The Wood Firing

Very Exciting!

The Seed Forms I have made using Whatley Clay have just been fired in my friend Bill Crumbleholme’s Wood Kiln. The whole process took more than 24 hours and I visited as the kiln was coming up to maximum temperature – lots of flames!

The Seed Forms will be shown at Black Swan Arts in October

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Caroline Sharp 18 August 2015

Sally Kidall setting up: Lest We Forget: is enough enough?

Stage 2 openings today at Westdown Quarry and its a glorious day! Come down today and check out my grass growing chairs in “Lest We Forget: is enough enough?”
Materials: wheat grass, soil, timber chairs, plastic, water, rocks, glass-fibre rods, string

First image of finished work last night, light was fading, rain easing, better images to following.

Lest we Forget 1a

What an enormous week organising my first work for ‘step in stone’ at Westdown Quarry, sourcing 12 old chairs, the right soils, tools & materials, planting seeds with in an hour of arriving from Australia after traveling for 36 hours!! It was a relief to find my bags were going to fit my motley collection of old chairs sourced from Northwich, Cheshire, Bristol.Lest we Forget set up2

Sarah McCluskey, my very good friend from art school days, kept me going through the jet-lag with her endless wit and hard labour!! Here she is, totally soaked, filling my plastic pyramids with puddle water, yes we had online water supply yesterday, thank you rain!Lest we Forget set up 4

Sarah loading rocks into the base of the chairs to anchor them to site. And thanks to her husband Steve Woodcock too for helping me the other night attach the chair bases.

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Here shows how the well traveled grass cushions, that have been in & out of my van all week, sit on the seats with more soil below to nourish them over the next few weeks. The plastic bags are them supported with fine glass fibre rods.Lest we Forget set upLest we Forget set up3

To find my work you need to keep walking, its about 15-20 minute walk from the entrance gates, keep following the path along the river, don’t give up its worth the walk to this beautiful enchanting site!

sallykidall.wordpress.com

Sally Kidall  15/8/15

Sally’s Kidall’s final preparations….

I am now packing my bags ready to leave cold wintery Australia on Friday. All the light parts of my project are finished at last after many weeks thinking, planning, making, sewing…… my studio space is a complete mess as is the rest of the house, my poor family suffer with every project. It looks like I’m sewing for a bridal company!!

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My project for Fairy Cave Quarry is called “Terra Firma: there’s no place like home”. It consists of 21 transparent tents of various sizes arranged in concentric circles reminiscent of a large ancient monument. Each tent will contain various growing/changing narratives, yet to be made, all will be revealed nearer the time.

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I have had a passion for making tent projects over the last couple of years, some floating, others hanging onto exposed cliff tops, or beaches or sitting comfortably in an arid S. Australian bushland.

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Recently some of them have taken to wheels and I have had a couple of opportunities to try out some ideas for ‘step in stone’.

There's No Place Like Home is enough enoughThere's No Place Like Home_Kidall

At the Table_time for action Sally Kidall3At the Table_time for action Sally Kidall2

My first project to set up next week is called “Lest We Forget: is enough enough?”, this project is a new larger developed version of an earlier work made for Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi. Westdown quarry is a great location for this work and I’m looking forward to setting it up next week. Its made of 12 chairs housed in large plastic bags with grass growing seats inside and arranged again in a large circle, plus an outer circle of water containing plastic pyramid shaped bags I’ve made.

In the Bag 2012 In the Bag 2012 detail

I’m looking forward to returning to Somerset and the Mendips area and meeting all the artists and visitors.

sallykidall.wordpress.com      www.axisweb.org/p/sallykidall/

Seed Forms

I have been making some seed forms reflecting the windblown catkin seeds typical of both birch and hazel – major pioneer species within the disused Mendip Quarries.

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Using a mix of stoneware clay and clay from seams excavated as part of the modern day quarrying process at Whatley Quarry and collected stems I have been sculpting forms which evoke these catkins and their windblown nature.

