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 by numbers:
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 film, catalogues, 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…
Above: Caroline Sharp, Pioneer Seeds, Stoneware and Whatley Clay, Willow. Photo Duncan Simey
Below: CarolineSharp, Birch Layers, Birch, Split Hazel, Willow. Photo Duncan Simey
step in stone Exhibition at Black Swan Arts. Photo Sally Barnett
Fiona Campbell 23/11/15
Spent a day in the Fairy Cave Quarry last Friday, looking after the show, and was rewarded with fantastic light shows. Here are some photos to whet your appetite – last chance to see this treasure of a place this weekend.
Bron Bradshaw 16/10/15
Westdown/Asham Quarry nr Chantry, Somerset, UK
“Lest We Forget: is enough enough?”
Sally Kidall 2015
Materials: timber chairs, plastic bags, fabric, soil, wheat seed, rocks, string, water
This site-specific environmental installation consists of two large concentrically arranged circles of clear plastic bags placed comfortably within this post-industrial setting. The work is a contemporary interpretation of memorials and commemorative monuments and appears reminiscent to a prehistoric stone circle. The larger bags stand tall, each encasing a chair with a grass-growing seat. The larger circle will consist of 12 water filled, pyramid shaped, clear plastic structures. As the grass photosynthesises and the temperatures change, condensation forms and drip within the bags, creating a ghostly presents to the work. This installation changes over the course of its display as always with my work the outcome is inconclusive.
“The more we have the less we own.” Meister Eckhart
“Every increased possession loads us with new weariness” John Ruskin;
It’s been an incredible fortnight, unleashing inner reserves of energy I didn’t know I had, and thank goodness for the unyielding patience and support of partner Nick Weaver, helping to pull off the installation of Step 2 while finishing off artwork, getting signage done for 2 venues and co-ordinating it all… Halecombe and Westdown quarries are now open daily for all to visit – see Duncan Simey’s wonderful selection of pics from a very rainy Friday. Jack Offord filmed us for the documentary – looking forward to seeing the results of that on our Preview evening of 2nd October at Black Swan.
Below is a selection from our Step 2 installation days and a couple of photoshoots by Duncan Simey taken since.
And some of our finished work:
My main pieces are the ones with long colourful tentacles, based on crinoids (see earlier post about the making process)! Sadly a heavy steel spring (a small component of my work) went missing and other parts tampered with at Westdown the first weekend – if anybody spots this lurking in the bushes there, do contact me, it might be from my work!
The past week has been filled with our workshops, guided walks and talks, held at SESC, Westdown and Halecombe Quarries. The guided walks, in collaboration with Rosie and Pippa from Somerset Wildlife Trust, have been really well attended, and workshop participants of all ages have explored a range of creative approaches related to artists’ work and the project. Thanks to our wonderfully inspiring workshop leaders (Bron, Tanya, Christina, Suzie), all seemed to thoroughly enjoy the experience! Sally’s talk was much appreciated and I did a talk for 27 Active Living members, who were enthralled.
Last week culminated in a very inspirational performance at Westdown/Asham: Artmusic’s ‘ECHO’ sculpture and sound installation on Saturday 22nd Aug was animated by live performances of Artmusic’s ‘BLAST’ – a theatrical response to the rock and mechanics of quarrying, with specially composed trumpet music being played from locations which echoed around the quarry. We had a great turn out and the audience seemed to really enjoy the unique show and setting. “A delightful melange of live and recorded fluttering trumpets grab our attention this way and that while butterflies flit among the stones…. As they move slowly up the valley from stone to stone, always edging closer to melody, we begin to follow, or not, or meander above and below. ..” Caroline Radcliffe
People brought picnics, dogs, cameras, sketchbooks and the sun was scorching all day!
Can’t wait to download Ralph Hoyte’s GPS Soundwalk ‘ANTICLINE‘ – now available for your smartphone before visiting Westdown.
Hope you can visit soon!
Fiona Campbell 24/8/15
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Sally Kidall 15/8/15
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!!
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.
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.
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’.
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.
I’m looking forward to returning to Somerset and the Mendips area and meeting all the artists and visitors.