I am interested in the estuary landscape of Traeth Mawr, Porthmadog, and the traces that remain from before the Cob was built and the land drained. I am working ‘in the field’ taking impressions directly from the environment: its geology and industrial remains.
I am using porcelain clay, rolling it paper thin and pressing it into the landscape to make direct imprints. When these fragile pieces are fired, then lit from behind, the impressed layers will emerge. This is my starting point, along with sketch, sound and image that capture the fleeting moment.
This Residency has been made possible by Oriel Brondanw, and the Arts Council of Wales. My Arts Council of Wales grant is for Research and Development –I don’t know where this exploration of landscape and materials will take me – but I will be sharing it here as it unfolds, and on Instagram.
Follow the fieldwork in progress – most recent at the top…
15th August 2019 Explored the Crawiau above Minffordd with Charles, I took advantage of the 2 of us to try for 2 final large pieces of porcelain to test out logistics and firing.
Some had very distinctive heads carved into them. Took some porcelain impressions of them
14th August 2019 Very rainy day…didn’t manage a lot until a break in the afternoon which enabled some work. This key image is a ‘Benchmark’, used is surveying. I captured it in porcelain along with some graphite rubbings of random graffiti.
Will passed by and told me about another bridge further up the road – Pont Talyrni – which also has graffiti. He also has an interest in the are an the Traeth Mawr crossings – and we exchanged information.
8th August 2019 Charles Gershom and I tried tracing the pre-Cob estuary crossing. Found Rhos a hostelry that was half way , straddling the two paths across Traeth Mawr and Traeth Bach – Penmorfa to Rhos and Rhos to Talsarnau.
We walked down a steep slope to the water’s edge where you can look across to Ynys Giftan and the sands that will take you to Talsarnau. While we were working, the tide turned and the sea came in fast. I chose the rocky outcrop that would have seen the stepping point off land, onto sand, and the hope that you would cross in time.
I worked with both Silicone and Latex to capture the indentations of the rock at the shore edge at Abergafren.
In the afternoon we moved on to Garreghylldrem and I continued with latex, mixing some with black acrylic. The experiments at Abergafren led us to think that silicone was probably best used as a deep fill, rather than trying to replicate the pull-off delicacy of the latex. We had to leave one in place over 2 days as it was not set enough to lift. When I lifted it out seemed to have picked up some of the rock pigments. When laid out with the other silicone pieces and under-lit, I was struck by the resemblance to an estuary landscape of peninsulas and islands.
3rd August 2019 16th Century Single arch pack-horse bridge Pont Rhiw Dol Moch
Large latex sheet – about 7 foot long – combined pouring and rubbing.
Sheer latex sheet with added white pigment, feels light in colour and handles like fabric. I’ve hung it on the wall of the Studio at Oriel Brondanw.
2nd August 2019 Worked at Pont Dol Moch and 16th Century bridge crossing river Glaslyn at Maentwrog.
Creating porcelain slab impressions from the top parapet
Discovered a ‘sink hole’ in the bridge parapet – perhaps made over time by a stone caught in a crevice and turning over the years to made this striated indentation. Made some porcelain bowls picking up the markings on the outside.
Took a latex impression of a balustrade surface by the ‘seats’ in the middle of the Bridge and surprised to pick up so much graffiti.
1st August 2019 Spent the day at Cei Tyddyn Isaf with Charles Gershom exploring our different media: film, latex and porcelain.
Worked on a large length of rock on the top of the Cei, pouring the latex onto it. After 3.5 hours it was dry enough so that it could be pulled off, creating a 6 foot length of perfect rock impression – translucent and fascintating. Video clips of different stages of the process on Instagram
Using found charcoal from some burnt gorse bushes along with graphite, took rubbings from the rock facia and used these to make flat bottom boats sewn with rushes to float on the River Dwyryd – in the manner of the slate boats. See Video clips on my Instagram site.
27 July 2019 Adding to the Studio in Oriel Brondanw
27 July 2019. Unsuccessful in finding the hut circles at Garth y Foel – so returned to the wood on the road to Gelli.
26 July 2019. Met Clive Hudson at Garreghylldrem, a huge rocky outcrop geological ‘intrusion’ that would have been at the sea edge. He discovered and excavated a shelf below the drip line of the overhang and found shells and bone midden that showed it had been an active Mesolithic site from 6600BC to 7000BC.
Used now by Bouldering groups, the rock surface for me has a range of textures and fissures ideal for taking impressions. The carbonate ‘pimples’ leaving stippled designs in the clay.
Taking impressions using porcelain and latex
Cei Tyddyn Isaf, one of several quays built for slate to be brought by pony from Croesor slate workings transferring to flat bottom boats here to take to larger vessels at sea.
10 July 2019 Porcelain pressed directly into one of the stone stanchions at Cei Tyddyn Isaf
Impression taken with liquid latex