five go to hawkridge woods 19813
As part of continuing research for the upcoming exhibition at White Moose Gallery in Barnstaple, I accompanied four other artists to Hawkridge Woods on the River Taw for a day of experimentation, conversation and play with the locally significant earth pigment Bideford Black. The woods lie at the easternmost end of seams of pigment and coal that run across the region, or at least the end of their known extent. Some time in the last 200 years the woods were the site of a mine extracting anthracite that runs alongside the paint seam, evidence of which may be seen by the adit, or drainage tunnel, near the river banks. Paths and banks in the woods reveal similar geology to that on the coast near the Greencliff paint seam but we have as yet to discover any pigment in the soil of the woods. We therefore took our own, along with other materials and used whatever was at hand to respond to both the materials and the environment. The images that follow show some of my own experiments with the group from the day.
Having made an exploratory visit to the site alongside the beautiful River Taw, which runs north from Dartmoor to its estuary mouth in Barnstaple Bay, and found the mine adit, I had determined to work with materials found along the paths that run through the woods. My actions have been greatly influenced by working with printmakers and by the incidental results of such processes. While initial experiments often didn’t quite work out they did lead onto other ideas contributing to group ideas. It is often simply having the confidence to act that leads to spontaneous creative work and the experience to appreciate and reflect upon the results that lead the way to further and more informed possibilities, so just do it and be ready to enjoy the process…
It has been a pleasure and privilege to work with such a diverse and accomplished group of artists, providing exciting and inspiring material and possibilities for future projects and collaborations, so many thanks to Merlyn Chesterman, Griz Luttman-Johnson, Sue Plummer and Judith Westcott. We are now looking forward to bringing our work together for the show. To accompany the exhibition I will be leading a public presentation and discussion about the project on Wednesday 11th September at the White Moose for North Devon Arts[i]. And many thanks to Stella and Julie at White Moose for their enthusiasm and support, and for providing a great space for the project and exhibition[ii].
P Ward 2013