I have been visiting a number of local Museums recently to view their Natural History Collections - among them The Sedgwick in Cambridge, Saffron Walden, and Colchester Natural History. Each visit I have left feeling inspired and amazed at the time scales for some of the exhibits.
The Sedgwick Museum brochure sums it up beautifully when it states a walk through the Museum
"will take you on a 4.5 billion year journey through time, from the meteoritic building blocks of planets, to the thousands of fossils of animals and plants that illustrate the evolution of life in the Oceans, on land and in the air".
It can be difficult to get your mind around the vast ages the collections represent.
However these visits have sparked a number of ideas which develop my fascination with Earths history. My starting point has been the humble ammonite. An abundant easily recognisable fossil, the ammonite is found in most fossil collections (and in the museum shops!) The exquisite spiral shape is appealing visually and as a symbol of time moving backwards into the distant past, and forwards into the future. Ammonites are said to symbolically represent the journey of life, death, and rebirth. and are considered to have absorbed the knowledge of the Universe.
I am interested in exploring the link between the "heroic age of geology", when exciting discoveries were raising questions about the origins of life and combining this with the symbolic associations of this ancient life form.
With a working title 'The Great Gathering,' a series of books in the form of an ammonite are under way. My intention is to make seven books each representing an 'island of memory',which capture significant moments from earths history.
Some of the work will be on show at Turn the Page, Artist Book Fair in Norwich on 1st & 2nd May.
Ammonites from the Sedgwick Collection.
work in progress...