26 August 2012

under my feet

The sea-sculpted sand was striking in this morning's light.

Only by walking over the ridges do you really understand their solidity.

Under my feet: 

crunch of pebbles

swoosh of sand

flick of marram grass


I never tire of the coastline because it's never the same twice.  
The tides change its physical shape, and they bring different things to look at. 
 There's always something new.

Jean Sprackland, Strands

The views from the top of the lighthhouse yesterday were amazing - not as clear as sometimes but the air was still so it didn't feel as precarious as sometimes up there, especially on the balcony.

When the tide is down things are particularly interesting and yesterday I was very aware of changes since I last looked at this view.

The distribution of pebbles on the beach has markedly changed.  Of course things are always different here and the detail in particular changes with every tide. From so high up I can see patterns that wouldn't be so obvious down on the beach itself.

25 August 2012


With less than a month to go before the residency exhibition things are coming together.  I've spent today testing out how things look in the different spaces in the lighthouse.  As an exhibition space it is pretty challenging: there are low light levels in most rooms; floors and surfaces are dirty; and there are a lot of steps!  By exhibiting work at the top of the building (where the light is better) you are expecting visitors to invest in the effort required to walk up all those steps.  Hopefully the promise of the view from the top is enough to encourage people to make that investment!  Lower down, where it is gloomy, even on a bright day, there is a risk that work will just not have an impact at all.  There is a lot to consider in trying to create an exhibition that will be successful for the viewer.

I was also interviewed today for BBC Look North, which was fun.  We recorded sequences on the top of the dunes, in the lighthouse and up on the balcony at the top.  The feature should go out sometime next week in the eastern part of the region.  The weather was good to us, with bright sunshine while the crew were there.  

Later things got very hazy and strange light joined rumbles of thunder before some rain.

24 August 2012

I'm back at Spurn for the weekend after quite a time away.  I've brought with me the two large pieces I've been working on to get an idea of how they will look in the Lighthouse.  

Driving over here there was a heavy sky and I arrived in the dark: the evenings are noticeably drawing in.

The Humber Bridge, which I pass on the way here, is the sixth longest single span suspension bridge in the world. I can remember when it was the longest, so finding it is now the sixth longest makes me feel old!  After passing under the end of the bridge there is a point where the road is suddenly almost next to the estuary and this evening is was quite breath taking.  There was an expanse of almost silver water and grey-silver sky, two almost uniform elemental slabs.  It was just a glimpse as my eyes were on the road, but the kind of snapshot that stays with you for a long time.

17 August 2012

step back

I've been away to other shores than Spurn's.  The school holidays always disrupt the normal work pattern and things have to be fitted in differently or put aside for a while.  Since my week at Farfield I've put Spurn things aside and I realise I haven't posted anything here.  It doesn't mean that I'm not thinking about it all though: I carry it with me wherever I go.

I want to take a step back and show a little of what happened to Cloth #2 before I started constructing it at Farfield.

Back in June when I was unwrapping rust bundles and discovering the marks that had been made on cloth by the rusty groynes, the base cloth for cloth #2 had its first experience of Spurn.

This long piece of linen (actually several pieces joined together) is long enough to hang in the tall lighthouse room half way up the building: approximately an 8 or 10 metre drop.  Although this piece of cloth forms the base to bring together the marked and dyed fabrics I wanted it to take on something of the place itself.  I wanted it to get salty and sandy and to experience the place in the way that the fabric that had spent time wrapped and submerged by the tides had.  

I laid it out on the beach and allowed it to get wet in the waves.  The water pushed it about and slowly it took on the shape of the leading edge of the waves in the way that the sand and debris is moved around and left wet in a curved line.

This long and seemingly large piece of fabric was suddenly dwarfed by the scale of the beach but its length and width seemed right in proportion to each other: a long thin strip being quite appropriate to this drawn out fragment of land with its strips of land/sea interface.