Monday, 5 December 2011

Topography of The Yorkshire Dales

Water colour paper, tracing paper, stitch and  clay.
I have started to develop the clay pressing possess further by layering printed maps of  Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale landscape (printed on tracing paper) onto the clay drawings. By using stitch with gold embroidery thread to pick out various roads, paths and waterways the introduction of these forms are now represented in a physical  form. The prick marks appropriate symbols on the maps themselves of public rights of way. The juxtaposition of both the topographical clay markings and the tracing paper printed maps appear to sit well together. 

Friday, 2 December 2011


In today’s society we are enticed into the hyper-reality of the digital world. The fictitious gratification that this creates is compromising our awareness of each other and the world around us.
Combing the two elements of time spent with the AONB Conservation Group and the construction of a recycling building at Horticap I hope to draw attention to the physicality of the land itself and the individuals who engage in processes that directly manipulate its materiality.

 After the clay has dried and the loose pieces discarded the different organic content of the clay is revealed. The varied textured surfaces and tones emanate the topographical aspects of the landscape in a real and more physical sense. The materiality of the clay holds the substance of humanity; we are borne of the earth and return to it in death.

Clay from the land at Horticap has been an inspiring material to work with. Its inner textures and organic tones generate a need to be revealed.

The most simple of process often reveal the most interesting outcomes. These images show the results of pressing pieces of clay in-between watercolour paper. After the clay has dried pressing the paper together again cracks the hardened clay, resulting again in a very topographical form reminisent of images of the landscape (Google Earth) maps and boundaries, 

Sunday, 20 November 2011


Does the excavation process make you feel part of the landscape?
"Sometimes, especially in rural locations, not so much in urban areas" Archaeologist

"Yes it literally sucks you in!"

What does the first incision feel like describe your thoughts.
"There is a long way to go!" Gardener

"Slight panic. If a digger is being used there is no going back. Excavating with a spade is less intrusive and you can go back" Garden Designer

"I think how long it must have taken the earth to get there and how quickly it takes me to dig it up" Labourer

If you were to choose one word that would describe how you feel when digging into the earth what would it be?




I put together a short questionnaire to obtain insight from individuals who physically excavate the land as part of their work. Here are a few of the interesting comments! Thanks to everyone who took the time to reply.

"When the World Screamed"

This fictional story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle struck a cord with me. It tells the story of an arrogant Professor who embarks on a quest to bore down through the earth to eventually penetrate the earths crust. This destructive way of making the earth notice him as an individual culminates in a violent confrontation with the crust itself. Ironically it appropriates how we as individuals have a desire to make a mark within the world, although not as violent, we state our claim through dwellings, agriculture, conservation and any kind of physical penetration of the land.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

On Going Processes

Clay, Embroidery Thread

I have challenged the traditional workings of the sewing machine and instead of using the machine to sew I utilized it to generate a weaving action. Using embroidery thread I produced organic free flowing forms of rotated thread that generate a 'boring down' aspect along with connotations of fossils and the imprints left within rocks. The earth around Horticap has a high content of clay and I have been exploring its capabilities. When rolled out it presents a perfect surface for creating textured markings and by pressing the embroidery thread forms into the clay a beautiful imprinted pattern is produced. Left to dry the clay cracks naturally and is reminiscent of the topography of maps; the fields and boundaries of the rural countryside.


Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Insight into the Excavation of the Land

The mark society makes on the landscape and the sense of belonging this process generates are key aspects that is driving my work. The forming of dwellings and structures and the physical penetration of the earth that this creates generates the basis of our place within the world.
Above are images taken from the first points of excavation in the construction of a new Recycling building at Horticap. These incisions represent the first physical stages of construction; a grounding to place and space. The building of the new recycling building is an addition to Horticaps existing presence on the land which has developed over the past 26 years.

Monday, 31 October 2011

A3 Poster

Hand made paper, compost, stitch, tracing paper,pins 420mm x 297mm

The A3 exhibition gave me chance to do some more making! My main objective was to make an A3 piece that would prompt the viewer to reflect on the physicality of the land generating questions about how they place themselves as individuals within the world itself. Process and development were one of the main aspects of the work. Handmade paper made from well-rotted compost and paper pulp was texturized by using the process of heat. As well as creating a more textured surface scorching and burning was also achieved creating more aesthetic depth. Blanket stitch was used to attach the roughly torn pieces of the paper together. The result was a textured topographical map like piece which visualizes the rural landscape. The appropriation of the Yorkshire landscape and its patchwork of cultivated fields separated by dry stone wall boundaries are evident in the work. The piece portrays the main theme and concern of my current work; the physicality of the world around us and societies lack of connection with the real world within the 21st century.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Organic canvas, beetroot pigment, thread, paper

Back into the swing of things i am now  attempting to harness the physicality and intervention of the elements as mediums and processes. Fire, Earth, Air and Water are the key to life itself and without each of these elements we would not exist. The work above is explorative using organic canvas from a previous project and the element of fire/heat. The embossed hexagonal patterns represent nature and its way of simplification and perfection. The burning process is immediate and destructive and a challenge to control; appropriating the loss of control experienced within the world today!!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

 "Detail from organic matter Collagraph"  2011 20 x 20cm           Selected to be shown at the live exhibition of earth:NOW:being

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Himalayan Balsam Eradication!

 Steering and tagging Cattle!


Hay Making!  

Fewston Church Yard

Summer has been filled with my connection with the rural landscape on a physical level!
I have been involved with the AONB Conservation volunteers in the management of the landscape in and around Pateley Bridge. As well as educational it has been great fun and is informing my practice as I move on to the final year of my degree. I will be drawing from the processes experienced through the conservation and manipulation of the landscape and its organic materials, this will inform the further development of my work. My thanks to everyone involved for making me so welcome especially Colin Slater, his humour and knowledge is a real inspiration; I will be back and hope to incorporate the important work the group does into my on-going practice.

Dry Stone Walling

Dry Stone walling at Banks Farm, West End.

Although a wild day, a really enjoyable one! The deteriorated wall was dismantled and we rebuilt the new. This process engages with every aspect of the physicality of the land and its materials. Being in contact with the material (stone) the earth and the elements directly engages you to place. This for me combines a sense of fulfilment and belonging within the creative process.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Willow Den Mark 2

Had a really good day with year 6 at Parish Church Primary School, Skipton, building another willow sculpture. The positioning of the sculpture is in the garden frontage of the school. This determined the overall design and this time I went for more formal rounded shape that would sit well with the linear backdrop of the school building. The children took part in every aspect of the construction of the sculpture and did a fabulous job. There’s nothing quite like building your own den! Hope you all enjoy this space you created within the landscape.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Harvesting Willow

Had a great day today harvesting willow with the Andy and the students from Horticap. We were given permission to harvest the willow from private land at a beautiful spot in Dallowgill, Kirkby Malzaerd.The willow will  be used as part of an arts week I will be doing with year 6 of the Parish Church Primary School in Skipton. The plan is to construct a willow sculpture in the grounds of the school. Keeping in the concept of shelter and safety (the original inspiration for the Horticap sculpture “Refuge”) my initial ideas are to construct three dome shaped structures all slightly smaller than each other that represent the different stages of the children going through the years of primary school. The sculptures will be large enough to climb into and will act as forms of dens for the children!
Special thanks to Andy for organising the job, Jenny for her permission to harvest the willow from her land, her sister Rachael and of course the students for all their hard work, hope you enjoyed the day as much as I did!