Exploring responsive making in the littoral zone
This mini sculpture project began after the Winter School in Inverness. Whilst in Inverness I visited 'Terrafabulations' (https://www.circus.scot/terrafabulations) an exhibition hosted by Circus Art Space which included work by former students of the MA. I was inspired by the work of Rosie Newman's piece 'Spiral' a spiral of metal rusted from being exposed to the sea which hung from the rafters in the building and reached the floor. Rosie's exploration of the natural elements on metal in the littoral zone remined me of the rusted metal and man-made debris such as bricks and sea glass that I find on the shore near my home. I often spend time beneath the high tide line gathering interesting bits that I find. One day, feeling blocked and frustrated in so many ways I made my way to the shore. Tuning into the playfulness of Rosie's 'Spiral', I decided to free myself of pressures and just to respond to what materials I found there. I could let go of the pressure to make something 'good' because I was just playing and paying attention to my instincts. In the making I found a sense of calm, a tuning into myself and the material, perhaps a 'correspondence' as Tim Ingold (2017) might put it. I assembled the balancing piece 'Balance Point' that day and its movement really relate to the precarious balance I was finding within myself at the time. I’ve gone back to that rock, recovering the pieces from where the sea has cast them and re-assembled it on several occasions to watch it balance and notice what happens in myself as I watch it.
I found something in that morning of light-hearted activity that got my mind turning and I put a call out of Facebook inviting others to join me in collaborating with the sea in making 'shore sculptures'. Despite the short notice, one local responded and brought her two children that afternoon and we continued playfully engaging with found materials and responding to the landscape. In the photographs you can see a range of what was created. Permission was granted to share the artwork made.
As expected, the sea reclaimed the sculptures as the tide came in and I find the temporary nature of the artwork quite pleasing, it almost speaks to me of rewilding, the elements reclaiming their territory. I've been down many times since, assembling new pieces, there's a joy of making something for the pleasure of it, and leaving it there, wondering if someone will come across it and how they will respond to it before the water finds it.