Natural Sound…

Natural Sound…

I spend the last few days in Pembrokeshire, right by the sea, listening to purely natural sound, perhaps the odd tractor of a nearby farm.

Natural sounds that I became aware of were the wind, birdsong, waves, water ‘licking’ rocks in the sea as water spiralled in a seesaw motion around them.

Every now and then when the path dipped low inside the land, the sound of wind stopped…momentary stillness rising…birdsong and the watery rhythm gaining clarity.

These sounds have something soothing, even the wind whilst up on a cliff.

Absence of human activity.

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Moving between two materials…Light…Sound…

Moving between two materials…Light…Sound…

Over the last few months I found myself quietly drawing away in the early morning hours.

At times in total silence with my focus on the light falling on a black sheet of paper.

Initially I drew with the big lights in the studio switched on as this was during the winter months a logical thing to do to actually see what I was doing at 7am.

I started feeling energised by the way the graphite dots and scribbles added up over the page, much freer than the architectural drawings of 2017 in conjunction of ‘Passing Light’.

I sometimes drew to music, ‘bangers’ by Four Tet or ‘abstract’ spacious pieces by Brian Eno/ Nils Frahm/ Simon McCorry/ Ceeys to mention but few.

My thoughts and feelings became slightly confused to what I am doing, felt mark making, exploring the qualities and interaction of graphite on black paper.

As I created a rhythm to my practice, returning to the black sketchbook every morning my connection to the process grew into a little more knowing and the wish to explore new discoveries round the corner.

Moved by silence or by the music I travelled with my imagination around forms, spaces trying to capture something of time, perhaps like a time lapse that captures where the light has been a moment before and where it might be heading.

Few times through these months I felt focused and safe enough to switch off my thoughts and trust the process as it unfolds.


I want to compare two drawings, themes they have in common, where they differ.

‘Tectonic Shift’ came after a long stream of immersing myself in the drawing process mentioned. I remember the day this drawing unfolded, it happened with ease, I trusted the process enough to go with it. Forms that come up in my drawings…arising here without me feeling I need to get this right, I purely reacted to the impulses that came up, feeling the need to put the pencil down lightly and by doing so moving and shaping light around form. I felt the timing was right the drawing made sense, what manifested itself on the paper matched my feelings and yet I don’t understand it to this day which means it makes me still feel curious.

Months after ‘Tectonic Shift’ and a feeling of being lost that often paralysed me to actually want to draw anything I settled for that I was not sure anymore if my drawing is really anything to do with light and form or if these marks that I am making are the only thing at the moment that manage to ignite a ‘spark’ in me.

Are my drawings still to do with light? Am I, by nurturing this assumption, holding on to something of the past that has outlived its energy but gives me permission to carry on regardless?

‘Vivacious Breeze’

…one morning in May 2019…arriving in my studio early, trying to draw in silence…waiting for a feeling that moves me to make a mark…the lights are off, the morning light was just fine…nothing happened but before a sinking motion stopped further pursuit…

I put Brian Eno’s ‘Reflection’ on and made the decision to only make a mark when feeling ‘it’.

This drawing is my response to the energy of the sound in this piece.

I am for now using the same materials I draw light with, graphite/ black paper.

I have been working with music on and off and can see a difference in the mark making depending on which music I listened to but never consciously switched my full attention to this difference.

Transition time!


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Ciao Pietrasanta

Ciao Pietrasanta

Ciao Pietrasanta

Quickly, I am putting all my things together this morning, I could not bare thinking about leaving last night…the train leaves Pietrasanta at 8am.

I just about manage to fill the last bits of space in my bag with freshly baked pizza for my family.

Ticket from the tobacco shop, I am nervous and don’t manage to ask for it in Italian.

The person in front is the priest who closed with a friendly smile the duomo on the day I arrived.

Closure…and yet it feels like leaving home.

There is something here that has slipped under my skin, others said the same….’this place grows on you’.

I think from what I can make out so far, it is the history of sculpture making that has lived here since roman times, a network of everything sculpture…from material to highly skilled artisanos to sculptors from all over the world travelling here, living here, working here. I can imagine being myself here and having the framework needed to realise ambitious work.

I am rushing to not feel to upset which works well until I sit down on the train and put my headphones on.

leaving PietrasantaPietrasanta station

In a cloud of music and overtired sadness I walk on the plane.

leaving TuscanyPietrasanta?

Bristol arrives under us in no time.

I will be back.

Of the how and when I am not sure yet.

Ciao Pietrasanta!

Where next?


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Pietrasanta day 7

Pietrasanta day 7

Pietrasanta day 7

So, this is really my last day working here for now. By now I am certain I want to come back one way or another to work here, life here for some time.

