Slowing Down To Make Art
When I visited Santiago de Compostela, the town at the end of the famous pilgrimage across Spain, I was amazed to see a pile of walking sticks on display. They conveyed the adventures, experiences, perhaps even the thoughts, of all those individuals who had undertaken a long walk. It brought home how the everyday act of walking is also completely special; life changing perhaps.
In this work I've tried to harness the modesty and directness of those materials [the walking sticks] with the meaning they inadvertently carry. My artistic pilgrimage has taken the form of many years of collecting materials on walks and cycle rides. I limit my finds to sticks and stones that come from specific places: rivers, mountain tops, islands, lakes, and holy sites for instance. When you see a colour in the work, you are looking at a piece of rock, often from a distant place, that has been ground down to powder. When you see each piece of wood, each has a unique colour, texture, and shape, that has been formed by its journey across river and ocean.
The pleasure of walking seems to be that we make special contact with the world when we slow down to walk. In my practice I slow down to make art. It takes time to collect the materials, and it takes time to grind down stones in a pestle and mortar. It's a peaceful process. Its hopefully when the alchemy happens!