From humble beginnings explores the materiality of clay in this temporary installation in the woodland at Watts Gallery. The project draws from the use of clay extraction for building materials from the seams of clay that stretch for miles across the Surrey Hills. Using a mixture of raw and fired clay, the work is intended to evolve over time, exposing the viewer to the different stages of using the material, observing insights and interpretations of the making process.
The clay seam installation stretches around 30 feet, rising from the floor to a peak at the centre in reference to drawing clay from the earth and using it to construct. The narrative sections of the piece begin with the unearthing of clay and its changing states when exposed to ‘weathering’ through moisture hydration and dehydration. The clay is then drawn from the ground and manipulated to a vertical wall of mathematical bricks and tiles that interprets the influential Surrey vernacular building style – an important language of place, that has developed over time to accommodate the values, economies and cultures that produced them. The final section recedes back to ground level. The seam becomes fragmented, referencing deterioration and documenting a history of the changing landscape.
Using a mixture of raw and fired locally-sourced Weald clay, the work is evolving over time, exposing the viewer to the different stages of using the material, observing insights and interpretations of the making process. It also demonstrates the simple construction capabilities of familiar geometric units formed by simple moulds.
This installation will be on view throughout September in the Limnerslease woodlands at Watts Gallery, Down Lane, Compton, Surrey GU3 1DQ.
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Steven Edwards is an emerging artist based in Surrey. His work explores the materiality of clay – both in how it records mark-making during the making process, and the context of the ceramic object in the space and cultural time where it was created.
Steven’s background is in both ceramics and graphics. The cross over between the two disciplines is evident in his work. He is currently studying for an MA in Ceramics at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham.