Image: step in stone, Fairy Cave Quarry, 2015
In 2015 Fiona Campbell co-ordinated an ambitious ACE-funded project ‘step in stone‘ comprising unique artscapes in Somerset quarries as project manager, curator and participating artist, involving the community in walks, talks, workshops and a young peoples’ sculpture design competition.
Visitors encountered contemporary artworks while exploring the spectacular, wild landscapes of abandoned and working quarries in rural East Mendip. The Fourteen leading local and international artists, all with connections to the South West, created a series of site-specific artworks in response to the nature of quarries and their place in the cultural and industrial heritage of the region. Fascinating sculpture, land art, photography, textiles, painting, drawing, sound, spatial poetry and printmaking ranged from the intimate to the extravagant. A programme of workshops, guided walks and artist talks was offered to the public, in collaboration with Somerset Art Works, Somerset Wildlife Trust and Somerset Earth Science Centre. A Sculpture Design Competition was held in May 2015 to encourage young people to engage in step in stone. The winning design was translated into a sculpture in just one day with help from the artists and exhibited at SESC alongside step in stone artists’ work.
Stepped up in 3 phases over 4 months from July to October 2015, step in stone culminated in a finale fortnight as part of Somerset Art Weeks Festival ‘Momentum’. The event occupied 6 different venues including 1 working (Halecombe) and 2 disused quarries (Westdown/Asham and Fairy Cave). Black Swan Arts, Frome Museum and Somerset Earth Science Centre hosted indoor exhibitions by featured artists.
A total of 8114 visitors of all ages, local to international, visited the 6 step in stone venues and discovered fascinating sculpture, land art, photography, textiles, painting, drawing, sound, spatial poetry and printmaking ranging from the intimate to the extravagant.
In one weekend over 300 people visited the magical Fairy Cave Quarry venue.
‘Family Day was a fantastic success, really special, so many enthusiastic children, grown ups and in-betweenies enjoying the magic of Fairy Cave’. Fiona
Comments from visitors include:
‘In many years of visiting art events, I have never experienced anything as fascinating and inspiring as my visits to quarries today – especially this one.’ (Fairy Cave Quarry)
‘I have been utterly entranced by what has been achieved by this extraordinary collaborative event. The fourteen artists are from a myriad of artistic disciplines yet have created a glorious spectacle. From the vastness of the quarries to the intimacy of the Black Swan’s Round Tower, the site-specific works harmonise with their environment. Fiona Campbell and her artists have achieved something wonderful.’ Amanda Sheridan, Chair Black Swan Arts, 2015.
In 2016, the work toured to Salisbury Art Centre, curated by Fiona and Amanda Wallwork.
For further information about step in stone visit www.stepinstone-somerset.co.uk
step in stone artist research trip to Westdown/Asham Quarry. Photo by Duncan Simey
Artist Research Trip, Fairy Cave Quarry. Photo by Duncan Simey
Collaborative making day for winners, step in stone sculpture design competition for young people, 2015
Kinetic Structure made in a day by sculpture competition winner Charlotte McKeown and step in stone team, SESC
InspirED School Workshop with Fiona Campbell - students from Yrs 4, 5, 6, Curry Mallet Primary School - Wire and paper Seeds, SESC
Artmusic's BLAST at Westdown 22/8/15 - participating audience following live trumpeters
Fiona's Guided Walk at Westdown/Asham Quarry with Somerset Wildlife Trust and members of the public
Installation by Sally Kidall: Lest We Forget: is enough enough
Photo by Duncan Simey
Photographic print by Christina White: Magnificent Meadows, Halecombe quarry - ST ST697474
Pigment Inks on St Cuthbert's Mil Somerset Photo Satin Paper
Tessa Farmer being filmed by Jack Offord, Fairy Cave Quarry. Photo by Duncan Simey
Tessa Famer: The Emergence
Tufa, plant roots, insect wings
Photo by Duncan Simey, Fairy Cave Quarry
Duncan Cameron: Fairy Cave Cabinet
Steel, wood, glass, lamp, found items.
Photo by Duncan Simey, Fairy Cave Quarry
Visitors discover Tessa Farmer's work at Fairy Cave Quarry
Tessa Farmer: The Colony
Wormshell colony, crab claws, mummified birds, taxidermy thrush, wasp nest, dried frog, dried bat, dried lizard, bones, coral, insects, plant roots
step in stone documentary film by Jack Offord