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Papertrails: art in the landscape in Elmbridge

February 2007 – February 2008



Today I am preparing for next week's work at a school. I like to get the organisation and logistics very well organised so that I can concentrate on the creative side of things when it comes to it. Yesterday when I met the staff again to discuss arrangements for the week we looked at images to use as starting points, things like leaves and seed pods to examine structure.

For the rest of the day I am going to work on papermaking. I am making a 'book' over the course of the year. One page for each day of the residency and I need to prepare some more paper. On Friday a friend, Noel is coming over to the studio at St George's Church to show me some bookbinding techniques. A skill I never thought I would need. This year I seem to be learning new skills every week!


This afternoon I am visiting Hurst Park School who are basing their art week on the Papertrails project. I am looking forward to the week but we need to sort out some of the practical, organisational side of the art week. Claire Barwell, the visual arts co-ordinator has seen quite a lot of my work but the other teachers will need to be shown a little more about the project.


The first Open Day. This was a lovely day. Lots of visitors and so many interested and positive comments. Many people have asked for papermaking workshops and have declared an interest in returning during the year to see how the project proceeds. Typical comment: 'Lovely to see something like this happening in Elmbridge.'


The Official Launch event went well with lots of interest and enthusiasm. It was good to see the church full of people from the Deputy Mayor Cillr Dane, the Vicar William Albury, Teachers from Hurst Park School and many others including artists, friends of St George's Church, curators, Trustees from R C Sherriff, John Vigar from The Churches Conservation Trust, Alison Clarke, the Visual Arts Officer for Surrey and all those who have been involved from the begining and have given such good advice. Special thanks to Loretta Howells, Maggs Latter and Veronica King.


Off to Coronation Rec to look at a site for school Art / Environment Day with Simon James. At first there seems to be nothing ‘natural’ about the place just football pitches. It’s cold and wet and very open. Then looking closer there are some trees there like spilt ink. Twisty wonderful shapes. The bark is patterned and textured with lichen.


Over the last couple of days I have been collecting samples of colour from the commons. I am fascinated by the different colours of the soil. I have been using it to make pigment. My studio is full of little pots of (literally) earth colours from Arbrook Woods, Longy Down, a meandering walk to Five Ways and on to Black Pond.


I am going to spend the next few days on research, photography and drawing, And planning the course of work for the first couple of weeks.


Back at St George's Church . It occurs to me that the area that I am working on in the commons is where I used to play. We would explore and make maps, navigating with a cheap compass, making trails and finding paths. More papermaking.


It's admin day today, but I have managed to sneak in some papermaking. I am making some very dark almost black paper to use in a piece of work at Black Pond.


Near Black Pond there is an area with dark lines of trees beyond long, pale, winter grass. The soil of the path in front of that is the same black as the trees. I want to make a piece of work here that responds to this pattern in some way. Although I had intended to make work that sat lightly and scattered drifts of hovering fragments across the landscape, I find that I am very attracted to the idea of working with the colours and textures of the soil and bark. Perhaps it’s the winter light.

I have been staining / painting paper with dust from the church. It is tiny fragments of the soft mortar that binds the stone and flint together. It’s like the essence of the building. I’m going to use this for my ‘book’ piece.


The first day. I went to the studio at St George’s Church. It’s a beautiful space in a beautiful building. My space looks very empty like a huge sheet of paper waiting for something to happen. My equipment and materials are arriving tomorrow but I felt it was important to come here to mark the start of the project. For the rest of the day I am making paper ready for the next few days.






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