Before graduating I joined Blackdown Hills Artists and Makers (www.bhaam.org.uk), and was lucky to be awarded a bursary to produce work in response to the crafts and industries of the Blackdown Hills past and present. In total twenty three artists and makers were awarded bursaries under the project title Skills Unearthed. I decided to continue making work, using traditional woodworking skills such as whittling and charring. With the permission of Somerset Wildlife Trust and Natural England, I was allowed to exhibit my work in the heart of Thurlbear Wood. The exhibition runs from 3rd -18th November 2012.
I have been visiting the site almost every day, and at different times of the day to catch the effect of the sun, shadows, rain and fog. I was very cross in just missing a heavy frost last week. Jack’s fingers beautifully enhance the grain of the charred wood, rather like a temporary liming wax.
Moulds and lichen are beginning to grow on the Old Man’s Beard, and I was really pleased to see this cobweb. It shows that my work is now becoming part of the environment in which it has been placed.
The paths both to, and through, this exhibition site have become wider and much more clearly defined as we enter the second week. Although this has been achieved through collaboration, the end result is worthy of Richard Long!
Visitors to the site were asked to write down the first three words that came into their minds after visiting the site, using a white liquid paint pen and the charred wooden labels hanging from the oak trees. The results will be posted on the blog at the end of the exhibition.
I have talked to lots of visitors during my time in the woods, and have received very positive comments. Some people visit every day just to see what new things have been written. Some have come back with their cameras, their families and their friends, while others have changed their regular dog walking routes in order to visit the site.
The image in the above picture has proved to be a magnet to one particular visitor, as the position of the hazels poles is altered at least every couple of days!