Sombourne Chalk Quarry: Hampshire

Last weekend I visited Sombourne chalk quarry in Hampshire to choose the chalk I need for my next exhibition. After several conversations with Mark Yorke who owns and runs the quarry single handily.

 Ben and I drove down with plastic boxes in the boot and began selecting the chalk from the various different shapes and sizes from large boulders to dust.

Throughout the quarry, the chalk is divided into different sizes according to it's use. 
The dust to 20 is used for agriculture to line the flooring for cow sheds. 
Chalk is also used within the building trade for construction work such as building or lining river banks.
The larger blocks some weighing up to a tonne are often used for larger projects or art works. It's interesting to find out how this material is utilised but also the handling processes involved in the quarry itself. It's removed from the landscape in metre levels according to the natural seam lines.  

The quarry is normally only in working order during the summer months as it's an impossible task to work with such a dusty material during the wet winter. In many ways it's fairly similar to the way clay pits function.
Where industry is very much dependant upon the weather conditions and seasonal cycles.

Image taken by Ben Winkley 2015

Whilst I was there we filled two boxes of dust to 20 and a further two boxes of the larger chunks which can be seen in the forth image here. 

When we arrived brilliant sunshine was beaming down into the quarry. 
This was a new experience! 

I had never been into such a space that was saturated by the colour white before. 
With the addition of sunshine it becomes blinding but also quite invigorating. 
You realise how powerful it is and the spiritual connections white carries with it. 

It's something I've been interested in for a while now and White ultimately plays a huge part in this current piece of work but it's so rare that you find yourself immersed within a natural landscape surrounded by one solid colour. 

Flint is embedded within the chalk and has to be removed by hand this type of flint is quite rare with the white skin and dark black interior and is only found within this locality. When you visit Winchester flint has been used in many of the older buildings some of the interior walls within the theatre have been lined with it.

I brought one piece away with me which I intend to include in the final process display in October.

Please follow the link to take a look at the quarry as there are very few chalk quarries left in the country anymore and it's quite a special place and a big thank you to Mark for all his help.


A Day in Dungeness

My day trip to Dungeness a couple of weeks ago with Alie. 
The main aim of the day was to collect clay at low tide from Littlestone beach a few miles down the road. As we had to wait until late afternoon early evening we had a good chunk of the afternoon in Dungeness.

During the hours spent at Dungeness we both began to search for treasures. Flint is easy to come by but the larger more abstract forms were still buried under water as the tide was fairly high.

Littlestone Beach: The concrete cube embedded within the sand tilting upwards immediately caught my attention. I felt as though I had stumbled across a piece of sculpture or land art. The water marks perfectly created a visual divide across the form. 

How long had it been there?
It was too heavy for the incoming tide to wash it away.
With that in mind it then becomes a piece of art. It may change with time, it may move slightly, it transforms from being visible and then disappearing again with each day. Perhaps someone will come along and take it a way one day.

I would have been that person had it not been for travelling by train or at least had the energy to carry it all the back home. 

I hope it remains there for a while for some one else to stumble across.

And finally here are the days findings! 
It's always quite interesting once you return home and take a closer look at what you have collected and in many cases different moods or mind sets can change your focus. 
For some reason I decided that I was going to hone in on black and white (with some grey thrown in there.) I'm particularly pleased with the beautiful white piece of bone. 

We were also successful with the clay…. new tests will be posted soon.