Standing, eyes closed, the warm wind blows around me. It's sunset and I'm standing on a large Welsh hillfort close to my home, there is a profound silence, just the sound of the elements, the feeling I think hard to describe but it is one of reverence, there is something other here standing beside me. Beneath me, the ground where 2000 years ago the feet of the people of this place stood, where they lived their lives as a community, bound together by their need for survival. They wore clothes woven and dyed with the plants of this place, made pots, raised their children, they had hopes and fears. You can hear their voices on the wind, they stood and looked at the same sun over the same mountain. I am moved by the thought of this, the human connection to this shared landscape.
I begin to think about the landscape as a time capsule, a storyteller. This changes everything, now I think of the earth as the glue which holds together time and once again I hear the voices of the past. The soil knows it all, life, death, war, forests, deserts, tropical seas, all recorded in the delicate layers beneath our feet, the heart beat of civilisation, the singular reason for the survival of the species. These layers are formed over what we refer to as geological time, a span which is beyond our comprehension. Soil can take up to 3000 years to form, its success is based on many environmental influences, thousands of organisms working together in a cyclical dance to form a resource more precious than gold, its is patience.
Without shifting my focus to look and critic society for its lack of reflection, for following a time frame which is less than patient, valuing gold above soil, I examine my own connections, my desire as a human, my creativity as an artist, my enquiring mind as an archaeologist and teacher. I have a need for all these elements to work together to form a cyclical dance of their own and this is the point I decide to blend it all together, round and round in my head in a chaotic swirl, shifting and changing in direction like the swifts of the air watched by onlookers in a concerned wonderment, where will it land and be still. Finally it comes to rest with a clarity which is so clear that the ancient voices themselves must have influenced the peace. And thus I rise, I begin to collect small amounts of natural earth based materials to create pigments, my intention to represent the people of the past, ecology of the landscape, to blend into my work the precious pigments. Our ancestors around the world left traces of themselves using this very same process, reminding us that they were present and teaching us about the tools with which they worked, leaving messages in the earth.
This is an evolving process, I'm working from the heart, learning, trusting making mistakes, the things which make us human, I will share my experience with you, my failings and my successes and hopefully I can be the teacher of this ancient thread and encourage you to listen to the landscape.
Inspired by the changing seasons. My life is full of creativity and reflection.