From Humble Beginnings
One of ten artist projects for 'Surrey Unearthed' – an artistic exploration of the Surrey Hills focused on the materials of the landscape. From Humble Beginnings explores the materiality of clay, drawing from the use of clay extraction for building materials from the seams of clay that stretch for miles across the Surrey Hills. Using a mixture of raw and fired clay, the work evolves over time, exposing the viewer to the different stages of using the material, observing insights and interpretations of traditional and modern making processes.
Mathematical tiles and raw clay exposed surface.
Photography by www.johnmillerphotography.com
The clay seam installation spans 25 feet, rising from the ground to a peak at the centre in reference to drawing clay from the earth and using it to construct. The narrative sections of the piece begin with the unearthing of clay and its changing states when exposed to ‘weathering’ through moisture hydration and dehydration. The clay is then drawn from the ground and manipulated to a vertical wall of mathematical bricks and tiles that interprets the influential Surrey vernacular building style – an important language of place, that has developed over time to accommodate the values, economies and cultures that produced them. The final section recedes back to ground level were the seam becomes fragmented, referencing deterioration and documenting a history of the changing landscape.