My Iceland collection has expanded and this is what my work table looks like at the moment. I have made some more plaster reliefs, but you will also see that other found objects have crept in.


Flints and oyster shells with holes made from boring sponges collected on the the beach here in Wells have been included in the collection as I start to make connections between the objects found in Iceland and more familiar objects found here on the beach at home. The shape and texture of the Icelandic bone fragments bear more than a passing resemblance to the pieces of broken flint and likewise the small Icelandic volcanic pebbles relate directly to the holed shells.


I make some more plaster reliefs, this time of flints, and as a direct representation they work very well. However, I want something that is more open to interpretation …. something that has been created out of my own imagination and that is able to blur the boundaries between the bone/flint and shell/pebble samples.



In an attempt to better understand the shape and form of the flints and bones I draw them and in doing so I realise that the reliefs don’t do what I want them to do; their bases are too square and uniform, and the pressed forms are incomplete. I want a full 3-d form. So I try something else and enclose a flint protrusion in clay and fill the resulting indentation with plaster.


This small fragment (it’s about 5cm high) could be either bone or stone.


I make some more ambiguous fragments and feel as if they are closer to, but not exactly what I am aiming for. I think it was the producer John Read who said, ‘Art is the expression of the imagination not the imitation of real life’. I am not trying to imitate or to recreate but to make something new and to create new connections. My thinking and making continues!


5 thoughts on “Thinking/making

  1. olganorris

    It is so interesting to see and read your thinking. When I first saw your photos and trays of objects I thought of the artist Reinhard Berhens Expedition to Naboland That’s much closer to the idea of a display cabinet.
    I came across his work on the cover of a book by Peter Davidson entitled The idea of North. I am attracted by ideas of North, and found the cover intriguing too. Your trip to Iceland brought the memories more sharply into focus, and now with your drawings I’m thinking of Henry Moore’s drawings.
    Also today I received the catalogue for Barbara Rae’s The Northwest Passage which is on at the Royal Scottish Academy. I love the way that she has captured the colour and light of the Arctic landscape/seascape, incorporated the history of the explorer Rae, and yet each of the works is so emphatically her own.
    Your work is so close to sailing and the sea, I’m sure that somehow these strandline (?) finds will come to present an exciting way of working with you. After having been on your 3D textile course part of me is itching in theory to try out making a bone fragment out of stiffened cloth and then playing with the resulting holes and fluted forms. But I don’t have the right feeling for that.

    It really is fascinating following an artist’s process. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. debbielyddon Post author

      Thank you so much for this very informative comment. I hadn’t come across Reinhard Behrens and his work looks so interesting – a mixture of drawing and objects and deep imagination – I will spend some time looking at his work. Barbara Rae’s exhibition I did know about and I’m very much looking forward to seeing her NW Passage paintings and prints in London later in the autumn – I’m sure i won’t be able to resist the book as well! This project is a beginning, but already I can see I will be drawing on all materials and techniques – drawing, printing, sculpture and, no doubt, cloth.

  2. chyfey

    Im finding it so interesting listening to your thoughts as you explore your raw material and find ways to make it speak.It will be interesting to see what direction you go from here.
    Love the textures your 3d casts have on their surfaces….that aged weathered look.

  3. Jillayne

    I am also enjoying following your thoughts and explorations with these gifts left by the sea. The story behind the art is as evocative as the work itself and to watch both unfold is a treat. I also loved the quote you shared and will copy it out for myself as a reminder… Thank you for another beautiful post.

  4. Patricia

    fascinating to see the process of imagination, observation and evolving ideas – thank you for sharing these


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