A walk through sprawling Bristol. My aim was to try and walk
as far North as The Mall shopping Centre (the group of white buildings above
and slightly to the right of the furthest north point of my walk). I got
tantalisingly close, but in the end was defeated by a combination of a locked
gate, a grumpy caravan owner, and the extreme heat of the day. I did get to
Filton airstrip, now defunct but still a huge mark on the map of Bristol.
My first timer went off as I walked down a cut through between houses – high brick wall on one side, a fence on the other. The only spot of colour, a ‘danger of death’ sign on an electricity transformer box, gave me my theme for the rest of the walk – every three minutes I took a photograh that included some element of text:
Old favourites, company names in the frogs of bricks piled high on a demolition site.
Sign in a window ‘These premises are alarmed!’ – by what?
Grafitti – ‘we have to start somewhere’ and ‘no going back’. Signs of the times, but sounding to me like the start of a Margaret Atwood distopia.
‘Look right’ sprayed on the grass at a golf course. A safety
warning, or sartorial instruction?
Thank you to everyone who visited me in studio 27 during our open studio event this weekend. It was lovely to see so many of you, both those I knew, and those I didn’t. I had many a fantastic conversation (my favourite being about spittoons on underground trains, I kid you not) and received fabulous and encouraging feedback about my work. The challenge now is to try and keep my studio tidy for more than a day – it is such a treat to be able to see the floor, and not to be in danger of tripping over at every step.
42 sand and crushed rock samples displayed in a stand made from reclaimed wood. All the samples were collected during August this year, many of them from the building site at Temple Gate.
This piece is going to be on display in Centrespace Gallery from 12-16 October as part of the Centrespace Open Studios. Please come along and say ‘hello’, I will be in studio 27 on Friday evening and all day Saturday.
My sand collection, started in Australia last year (Collecting Colour) continues to grow whenever I visit the great outdoors, but I hadn’t really considered the fact that I could add to my collection whilst I was in the city. I have been reading ‘Origins’ by Lewis Dartnell and the following sentence made me think – ‘the story of civilisation is the story of humanity digging up the fabric of the planet beneath our feet and piling it up to build our cities. Everyday my walk to my studio takes me through the building works of Temple Gate – a huge road improvement scheme that had meant for the last two years you are never quite sure which way you will end up going to get past Temple Meads and into the city.
As I wander past in my morning or late afternoon daydream, I have seen
constantly changing piles of sand, aggregate, concrete etc. as great
holes and trenches have been dug , had mysterious things happen within
their depths, and then been filled in again . But because these sands
were building materials, they didn’t fit with my idea of collecting
colours specific to place. Reading the text by Dartnell made me realise
that these imported sand would become the colours of Bristol.
So, on a slightly soggy Tuesday at the end of August, I
could be found in the company of Becky, the site Quantity Surveyor, in full fluorescent
gear, searching the site for sand. We
found 24 different sands (including a lovely soft grey that Becky went out of
her way to track down for me, remembering that it had been one of the first
sands to be delivered to site), gravels, and rock fragments that I was able to
crush into powder. I am amazed at the
variety, if asked beforehand I think I would have expected to find just one or
two different types of sand on building site.
As well as adding to my test tube collection, I had enough
to make this tower of sand – I feel a trip to Alum bay in the Isle of Wight
might be needed…
Thank you very much to all at Eurovia for letting me visit