell, found time to make work for at least three sites where ancient sea creatures that might have inhabited what is now limestone. Here, her ‘Eviscerated Earth’ combined rusty steel bits with wax, cloth, paper and wire to evoke, ironically, the strange formations lost in the destruction of caves by quarrying. Actually, what remains was not only the inspiration for the artists, but also for the audience: the natural folds and features of Fairy Cave Quarry itself, especially in the Death Wish Area, attracted a lot of public attention, which should remind us of how lucky we are to have access negotiated by BMC volunteer Ian Butterworth.

So could there be limits to sharing climbing rock with other artists? (Like bullfighting in Spanish culture, rock-climbing, we know, is an art form.) Only one climb was made more difficult for only two weeks here. And from the quarry rim climbers still get the benefit of various imitations of the famous Salt Lake land art ‘Spiral Jetty’. But on some gritstone boulders in West Yorkshire and Lancashire six poems by Simon Armitage have been carved into the rock to comprise the Stanza Stones Trail of 47 miles. Each poem is about a form of precipitation: ‘Rain’, ‘Snow’, ‘Mist’, etc. These are semi-permanent, although expected by the poet to be mossed over, erased by their subjects and climbed over. Unlike bird-bans, they don’t require art-bans. But they have, with a kind of hubris, humanised the natural rock we come to climb. Is it our rock? Of course not, and climbing is still possible. Indeed, you might feel enriched by being reminded of climbing ‘up here where the front of the mind distils the brunt of the world’ in ‘Rain’, for example. For years we’ve shared the crags with ravens and ring ouzels, and now we must share them with conservationists and curators.

My three nuts from which the gabions hung stayed untouched by other climbers for two weeks. When I mistakenly removed them, thinking the exhibition was finished, other climbers replaced them with stones so the final weekend show could go on. But at another, open, quarry, a weekend rave of six hundred people destroyed one artist’s work. There are other people we should resist sharing the crags with – the ‘green trail’ 4×4 drivers, the destructive trail bike riders, the access improvers, the commercial bolters, the selfish route-hogging groups. Beside these, a few though-provoking, amusing or distinctly odd fellow artists are life-enhancing presences for which we should be grateful, as many climbers obviously were at Fairy Cave Quarry in 2015.

Terry Gifford

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

SALLY KIDALL’S _Fairy Cave Installation

Terra Firma 1.sm“Terra Firma: there’s no place like home”
Sally Kidall 2015

Materials: transparent nylon fabric (organza), bamboo, hazel & silver birch, furniture & household items, fabric, soil, wheat & runner bean seeds & nuts, casting soap, string, sand, rocks.

Terra Firma 9.sm21 varying sized transparent fabric tents are supported on raft type structures and are arranged in part concentric circles. Some rafts are mounted on wheels to appear like trailers while the others sit grounded to their site. Each tent contains various growing manufactured items supporting their own narratives, from grass growing clothes on hangers, to growing table and chair settings, to sawdust coated teapots and leaf coated glasses, coffee pot and cups. The smaller tents contain soap castings of toy cars, wheels, incandescent light bulbs and electric plugs etc, while bamboo ladders support sprouting runner bean plants

Terra Firma far view“Being part of ‘step in stone’ has given me an ideal platform to explore, through making site-specific works, my fascination for contemporary commemorative memorials. These Mendip quarries in themselves commemorate the regions valuable contribution to the industrialisation of Britain. I aim to stimulate conversations and awareness about the values and impacts of quarrying and the future security of the Mendips and its communities.”

