In June 2017 I was lucky to be one of a small group of people taken on a guided walk in a restricted zone on Dartmoor to get up close to the blanket bogs and have the ecology of the mires explained by a Dartmoor National Park Ranger and a bog expert from the Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT). The walk was organised by The Devon Guild of Craftsmen, who subsequently arranged a “Magnificent Mires/Beautiful Blanket Bogs” themed display at the Waterside Mill at Bovey Tracey.
Although the walk was in June, I wasn’t able to start creating new work until after the craft fair on the Cathedral Green – leaving me with just a few weeks for creating, printing and framing in time for the display at the Devon Guild.
The tiny sedges and moss samples were too precious to use with my usual mono print technique which would ultimately destroy them, so I had to explore a new approach so that my tiny specimens could survive to be used again and again if necessary. In the end I made pates using a combination of drypoint, photo etching and carborundum. Lots if interesting techie problems for myself to sort out – I like a challenge.
I started with tiny mini prints as a way of getting into the theme with the tiny specimens (and at the same time creating mini prints to the specifications needed for a mini print competition – three little prints are have now toured East Anglia with The Hahnemuhle Mini Print Exhibition ). Scaling up the mark-making was another fun challenge (here’s a short video) and I finished off the set of prints with a rather large statement piece that really pushed my skills and ingenuity using equipment not quite large enough for what I was trying to do.
My artwork based on the Dartmoor Magnificent Mires didn’t stop at the official end of the project. I felt so immersed in the blanket bogs that I couldn’t resist producing a few more images and some variations of the other plates. It has been refreshing setting myself some interesting challenges and working with a new theme. I expect to return to the Hedgerows in due course somewhat rejuvenated.
For a view of most of the artwork, take a look at this photo album on my FaceBook page. When I’ve discovered how to add another gallery to this website of mine, I will create a new gallery for this project.