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Caroline Sharp 24 July 2015

In the spotlight at Big Green Week’s Hub, Bristol

We had a fun day out in Bristol yesterday speaking publicly about step in stone at the Hub for Bristols’ Big Green Week.  Christina, Ralph, Fiona, Nick and Charlotte (our young sculpture design competition winner) took to the platform – a symbolic BGW green chair draped with examples of our work – to explain our forthcoming project to a drop-in audience.  Ralph treated us all to a snippet of his new poetic soundwalk – due to be located in the quarries.  The Hub is sited in the city centre near the cascade steps, so plenty of people stopped by, some listening throughout, and a few asking questions about the concept.  Jack Offord, our film maker came along and took some excellent pics.

Ralph trumpeting step in stone BGW Photo Jack OffordFiona speaking step in stone BGW Photo Jack OffordRalph, Christina step in stone BGW Photo Jack OffordRalph step in stone BGW Photo Jack OffordNick step in stone BGW Photo Jack OffordChristina step in stone BGW Photo Jack Offordstep in stone signed big Green Chair BGW Photo Jack OffordCharlotte McKeown - our young sculpture design winner

Later the same day, we met up with radio presenter Martin Evans (BBC Bristol and Somerset), who interviewed us for a pre-record – due to be broadcast nearer our opening week at the beginning of July.

step in stone - Fiona interview with Martin Evans - Photographer Jack Offordstep in stone - Christina interview with Martin Evans - Photographer Jack Offordstep in stone - Ralph interview with Martin Evans - Photographer Jack Offordstep in stone - Charlotte interview with Martin Evans - Photographer Jack Offordstep in stone - group interview with Martin Evans - Photographer Jack Offordstep in stone - group photo with Martin Evans - Photographer Jack Offord

Halecombe Quarry

Halecombe Quarry

Halecombe quarry is a fully working quarry, its first load way back in 1854.  Currently operated by La Farge Tarmac, owned by Hobbs, the quarry has expanded dramatically and has excavated down several benches below the water table, with strict regimes of pumping and water disposal. Standing above on the peripheral public pathway, the views down into the quarry and across the fields beyond are extraordinary. You get a sense of man’s industry at work from afar – a bird’s eye view into dinky land, man’s toil and rubble, spewing out thousands of tonnes of rock for our roads and airports – particularly Gatwick – all over the South of England.

Nick Weaver, Christina White and I were taken on a special tour of the inside workings of Halecombe by Vaughan Gray recently. On a lower level, we saw the most incredible vertical seabed with very visible ripple patterns running through it – ripples made in the carboniferous period, so precious that Vaughan is guarding it to ensure it doesn’t get quarried.

Photo by Christina White

Photo above by Christina White, who will be revealing the inside of Halecombe on the outside, as part of the Trail

Grand tour of Halecombe - inside and out

Halecombe is proud of its good relationship with neighbours, especially with Leigh-on-Mendip primary school, who visit the peripheral area for forest school activities. They’ve even made some lovely posters reminding dog-walkers to be a little more caring of their environment…

Earlier on this year, Nick Weaver and I felt we wanted to enhance the experience of walking round the quarry.  On Easter bank holiday Monday, Nick and I enjoyed the warm spring sunshine while sowing wildflower seeds on molehills along the pathway.  Ideally seeds need a well cultivated bed of soil to germinate and grow well so, rather than choosing where to sow the seeds and then digging over a patch of grassland we decided to let the moles choose and do all the hard digging work for us.  All we had to do was scatter the seeds, pat them down and give them a little water. Time will tell if this is a success or a flop but it seems like a fun idea at the moment and if it works there will be an intriguing display of wildflowers in randomly distributed little patches during the summer.   ‘step in stone’  have teamed up with Somerset Wildlife Trust with a view to promoting their current ‘Save Our Magnificent Meadows’ project, and we wanted to say something about the interaction of quarrying with the environment and local people. Slightly eccentric, perhaps.

IMG_9990 IMG_9989 Sowing seeds on molehills

Save Our Magnificent Meadows is not only about saving existing wildflower meadows but also aims to restore and recreate flower rich habitats which support a huge range of wildlife as well as just looking beautiful. Our 4 guided walks in collaboration with them, will involve experiencing the wildlife close-up, with both an artist and wildflower expert.  For more information or to book a place on one of these walks visit: https://stepinstonesomerset.wordpress.com/workshops-walks-talks/

Fiona Campbell & Nick Weaver  19/5/15

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

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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

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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

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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