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Oct 15, 2003

COOL, SUNNY, VERY WINDY. SO MANY LEAVES ON THE GROUND BUT NOT A GOOD DAY TO WORK THEM. THE LIGHT MADE THEM DIFFICULT TO SEE AND THE WIND BLEW THEM AWAY.

I DECIDED TO MAKE A WORK INSIDE A CUT ACROSS THE QUARRY FACE AND COLLECTED CLAY ON MY WAY TO THE ISLAND FROM A NEARBY WOOD. THE CUT HAD, I PRESUME, BEEN CARVED OUT IN PREPARATION FOR SPLITTING THE BEDROCK.

I HAD EXPERIMENTED WITH CLAY DURING THE WEEK AND HAD A CLEAR IDEA OF WHAT I WANTED TO DO. IT WAS DIFFICULT TO FIND WORKABLE CLAY THAT WAS NOT TOO SOFT AFTER THE HEAVY OVERNIGHT RAIN. I HAD TO SCRAPE AWAY AT THE BASE OF TREES TO FIND DRIER CLAY WHICH WAS FULL OF FIBROUS ROOTS. SOME OF WHICH WERE POISON IVY. I HAVE NEVER HAD A PROBLEM WITH IVY BUT THEN I HAVE NEVER WORKED IT LIKE THIS BEFORE - I GUESS I WILL NOW FIND OUT IF I AM ALLERGIC TO IT OR NOT.

I ROLL CLAY INTO COILS WHICH I JOINED END TO END IN A CONTINUOUS SERPENTINE LINE ALONG THE OPENING. IT REMINDED ME OF A CARVED STONE THAT I MADE IN CUMRIA IN 1984.

I ENJOYED MAKING THIS WORK. IT WAS AN INTERESTING PIECE BUT ALSO HAD A RELIEF FROM THE MINUTIAE OF RECENT LEAVE WORKS. I LIKED THE WAY IT ARTICULATED THE FISSURE - IT FELT AS IF IT BELONGED THERE.

THE LIGHT WAS EXTRAORDINARY - AT TIMES HYPNOTIC AND NAUSEATING AS THE STONG WINDS VIOLENTLY BLEW THE SURROUNDING TREES - CREATING A MUCH LAYERED SEA OF SHADOWS ACROSS THE ROCK FACE. I PHOTOGRAPHED AS THE SHADOW OF A NEARBY LARGE TREE WORKED ITS WAY FROM ONE END OF THE WORK TO THE OTHER OVER THE COURSE OF THE DAY - A SLOW RELATIVELY STATIC SHADE AMONGST THE FRANTIC GYRATIONS OF SHADOWS CAST FROM TREES AT A GREATER DISTANCE - LIKE THE HOUR HAND ON A CLOCK.

I THOUGHT OF THOMAS RIEDLESHIEMMER, DIRECTOR OF "RIVERS AND TIDES." MY IMAGES WILL NOT HAVE THIS SENSE OF MOVEMENT AND I KNOW THOMAS WOULD HAVE ENJOYED FILMING THIS WORK AND WOULD HAVE UNDERSTOOD ITS ENERGY.

I STAYED ON THE ISLAND UNTIL SUNDOWN. I WANTED TO SEE THE WORK IN A CALM LIGHT WITHOUT SHADOW - SO THAT ITS ROUNDED LINE WAS MORE FULLY VISIBLE AND NOT FRAGMENTED BY LIGHT AND SHADE.

IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE HOW IT CHANGED OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS AS THE CLAY DRIES, BECOMES PALER, CRACKS AND FALLS APART.

DURING THE LONG WAIT FOR THE SUN TO GO DOWN I MADE A WORK WITH YELLOW LEAVES ON A PIECE OF BARK UNDERNEATH THE BASE OF ANOTHER QUARRY FACE. I LAID A LINE OF STICKS ON TOP OF THE LEAVES - IT WAS A GOOD SOLUTION TO THE DIFFICULTY OF USING LEAVES ON A WINDY DAY. NOT ONLY DID THE WATER PREVENT THEM FROM BLOWING AWAY IT MADE THE YELLOW SRONGER.

Provenance

The artist; NGA purchase, 2004.