‘step in stone’ – a multi-disciplinary art project featuring work, by fourteen leading artists -offers a unique opportunity to encounter contemporary artworks while exploring the spectacular, wild landscapes of working and abandoned quarries. Local and international artists, all with connections to the South West, are creating a series of site-specific artworks inspired by the nature of quarries and their place in the cultural and industrial heritage of the Mendips.
Opening in July and stepping up in 3 phases to its finale in October, the event will occupy 6 different venues. Step 1 starts on 8th July at Somerset Earth Science Centre, near Shepton Mallet. On 15th August, Step 2 starts at Westdown/Asham and Halecombe quarries and Step 3 will be part of Somerset Art Weeks Festival’s Momentum programme, 3rd – 18th October, at Fairy Cave Quarry, Black Swan Arts Centre and Frome Museum. Special events include workshops, artist talks and guided walks run in collaboration with ecologists from Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Save Our Magnificent Meadows project. Walks in Westdown/Asham Quarry will lead groups into stunning areas, normally restricted.
The quarries’ natural history, ecology and geology are inspiring works in surprising forms. Tessa Farmer’s installations will feature tiny skeletal, anarchic fairies, preserved insects and taxidermy. Bristol poet, Ralph Hoyte, is creating a downloadable aural word-symphony and a motion activated poetic sound intervention. Artmusic will perform ‘Echo’, a theatrical response to the rock itself and the mechanics of quarrying, in Westdown Quarry (22/23rd August) and each weekend of step 3 in Fairy Cave Quarry, tying in with family days.
A Sculpture Design Competition was recently held to engage young people in the project. Winner, Charlotte McKeown, will create her sculpture with help from ‘step in stone’ artists, for exhibition at SESC. All entries will be on show during the finale at Black Swan Arts, with the top 20 designs in a special display area. Some of the work at Halecombe will be the product of school workshops run in July with Fiona and Suzie as part of SAW’s inspirED educational programme.
Funding for step in stone has come primarily from Arts Council England/National Lottery with additional support from IdeasTap crowdfunding, Mendip Hills Fund, Somerset Art Works, Gane Trust, Frome Town Council and partners Somerset Earth Science Centre and Black Swan Arts amongst others.
Leaflets and maps will be available at step in stone venues, Frome and Shepton Tourist offices and other local outlets. For further details about step in stone or to book a workshop, guided walk or artist talk visit:
We will be unveiling a sculpture made that day by our young winner of the under 20’s sculpture design competition, Charlotte McKeown.