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 the site.