Last Autumn I completed an excellent online course - Inspired by Nature with Tara Axford. One of the course elements involved using a gelli plate to produce mono prints. This is a process which enables very fine detail and textures to be created. I have made prints from some of the objects and textures found along the shore.
Rather than faithfully reproducing a particular view, my aim has been to capture the essence of the place as I have experienced it during the winter months. The resulting prints therefore become infused with memories and emotions.
Some of the prints have been selected and placed into small books. I have chosen the concertina structure as it is sympathetic to the subject matter. The books are tactile objects where the folding and unfolding pages mimic the movement of the water and tides.
The estuary is indeed a dynamic place. Having walked the same path for a number of weeks, no two days have been the same. The walks have covered the period of Lockdown,- from midwinter through to the Spring equinox. The soft light, and subtleties of winter are already starting to change as the days lengthen. I see these works as being firmly routed in this particular time.
"Here the land, water and air meet; here we have the ebb and flow of the ceaseless tides...of such eternal change - the struggle and competition for existence"
Joseph Conrads description of the Thames estuary (from Heart of Darkness)
"Always the edge of the sea remains an elusive and indefinable boundary. The shore has a dual nature, changing with the swing of the tides, belonging now to the land now to the sea."
The Edge of the Sea Rachel Carson
The strand line is a freshly drawn mark stretching away into the distance. Refreshed and redrawn each day by the new tide. It often consists of a line of pebbles, broken up with dark bladderwrack. Usually larger stones rest on one side, while lighter pebbles tumble down the shore as if they are unsure whether to stay on land or retreat with the tide. It would seem their journey hasn't concluded just yet.
Textures are all around. Lower down the beach are scoured channels etched in the sand by water filtering its way through the grit. All these beautiful textures come into their own in low light when the deepening shadows reveal their subtleties.