Going to the workshop has become a routine, I am glad I was able to focus in on some work and that is all I do.

Today I am sanding smoothing, cutting fine lines into the sphere caps by hand, I don’t question what I am doing, I am doing and it feels right, I enjoy that my head stands still and my hands and the material ask things of me that I do. I am rooted and calm whilst running my hands over this piece of marble again and again. A repetitive process that has nothing of the boredom repetition can have.

I want to align the rims today, complete the forms so they run even under my touch. Sight can not detect faults anymore, at least not for now.

Today the weather is dull and I wont be able to see if the sun penetrates the edges, I will have to wait until my return in the UK and wait for a sunny moment.

I have not yet addressed my idea to work with the gravity of this piece and again I will give it thought when I am back home.

Here are the last moments of working in Pietrasanta, shortly after this Christian wrapped the carving up fro a safe journey in my rucksack.

finishing toucheshappy with it all

Colomba invited Simone and myself to her home for her to show us some of her work, we talked about some aspects of photography, size of images and what happens when the two dimensional moves towards relief…working with restrictions and how restrictions are beneficial for work and the creative process.

A week ago I packed my things to come here, today I look back over the last few days. I am grateful for the people I met here, the conversations that happened, for everybody’s generosity. When going blindly into the world, when stepping away from the usual comforts, the kindness of strangers is powerful and necessary to survive.

When back at home I’ll remind myself that we all are strangers in most places on this planet.

I experienced the gift of openness towards me and strangers have become friends in the few days we shared together and I hope it won’t be long before we see each other again.

 shipping containers for sculptures


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Pietrasanta day 6

Pietrasanta day 6

Pietrasanta day 6

Today is a blur, I am not sleeping well, nothing to do with last nights cocktail!

Mosquitos seem to like me for their midnight feast, my legs are swollen for evidence.

It does not stop me in my track to push on with the carving, I am sure several espressos will pick me up.

I am removing everything that is not sphere, arriving close to where I want to be. Work is slow at this point as I am now working freely without measurements, using touch and feeling. I like working like this…new ideas bubble up, ideas that have no words yet.

carving after 48h

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Pietrasanta day 5

Pietrasanta day 5

Pietrasanta day 5

Starting with a walk up the hill to the walls of the ‘fort’, from here the view is stunning, I am waiting for the sun to ‘lick’ the horizon in a secret and yet noticeable way when looking away for some minutes..I am fascinated by this..when do we notice change? How fast does it has to be? How much awareness do we have to develop to follow the daily movement of the planets and stars around us? How can it be incoperated in artwork this never-ending change that holds us and gives us the feeling of being safe?

sunrise 1 over Pietrasanta

Through the night I had ideas for my carving, I want it to be a simple sketch a first impression and trying out..a form that let’s light through, a form that I can take back home in my rucksack and the flight weight restrictions.

I came up with  the design of two caps of a sphere slightly moving away from each other.

plasticine model for carving

Knowing that the next few days will be full of stone dust and noise, looking forward to it.

me in funny goggles     Barsanti studio, backdropBarsanti studio

In the workshop, Christian locates a small piece of marble, perfect for my idea.

I know that there is a fast way to carve a sphere and Christian knows the method of it.

No time to find a form I am amazed how fast I arrive at the final form.

Most of the work is done in one day, have a look what I did today.

cube to ovalfinding the diameteroval to spheres 1

taking measurementsoval to spheres 2

The atmosphere in the workshop is focused and relaxed, all of us are here to make shapes in one form or another.

The mix of people and their reasons to be here are multitude…

Christian who has been working here and as well as working on his own commissions facilitating learning for many years.

One of his students is working on a huge carving that needs lifting and relocating with a forklift on a regular basis.carving waiting for forklift

Andrea, the artisano, carving a new carving almost every day, a small sketch on the side of his easel reminds him where to carve.

Andrea's work from a sketch pinned next to the reliefAndrea at workAndrea's work from a sketch pinned next to the reliefAnnette, Simone and Angelika behind Andrea's carving of today

Simone, german sculptor and installation artist who has her own workshop here across the yard helps one of the students to make a plaster cast of her model.

Annette and Johannes from Germany are young stone masons here for their second time through a German initiative to fund the furthering craft skills.

A visit to the nearby cafe is undertaken to refuel with espresso:-).

working in the workshop

In the evening I met with Colomba and Simone…talking about Colomba’s projects and book launch in Florence tomorrow. Both encourage me to visit Florence, it sounds like an amazing place and I feel it might have to wait till my next visit as I want to complete my carving more than anything for now.

after a days work with Simone and Colomba








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