foxhill, 20.10 saturday

met up with Phil (lancs wildlife trust who look after foxhill) and his working party

they worked hard for 4 hours while I darted in and out and helped a bit

this is a “mines bigger than yours” incident – sorry I couldn’t help it!"mines bigger than yours!"

I’m learning about trees and plants- this is informing the work, so the fact that I was there and could ask for the tree trunk to be chain sawed (I really want to go on a chain saw course) into specific lengths was brilliant

also some of the branches split as they were felled , leaving “wounds” that I can heal, stuff, work on, introduce my model scale..

.I found a tiny fragment or shard of broken pottery, almost like a sharks tooth- I like the way it could be 2  or 200 years old….I feel a story brewing , what teeth are embedded in this tree

this is phil -whose knowledge is boundless and always welcome

I showed him the sculptural interventions I’ve been playing with so far and it helped to show him the world of making things about the space, using it as an entry point , being inspired by foxhill. He says he sees some things in a different way after being involved in this project for a week

we talked about my sculpture by the swing and how it came about from him telling me this site had the old house, with possibly children playing in the garden….

there’s a theme coming through of play- now, then, into the future…this was very close to the site where several men have told me they used to play, with  a huge slide and swing- more of an old school adventure playground “with no health and safety” , just dangerous, exciting real fun!

foxhill friday 19

worked with a fab group from Broadfield Specialist School today- we only had about an hour but we really packed it in!

their responses have inspired me and also endorsed what I have been thinking about

here they are…

down at Foxhill

we drew with the clay, and pressed leaves /twigs/anything, seeking out special places to leave the clay, talking about what will happen, time, the weather, what the foxhill creatures might do to the clay…

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we laid out the cotton sheet for the ducks to mud print on alongside the dog prints

carrying the sheet

the tree stumps are drilled out with beautiful slit patterns- would be good to take prints from? and even make up a Foxhill fabric print, echoing the previous incarnation as site of printing and dyeing mills- tea towels?   the clay has been left

I went off after they l;eft me – into the area that used to be the old mill owners house, you can still make out traces of the old garden with some ornamental trees surviving

I was coaught by the swing some kids have made- a classic cobbled together rope & branch job.  ……I wanted to echo this with one of my woven bandage type pieces, so started stringing in a lime tree next door ….

 

swing with -bandageswing-hammock- sorry bit blurry

 

Foxhill , 18.10.12

made some work today and it felt good!!started by wrapping a tree with the cotton, without meaning to it began to look like bandageing and reminded me of some work I made for one of the Fred event in cumbria, stitching the “cracks” in the landscape back together- though in model scale and using a glue gun & photoshop to create postcards.

mending the trees! weaving, echoing the past history of the mills, thinking about how phil carries out a continual balancing act of managing the wildlife of the nature reserve and creating access for the public. cotton/poly mix

it’s just work in progress and I took it down when i’d finished, but the woven area brought forward ;lots of ideas that had bneen lurking in the background about carrying/ holding/balancing/protecting objects- like ICE!   freezing the water from the brook, big blocks of ice, and placing it on the woven bandaged sections , possibly dripping onto stained cotton, or embedding objects in the ice so they slowly reveal, drip, drop through the strips of cloth

lots of chats with , mainly , dog walkers, few kids, talking , introducing, explaining, questioning- lots of memories of childhoods sliding down huge slide made from sleepers, a big tunnel/pipe leading out of the lodge that is there no more, the lodges used to have pike, “I wouldn’t be surprised if there was an eagle in t’woods”. the dogs and kids happily printed themselves on to a long strip of the material…

took the cotton bandage strips further into the swampy area of the woods and made a couple more temporary pieces.

the bird box was lying abandoned and rotting on the ground in the swampy taped off area (nice red and white hazard tape).

 

Foxhill Bank Nature Reserve

In the afternoon i visited Sally Barker to try and get a feel for the nature reserve. As with Brun Valley Forest Park, this had a very different feel to the parks i had visited yesterday. This park is small. It is well maintained, but not manicured and most importantly of all it is not a Park. It is a nature reserve. Its treats are not in facilities within it, as with Corporation Park, but in the little gems of history, nature and environmental restoration that are dotted throughout.

Foxhill Bank Nature reserve

Sally will talk to anyone. She will not only talk to anyone, she will introduce herself to anyone. This was great for me because on a short circuit of the nature trail we met a number of people, some of whome visit every day, some who have come since they were kids, some who traveled to the Reserve each day to spend time there and/ or to walk their dogs. One man told us of a family connection to the old hose that used to be in the reserve, another of a playground area that had been built and upon which he used to play as a child.

When not talking to strangers and throwing balls for their dogs (so that Sally could carry on the conversations) we discussed possible themes and ideas that had started to come up. These included perceptions of safety and danger (in general and not just in relation to Foxhill Bank) The sue of water as a theme. The history of the park adn her encounters with groups earlier in the day (this should be in her blog)

Not being a park this did feel very different and i am starting to wonder how i am going to pull something together that will be relevant to these diverse locations nd the different peoples who take advantage of them

foxhill Wednesday 17th

down at foxhill-

met the art and craft group this morning who were busy knitting and felting. carole wants to draw a heron , she  used to go to foxhill with her kids but “not any more”, so next week we will draw a heron! everyone else comes from accrington and  doesnt know foxhill and doesn’t live near a park, sadly.

the home schooling group were full of energy , we chalked our way down the road happily

and then the kids just kind of disappeared into the wonderful nature reserve, doing their own thing. great ideas about what we can do next week when we meet – they wrote their wishes on leaves and set them off down tinkers brook. We may make some natural dyes to mark up the cotton then drop lengths over the bridge to wash away, or stain- the brook used to feed the lodges that held the water to dye , print and finish the cotton calico coming out of the mills around

wishes for the nature reserve

foxhill balance and transition

walking round Foxhill I found a bouquet of flowers pinned to a tree with a lamninated hand written message ,(couldnt read it becos I didnt have my glasses on), – clearly someone had died fairly recently and this was a beautiful , almost casual memorial., several conversations later I found out who it belonged to, he had died in prison and had wanted to come back to foxhill. This has fed into my thoughts about the project – what the space means to people, how personal , all the transitional aspects that are coming through, so making sculpture using the coppiced material that phils working group will create on saturday, the transition of the space from industrial to nature reserve, the balance….

great day at foxhill- phil, lancs wildlife trust thankyou, had a wobble about what I’m doing, and now want to have some ideas in one part of my brain and be open to the conversations i’m goiung to love with all the people who LOVE foxhill, Phil balancing Foxhill people with Foxhill nature- this seems to mirror how I need to balance the art with the discussions. And I need to keep focussed on what I Know will be good work and not be pulled by what other people think I should do – early days

Hi! i am Sally Barker

I work mainly in sculpture and installation which often involves photography and digital manipulation. I use model scale a lot, it allows control and doesn’t require big budgets, but I also build larger more architectural installations and sculpture that determine a physical interaction. I work with aspects of both architecture and also landscape, especially when they are in combination.
What recurs through my work is an interest in the complex and shifting relationships between people, place and materials. Whether in the marks we leave behind, our presence, consumption and desire for control. I like to shift focus from the intimate and personal out to the universal. I am keen to investigate aspects of identity and belonging and so seek out opportunities for making site responsive work.

Please visit my website as the images will say much more…
www.sallybarker.org

Sally Barker