Terra Firma big tent3.sm  Terra Firma coffee pot trolly.sm  Terra Firma dress.smTerra Firma ladders5  Terra Firma bulbs2  Terra Firma ink bottles2Terra Firma Coffee new.sm  Terra Firma big tent new 2.sm  Terra Firma glasses newTerra Firma big tent2.sm  Terra Firma ink bottles  Terra Firma big tent.smTerra Firma tools.sm  Terra Firma dress2  Terra Firma glassesTerra Firma bulbsx3.sm    Terra Firma plugs.smTerra Firma teapot.sm    Terra Firm Coffe new2.sm

WEBSITES:
sallykidall.wordpress.com
http://www.axisweb.org/p/sallykidall/

Strode College Students visit Fairy Cave Quarry

A terrific day visiting Fairy Cave Quarry with a group of Strode College Foundation and Extended Diploma Art students. It was great to talk about site specific artwork, location and environment – out in the open, in the wind and the rain, experiencing contemporary art practice beyond the walls of a gallery. We then discussed the work in the Black Swan, had a cup of tea and headed back to the college in the minibus with lots of notes in sketchbooks and things to talk about.

e Quarry Trip #3 e Quarry Trip #4 e Quarry Trip #5 e Quarry Trip #6 e Quarry Trip #2 e Quarry Trip #10 e Quarry Trip #9 e Quarry Trip #8 e Quarry Trip #7 e Quarry Trip #11 e Quarry Trip #12 e Quarry Trip #13 Quarry Trip #1

Duncan Cameron   7/10/15

Going Underground: molehills and beyond

“Out of the Earth ii” at Halecombe Quarry. Photos Duncan Simey

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.

Installation day at Westdown Quarry

Photo by Duncan Simey

wormshellcolony

Serpulid colony

 

 

Tessa Farmer  7/9/15

Collecting feathers and bones.

e August Box #2

Spent the evening exploring the Fairy Cave perimeter and collecting feathers and old metal washers. The quarry echoing with the sharp clinks of climbers enjoying the last evening sun on the cliff face and the ever-present crow calls. I had intended to cast more tracks however the recent heavy rain meant that the the little mud was underwater with large puddles covering large areas of the quarry floor.

e August Box

e August Box #4

e August Box #5

 

 

Duncan Cameron  1/9/15

Cyanotype / Van Dyke workshop – Halecombe Quarry

Awoke to a bright sunny day (amongst a series of very wet days) so it was all systems go for a workshop ‘in the field’ ! Conducting a workshop outside has logistical problems, especially when you have to construct a mobile ‘darkroom’ (ish!). Halecombe has a lovely grass walkway along the rim, with a large clearing and outstanding view of the working quarry. The bench was the obvious structure to use to create the sunlight proof room, so using blackout material I was able to create a space where the participants could coat the chemicals onto paper and cloth, leave them to dry and process after exposing.

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A blue tarpaulin demarked the classroom, giving us somewhere comfortable and dry to sit on!

2

After introducing and discussing the processes and their applications, we coated the materials with the cyanotype sensitizer, made by mixing Ammonium Ferric Citrate and Potassium Ferrycianide.

3

Whilst they were drying, we collected plant materials which were then arranged into compositions using printing frames, which were then loaded with the sensitized paper. The frames were then exposed to the sun!

4

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Watching each print change under the sun, going from yellow to blue to grey, once it is correctly exposed is a fascinating process!

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To ‘develop’ the exposed prints, you wash them in water till the yellow from the unexposed area is removed. This is done under the ‘sun proof’ room as is the drying. We then changed water and chemicals for the Van Dyke process, the poor man’s ‘Kallitype’. The chemicals involved are mixed from Ferric Ammonium Citrate, Tartaric Acid (Brewer’s Yeast) and Silver Nitrate. It is a more complicated, but produces a much more sensitive solution. The bright sunshine meant it could overexpose quite easily!

 

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All 3 under the blackout material, coating paper!!

The prints were exposed the same way, but turn bright orange! We then wash them, and fix them in Hypo solution (Sodium Thiosulphate), which makes them turn brown.

 

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Working in a field situation has its problems, but it is a wonderful way to engage with the landscape. The background of the quarry and its noises enhanced the atmosphere, and at the same time we were able to look at the installed artworks. The results had an ethereal quality and were not as precise as under controlled conditions, which in itself enhanced the experience.

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Christina White  22/8/15