Earthed Conversations – People
Expert Speakers – Rosie Tomlinson (local history enthusiast and member of the Bedminster Tobacco Women Project), Stephen Wickham (Bristol Civic Soc), Brodie McAllister Landscape architect(general expert and experienced in siting land art installations).
Our guests helped us to understand the history of Ashton Meadows and the surrounding area. In particular we learned how different groups and generations had left their mark on the site, developing, erasing, altering and utilising what those before them had left behind.
Stephen Wickham, a campaigner for Ashton Meadows to be recognised as being culturally significant in terms of its landscaping, took us around the site, providing a window onto the history of the area and how it has come to be what it is today.
As part of the Earthed Exhibition we invited members of the public to submit their design for a 30m circle of land-art on Ashton Meadows, the green space opposite the Create Centre.
The winning entry will be mown into the long grass over at Ashton Meadows on Sunday.
A copy of the winning design will also go on display in the exhibition in the Create Centre
And the winner is…
Coming Together Mankind Earth Life Junction
Congratulations to Elena!
Second place was number 29 and third was number 13. Land artist Mick Petts says:
“All three were chosen for the inclusion of interestingly shaped paths inviting people into the area of long meadow.
The winner was chosen for the strength and clarity of the design and the combination of geometric and flowing lines”
Thanks to everyone who entered the competition and who voted for their favourites.
Earthed Conversations – Fauna
Expert Speakers – Tony Smith and Tony Cotterell from Bristol Naturalists.
Our guests provided us with fascinating insights into the small worlds that go on around us all the time, ensuring the continued survival of other species, various flora and ultimately all life on the planet.
David and Mick were joined by the naturalists in delivering a fantastic workshop to secondary school children on the site where they discovered a number of interesting bugs, plants and insects. They then had a hand at creating sculptures of different animals in the exhibition’s mud box as well as writing a number of thoughts and facts about Ashton Meadows’ fauna for a display in the exhibition.
Earthed Conversations – Flora
Expert Speaker – Becky Coffin, Nature Conservation Officer at Bristol City Council
Becky told us more about the different kinds of plants that could be found at Ashton Meadows, about the future of flora in the area and the relationship between different species on the site.
David and Mick fan a join workshop for a primary school group who really enjoyed getting their hands dirty and created some fantastic mud sculptures whilst learning more about the flora around Ashton Meadows.
Tony Smith and Tony Cotterell from Bristol Naturalists helped us to collect and discover interesting facts about a number of different plants from the site which were then added to the exhibition.
Earthed Conversations – The River’s Role
Expert Speakers – Avon Crescent resident Anna Wilson and Bristol Lock Keeper John Rosenthal.
John enlightened us on what a huge engineering project the construction of the floating harbour was, talked us through his life on the river and as a lock keeper and explained how the waters around Bristol had changed over time. Anna described her experiences in the recent flooding and talked about her hopes for the future of the area. She also discussed her project ‘High Water Line’ with Invisible Dust.
Earth Graffiti: Practical river-inspired mud graffiti art workshop with Mick Petts.
River Writes: Practical river-inspired site responsive writing workshop with David Lane.
The Big Dig
We returned to the dig site and uncovered even more items from the site. This time we hit a layer of clay-like group and made some interesting discoveries.
At the end of the day we all sat down to enjoy Earthed Reflections where Mick Petts and David Lane selected the discoveries, questions, creations and quotations that inspired them most from the second day of the Earthed Weekender.
Earthed Conversations –
What Lies Beneath: Soil specialists, geologists and archaeologists in a conversation on all things earthy.
Expert speakers: Julie Dunne, PhD Student, Bristol University, Organic Geochemistry Unit
Wesley Dixon – Structural Soils, Graduate Geotechnical Engineer
In the morning Archeologist Julie Dunne explained how Ashton Meadows formed and how archeologists look for people as well as artefacts.
“Archeology aims to dig up people as well as artefacts” she told us, as well as asking “How do buried objects define our identities?”
One of the statements that many present picked up on was the declaration that “We shape landscape, landscape creates us”
She also reminded us of the time frames that archiologists have to deal with and that the human experience is but a blip on a much larged historical landscape, “the rock below Ashton Meadows formed in warm shallow seas 350 million years ago”.
Wesley Dixon, a Geotechnical engineer then explained complex sandstone formations and the importance of different processes in creating the different colours and textures in the earth around Ashton Meadows.
People were particularly taken with the idea of an Ooid, which are formed in some limestones called the ‘Oxwich formation’. It consists of a nucleus ‘rolled back and forth’ in be various processes.
He noted that Ashton Meadows only shows trace elements of human contamination. Most samples contain mainly natural elements and components.
He also noted that pictures of dinosaurs standing on grass are all wrong! There was no grass back in the day…
Earthed works: A practical site-inspired earth sculpture workshop with land artist Mick Petts.
Earthed writes: A practical site-specific writing workshop with writer David Lane.
The Big Dig
We rolled back the turf and dug down to reveal the hidden layers of earth and time beneath the surface of the meadows.
We were also joined by Ed Drewitt for a naturist and wildlife detective public walk.
That’s it folks! The trench is dug, cabinets are ready, the tent is turfed, all the scribbling, sticking and scraping is done. We’re ready to kick off the Earthed Weekender tomorrow morning with the first of our Earthed Conversations, ‘What Lies Beneath’ where soil specialists, geologists and archaeologists join in a conversation on all things earthy with our artists.
There are workshops, self-led activities, and of course the exhibition itself, on all day so drop by the Create Centre and see what’s happening.
Till tomorrow then,
The Earthed Team