elephant ans castle

Clay and soil collection for Human Nature at Siobhan Davies Dance.

Over the past two months I've been out and about collecting clay and soil from various locations across Southwark. For my upcoming exhibition Lines, Levels, Layers at Siobhan Davies Dance in July.

My findings and samples have been quite surprising and extremely varied even across one collection point.

Dulwich Woods 

This was a productive afternoons work with the collection of approx 7 small bags of clay and soil samples. 
All of them quite different.

Second visit to Dulwich Woods 

I found an up turned tree the first time I visited the woods and tangled within the roots was a yellow coloured soil. I initially thought that it may have some ochre content I'm certain there's iron running through it but the Ochre question still remains unanswered. 

Stuart Road allotments Peckham

This was my first location for sampling. I collected a bag of soil that had been dug out to build a shed and the second collection was taken from about 50- 60 cm deep where I encountered more clay based soil. 
This was also an excellent spot to extract a number of interesting objects ranging from old London brick to small bones. I've kept everything along the way these objects give you an insight into the place and once washed the selection of findings across each site has culminated in to a fascinating collection.

Gabriel's Wharf South Bank 

Gabriel's Wharf 2nd visit low tide 10.30am 

Saturday morning 31/05/14 we dashed down to the South Bank to catch low tide in the hope of finding some clay many of London's brick was made from clay pulled out from the river in the past so this was one location that had to be explored from the beginning of the research.

 Meadow Gardeners at Elephant and Castle

On a sunny mid morning I visited the Meadow Gardeners with Alie from Siobhan Davies.
Nestled in amongst the deconstruction of the Heygate estate in Elephant and Castle there is a small plot of calmness, which is a hive of activity, full of people planting, digging, watering. Human Nature are collaborating with the Mobile gardeners to create a mobile meadow www.mobilegardeners.org/mobilemeadow 

It seemed to be the perfect site to extract soil from for Lines, Levels, Layers not only to have the local link but to have full connection with the Human Nature season it felt only right for this space to be on my collection trail.

These images were taken by Alison Proctor. 

Dog Kennel Hill 

One of my last locations for soil collection was Dog Kennel Hill there is a very pretty cut through between the Champion Estate and the large Sainsbury's in between these two locations is a small wooded area. This seemed like the perfect spot to begin digging.
On first appearance the soil looked quite red as I began working with this I realised that there was a lot of tiny grains of brick. Making it extremely difficult to work with but I managed to get quite an interesting colour from it. 

A little further I conveniently stumbled across some building work with two mounds of soils that had been dug up which was perfect as it had been extracted from some considerable depth I knew that I had found London clay. This turned out to be the most wonderful shade of yellow. 

In my next post I will be showing my work in progress with less than one month until the exhibition opens and I'm in full flow of making.