On New Year’s Day 2020, Birds of Firle – a single edition, handmade book – was placed in the post to the first of almost 100 recipients in the UK and overseas who have committed to respond to it in words, sound or images. An exercise in slow art – and cumulative, communal creative practice – initiated by Tanya Shadrick, founder of The Selkie Press. Extracts of incoming material will be shared here, ahead of an exhibition and limited edition release from The Selkie Press in 2022.
FOUNDLE celebrates chance and connection in the language and materials of the Sussex Downs where the work was made.
Sussex dialect words carved onto an erratic stone found at Firle Beacon. A work by stone carver Jo Sweeting with writers Tanya Shadrick & Louisa Thomsen Brits. Supported by the Chalk Cliff Trust and Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft.
An essay on the project in three parts & three voices can be found at Little Toller’s online journal The Clearing, which publishes the best in new short- and long-form place and nature writing:
A found erratic boulder on a high point of the Sussex Downs becomes a touchstone for three women. Chance and skill and intent triangulate to form art: they decide to make something of this – to choose words for place from the Sussex dialect and return here to carve them.
A year-long public art project at Warnham Nature Reserve for Horsham District Year of Culture with sculptor Will Nash and writer Tanya Shadrick. Visitors to the Reserve were invited to discover the spirit of the place and to contribute words and images of their own about the flora, fauna and friends they have encountered there. Supported by Arts Council England, Horsham District Council and the Friends of Warnham Nature Reserve.
These one minute recordings – an ongoing series – are the artist’s rest-of-life response to a sudden near-death experience: an arterial haemorrhage that happened at home on a quiet afternoon just days after the birth of her first child. On the tenth anniversary of the emergency, she began the One Minutes recordings.
For two summers, Tanya Shadrick knelt beside the country’s oldest lido – Pells Pool in Lewes – to write a mile on scrolls of paper that, at 150ft, were as long as the pool. The artist, a former hospice lifestory scribe, offered herself as a genius loci: a spirit of place, quietly inviting pool-goers to think more deeply about freedom and the importance of routines, creative as well as physical.
The work – which received wide media coverage – was featured in the 2018 BBC Radio 4 show Pursuit of Beauty: Slow Art, alongside the Ash Dome of Shadrick’s friend and mentor, the sculptor David Nash.