The path crosses over other chalk paths on a ridge and down through some beautiful beach woodland before moving up again through secret valleys and rolling hills with wind shaped trees. Everywhere there are birds and butterflies and then a walk up past a Hawthorn tree through a field of singing larks.
The Downs are full of life. There are lots of rare wild flowers, Chalk Hill Blue butterflies, buzzards and larks, and they remain an agricultural space with sheep and cows grazing, and crops of oilseed rape, wheat and barley.
Basketmaking is an ancient technique and in the making of baskets I am repeating and reinterpreting these old ways like walking ancient ground.
Then through a village and farm buildings and onto the first of many chalk paths leading up past fields of wheat full of swallows and poppies.
The Downs are covered in Iron Age hill forts, Neolithic long barrows and areas of Bronze Age terracing on the slopes. Stories of ancient peoples accompany me on my walks and the possibility of finding a flint arrowhead, especially near the newly ploughed fields.
I started my walk through parkland with a line of Lime trees covered in flowers in full bloom. The smell was lovely, the smell of summer.
A few days ago I dyed some more raffia. I mixed blue, yellow and red Procion dyes to recreate the greens and yellows and oranges of the downland landscape.
A project for
My work for this exhibition is based on a walk through the South Downs. I am interested in exploring the sights, sounds and smells of a particular summer’s day – the geology, the history, mapping, and the artistic representation of the landscape. The act of walking, thinking, dreaming and remembering merge. For this piece I am using coiling, a method of joining soft materials such as grasses.