More playing


When I make things I often do so obsessively, repeating things over and again until I have what I want. I’m sure this is a throwback from doing hours of flute practice in order to be able to play notes and to get techniques perfect. I’ve been making more samples that have been coloured solely with materials that I have collected from the ground: sea-coal, clay and chalk. I’ve tried grinding the ‘pigments’ to different sizes, experimented with heavy, light, loosely woven and tight textured cloth and fiddled around with different percentages of linseed oil and beeswax to make the binder. I now have enough samples that I’m happy with to enable me to start on the fun bit ….. the construction and putting together to see what is possible.


I started simply by folding one sample over another or placing eyelets on top of one another or wrapping a piece round an edge. Just to see what would happen. I tried many combinations.


I love the blend of coarsely ground chalk and the creamy waxiness of the binder …….


and here there was an especially thick layer of wax that cracked on a fold. It’s very fragile, but is food for thought.


This was the last sample I made, and to use everything up I threw all the last bits of grindings into the wax pot. The result is surprisingly good.


These eyelets have been rusted with sea water before having a coating of the wax mixture and a trace of sea-coal.

I’m finally happy with the arrangement of each piece so now I need to sew them together. But I’m wondering! These samples are small  ….. I wonder how they would look big?


8 thoughts on “More playing

  1. Chris Ruston

    Really wonderful – feel like I can smell the sea! I look forward to seeing how they develop.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Marian Roberts

    Very intriguing, love reading about your working methods, thanks for sharing your images.. Enjoyed seeing your work at Cley.

  3. Damsonlily

    Bit of a lurker on your blog, Debbie, having only fairly recently found you. Not commenting much but enjoying every posting very much. Thank you for being so generous with your ideas and thoughts.
    I am tempted to agree with your idea of ‘big may be better’. I can almost see the scaled up pieces already. Dramatic.
    However there is another thought that that is enjoying these small fragments very much. Tiny reminiscences of what has gone before. I like that concept of something small capturing the essence of something much, much larger.
    Would there be practical problems working large scale on this? I am thinking of the weight of the cloth and the wax. Not to mention all the grinding!

    1. debbielyddon Post author

      Thanks for such a thoughtful comment! I agree with you about the small samples. Small, ambiguous works are always intriguing and can give a hint of another time and what has gone before. I may well develop these to make a large work composed of many small pieces. On the other hand, a large, enveloping cloth could tell an altogether different story…..? Debbie

  4. Pingback: Debbie Lyddon – research (stage 2) |

  5. Jillayne

    I’ve been working with small sampling a lately and so I am especially drawn to these small fragments – they hint of the whole, like an allusion. What I have loved about your chalk, ground and cloth work is the integration of the land, especially in such a physical way. The colours and the texture, the roughness of it all are beautiful – it’s simple, yet not.


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