Blaenau Ffestiniog 20/7/17

The quarry workings look unintelligible from the ground

Inclines and what could be steps are visible amidst the waste tips, but where they are coming from, and where they are going to feels a mystery.

I stand leaning with my notebook pinned with my left hand to the top of the wall, my body weight leaning into the wall, my left hip taking the strain. A bee sucks nectar from a pale violet flower, the sun comes and goes as clouds drift overhead.

Directly in my line of sight, beyond this wall and rooftops reaching out, is a diagonal line traversing the mountain side. A path or incline?  The distance flattens my sense of perspective. The mountain is near and far (is it real?). The path appears to reach a plateau a third the way up. There are steps. Directly ahead of this terminus is an outcrop of rock. Where is this path going?

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TB

Dinorwig Quarry, Llanberis 25/7/17

The sound of bees is comforting up here on the slate. It approaches in the same way as the clank of stone, or voices in the distance. The sound is with you up here, it enters your space, it’s by your side; but its maker could be anywhere.

The bees are busy as the world turns and the sun sets. One…two…three move around me: in front; to my right; overhead; zipping behind. There is of course a connection in their industrious nature to that of the men who busied themselves up here until 1969. 

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Bees quarrying nectar, men quarrying stone.

 

TB

 

Interview with HOME MCR

We were recently interviewed by Sara Jaspen for HOME MCR about our upcoming show in March 2018.

 

MARIO POPHAM AND TOM BASKEYFIELD: FLESH AND STONE
FRI 9 MAR – SUN 29 APR

Tom Baskeyfield is a multidisciplinary artist with an ecological focus, and Mario Popham’s photographs explore humankinds’ paradoxical relationship with nature.

Flesh and Stone forms the second stage of a wider collaboration between you both. Could you tell us more?

TB: The overall project is called Shaped by Stone and examines how humans have both transformed and been transformed by the landscape over time. The first part, Strata to Streets, was based on my home town Macclesfield, where gritstone quarried from Tegg’s Nose since the 16th century forms part of the nearby streets, buildings and walls today.

MP: For Flesh and Stone, we’re shifting our focus to a much larger area; examining how the hills and people of North Wales were transformed by the large-scale extraction of slate to meet the demands of the Industrial Revolution. From various visits, we’ve been struck by the complex socio-political history of the area and how its story is inextricably linked to the stone.

How did the project start? How has it evolved?

TB: It began with a series of graphite stone rubbings that I made out of a desire to reconnect with the rurality of the place where I grew up, and to return to a more physical way of working. Around the same time, I saw an exhibition of Mario’s photographs at Cornerhouse called Enduring Growth (2014). Many of the ideas seemed to resonate with my own and, after several conversations, we decided to collaborate on a project for Barnaby Festival 2016. A number of research walks eventually led to Strata to Streets.

MP: The work in Flesh and Stone will be quite different. I’ve since switched from an old Victorian-style camera to digital, which has really loosened things up as I don’t need to be so precious about the film. There’ll also be portraits of the people that we interviewed. Tom, on the other hand, has also begun cutting into the surface of his rubbings – echoing how the slate has been manipulated through human intervention, creating both a destructive and transformative effect.

 

Underfoot

image

 

Taken from the hills

This ‘ere stone

Worked by the hands of skilled men

This ‘ere stone

Into cobbles for roads: horse, cart, foot

Crust of the earth used for its strength.

 

Then covered over…

 

All true graft done

Elegance of craft long forgotten

A hillside taken in vain.

 

Progress?

 

Masking the craft of the past with a sticky black veil?

 

But the past isn’t really gone

It simply lies still

 

Pieces of the hill pierce the dark surface

Exposed by wear

Exposed by weather

Asking whether we recognise it.

 

Taken from the hills

This ‘ere stone

Worked by the hands of skilled men

This ‘ere stone

Into cobbles for roads: horse, cart, foot

Crust of the earth used for its strength.

 

TB

 

BARNABY FESTIVAL

Shaped by Stone poster web

Shaped by Stone will open at Jack sevens as part of The Barnaby Festival in Macclesfield on Friday 17th June – that’s a week on Friday!

The following day Mario and I will be leading a walk – creative exploration –  around Tegg’s Nose Country Park (10:30 – 13:00, meet us at the visitor centre.) All welcome and no need to book. Please bring any creative equipment with you: camera, drawing materials, notebook, etc – we will provide some sticks of graphite and paper…Mario may also bring his large format film camera along!

We will also be leading a walk around Macclesfield Town Centre on Saturday 25th (10:30 – 13:00, starting from Jack Sevens.) Again, please bring materials for “creative exploration”.

The addresses are as follows:

Jack Sevens Art Yard, 23a Chestergate, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 6BX

Tegg’s Nose Country Park, Buxton Old Road, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 0AP

Follow this link for more details regarding our exhibitions and the broader Barnaby programme: https://barnabyfestival.org.uk/events-2016/shaped-by-stone/

It’s looking to be a great festival this year! We hope to see you there.

Spaces Between (20.11.15)

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Over recent weeks I have been drawn to the

 

spaces                                        between                                   stones

 

It is these outlines that define the stones’ presence.

 

The stones as separate objects,

matter removed from the whole of a hillside,

 

separated

shaped

and reconfigured as wall or path

 

One’s mind moves with the static stone

(journeying through the tributaries of air)

 Into the domain of the worker who

lay it there.

 

To he who fashioned its shape

to he who decided its fate.

 

To he who separated it from its bed

 

and lay it to season

in the howling wind

on the hill top

 

Its life in wall or path is

A temporary place to lie

for stone exists

in a completely different time-frame

to human

 

Impermanence of Permanence

 

What stories are embedded in its silica-speckled body?

 

TB

 

 

Through Stones… (23.10.15 – 20.11.15)

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                                                                                       Brunswick Hill

                           Church Street

                        Church Side

   Back Wall Gate

                                                                                                                                 Park Lane

                                                                                       James Street

                                                 Peel Street

 

                                                                                      Chapel Street

 

 

TB