Fiona’s work reflects an interest in our relationship with the natural world. Her main work for step in stone is at Westdown/Asham quarry. ‘Cirri’ (tentacles) is inspired by crinoids (sea lilies), which are found fossilised in the ancient limestone of the Mendips, exposed through quarrying.
The earlier part of the Carboniferous period has been coined the Age of Crinoids. Then, thousands of varieties thrived, showing huge morphological diversity. These fascinating ancient creatures look like exotic plant forms – many varieties still exist today. They cling to the sea bed (some now vertical rock faces) by long spiny stems, others are without a stalk but have tentacle legs or long arms, which enable them to drag themselves along.
These and other fossils bring into question our origin, the distant past and future. Captivated, Fiona has been imagining these other worlds.
“Having always been interested in the way life forms often repeat themselves throughout nature, my thoughts began with ‘old man’s beard’ seeds growing in the quarries, and evolved to sea creatures discovered in the rocks there.”
Fiona’s work at SESC relates largely to the microscopic world. Symbols of nature’s cyclical persistence, Lichen is a symbiotic fusion of fungi and algae, often growing on carboniferous limestone and used to measure pollution; Diatoms (aquatic phytoplankton) generate a large percentage of our oxygen. Threatened by man’s intervention they are essential to our survival.
At Fairy Cave quarry, Fiona’s work investigates the ghost caves and formations within. Much of Balch Cave was destroyed by quarrying and Shatter Cave was named for the beautiful formations shattered by blasting. ‘Eviscerated Earth’ reflects on the fragility of these ancient growths in the face of man’s actions. The piece is sited where it is believed connecting caves once existed between Withyhill and Hillwithy.