Biologically impossible, I know, but my Dad has always called Richmond Park his third lung. If you live close to London and spend much of your time struggling with the volume of people, the traffic, the fumes and all the other things that living near a big city involves – as well as all the great bonuses such as galleries, events, courses and so on – then having Richmond Park on your doorstep is a truly wonderful plus point. I treasure it so much and its conservation is of considerable importance to me.
The inside of this vessel is decorated with images which remind me of the life in and around the brook.
It was with that thought in mind that I arranged with the park manager to make a few pieces using material from the park and selling them for its benefit: 50% of all sales proceeds is donated to the Friends of Richmond Park for their use in conservation projects. Having sold the first one at Kew Gardens during Handmade it was with great pleasure that I presented the Friends with a cheque for £300. In response they posted a link to my website in their newsletter and on Facebook. The result has been dramatic! I am enjoying peak viewings on my website and have had a number of requests for similar vessels. Given that I am short of work ready to sell during the Open Studios, which starts in less than a week, I had already decided that I would keep my space as more studio than gallery and would make Beverley Brook vessels throughout the weekend, as a kind of ongoing demonstration. It seems that this is a good plan because, if activity and enquiries are anything to go by, I am going to need a couple!
A new Beverley Brook vessel is already under construction.
At the moment I have one, slightly smaller one which is half finished so it looks as though I am going to be a bit busy before, during and after the show and that the coffers of the Friends of Richmond Park are in for a boost.
It has been a while since I checked in on the work being done on our new home and so I was really excited when I arrived yesterday to find that, despite the apparent devastation, the corner of my studio has already been mapped out: particularly as it seems as though I might have space to get my friends round for making days – the space is about 4 times as large as the half studio which I began with only five years ago when I shared with Regina and we each squeezed into our part of a small space at Wimbledon. Whilst I had seen it on the plans and knew how large it would be, now it is actually appearing on the ground this new space feels as if it is going to be sheer luxury!
Its going to be sheer luxury!
Possibly even more exciting was the activity around the other side of the house. We had rather expected that the crumbly shale close to the road extended down the hill and that, when we knocked down the existing terrace to make way for our bedrooms on the lower ground floor, we would have a major underpinning job to do. So it was with huge relief (and much cheerful patting of our wallet) that we discovered that the builders had dug straight into wonderful, glutinous, golden yellow clay. Not only does this make to construction of the extension easier – apparently this is really good for building on – but I can hardly wait to get making now: my very own clay pit! It seems we need a large scale geological map of this place so we can find out exactly where the change occurs.
My very own claypit
Of course I was always going to create something from whatever came out of our foundations. After all, that is what I do. But now the opportunities are immense. Whilst I am not sure that I can make enough use of this clay to solve the issue of removing a few tonnes of material around (and away from) the site, I have been spent most of the night dreaming of the experiments that I can do and the pieces which I can make from Watersmeet clay.
And as for landfill: well we have been drawing up plans to use as much as we can within our boundaries so watch out for a series of terraces and steps to get around different areas of the garden in order to enjoy our amazing view from various different angles.
Where can we put all this subsoil?
Invitations to come and stay in Cornwall for making weeks will be forthcoming ‘drekly’!