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During the spring and summer of 2018 a tour was undertaken around the Sussex Landscapes referencing the villages and towns that are linked to the first evidence of clay being dug formed into vessels and fired. As at the Neolithic camp at Whitehawk, through to the rural potteries creating Eighteenth Century Sussex Ware. Communities that dug their local clays and formed their vernacular pottery to celebrate harvests weddings christenings and deaths. The tour aims were to communicate to various audiences the experimentation of clay and kiln, celebrating custodians of our landscapes and create a new collection of pots that hold a story of a past turning towards a future.

Over several visits arriving at a chosen location digging the raw clay and forming a simple vessel from the ground, stones and inclusions were held in the pot form. Each pot formed was titled with the provenance of it’s clay and the map reference of the firing. Linked to the site of the excavation and firing at chosen organisations, individuals that have an affinity to the land, that inspire hope in the future of our relationship with our environment and communities.

Carô Gervay has collected moments of the visits with photographic experiments in time and light, the kiln placed in the environment with the firing, a time based experiment in a raw tradition of experimental alchemy.

Text courtesy blackShed gallery, 2019.

For this work, I experimented alongside Martin by photographing with 35mm, 6x6 medium format and paper pinhole cameras, all of which I later processed and printed at the Gate darkroom. In the exhibition at the blackShed gallery, the frames were painted with the locally dug clay, providing a range of natural hues that created an edge for the black and white photographs.

 

With varying results, I used pinhole cameras with an exposure that matched the time of the firing to embrace the experience of time and transformation.