Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Mendip Quarries - Step-In-Stone

This afternoon I attempted to find the group of artists that I had agreed to meet in Fairy Cave quarry, having escaped from work a little early keen to discuss the Step-In-Stone art project that I am part of this summer. As I drove up and down the Mendip lanes around Vobster and Holcombe I was reminded of the many other such days I have spent trying to find elusive pot holes, cliffs to climb and flooded quarries to scuba dive in. For such enormous civil engineering projects they are astonishingly invisible at ground level and only the expanse of air between tree lines or the large boulders used to block access give any hint that there is a huge hole in the ground anywhere nearby. In a light flurry of brief snow I found the quarry entrance and walked down between mossed trees and ferns into this instantly alien landscape. The english quarry, home to many a cash strapped science fiction drama, opened up around me as I wandered alone over the flat gravel floor with cliffs climbing up to the severed tree line and the ever present tumbling rooks and jackdaws. The bird calls echo in these huge spaces, clear ponds fill the recesses in the ground and the mud on the tracks betray the activities of motorbiking teenagers, passing deer and dog walkers. Enjoyed a solitary hour climbing into different areas of the quarry and considering how I might respond as an artist - site specific placement, collection of evidence or diving adventure perhaps ?

Went on to the Somerset Earth Science centre as the daylight began to fade,
and heard that I had missed the other artists again, by only 20 minutes. A terrific '0' carbon building by a lake and another quarry and I talked to the staff about their collections of skulls and stones, the otter that they had seen in the lake and the kingfisher that flew with astonishing speed along the far bank. An orange and blue mechanical jewel in an otherwise denuded winter landscape.

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