Monday, 17 August 2009

Making marks in Angling Spring Woods

Last week I went to Buckinghamshire to spend the week with my Mum. While I was there it was a good opportunity to visit my 'local' woods to explore the environment as a source for my work. Early on Wednesday morning I went for a walk to Angling Spring Wood. I feel a special connection to these woods as I have known them all my life. I found I was racing towards the woods, and had to make a conscious effort to slow myself down as I walked through the field.

While walking in the woods I took several photos with the pinhole camera and tried to find an inner stillness in order to make a creative connection to the place. Mature beech woods have such a distinctive quality of space and light; so open, yet covered and protected.

I also came across some of the big chalk pits that are common throughout the woods around Prestwood, which I remembered running through as a child. They seemed massive when I was little, but they still seem pretty big now and it took quite a bit of courage to decide to run down one again. Perhaps it was even more exhilarating as an adult, it certainly gave me a rush. I wanted to make a mark in response to this, so I collected some charcoal from a fire someone had previously lit in the bottom of the pit and started trying draw on some paper. The rough ground meant that the paper just tore, so I decided to make a mark directly on the ground. Starting nervously but building up to using the sweep of my whole body to create an arc shaped mark on the ground. It felt good to do something so physical in response to the place; letting go of my inhibitions. As a more permanent record I made a few quick drawings in my sketchbook using the charred stick and took these photos. I also noticed the forces of nature creating their own more dramatic marks on the woodland floor (bottom image).


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