Tag Archives: Cley

Green pebble update

Thank you everyone for your suggestions about my green pebble.

One suggestion comes via Sarah Waters who serendipitously read my post just before her brother-in-law, a geologist, came to visit. He says: ‘This is possibly a piece of Cretaceous Green Sandstone. The green colour is from the mineral glauconite which forms in shallow marine environments. This is quite a dark one. It is about 100 million years old and was formed at the height of the dinosaurs dominance of the planet. It almost certainly was washed into the sea at Hunstanton, where a thin out-crop reaches the sea, and moved along the coast by a process of long shore drift to Cley.’ So thank you Sarah for passing on the information.

Even more, she sent me a map of the geology of Hunstanton that shows where the pebble would have come from. It probably originated from the bright dark green area down the right hand side of the river at Hunstanton. See the map below.

So I think that little mystery has been solved. It has pleased me no end to get all your suggestions, and I have made this special pebble a little bag out of a fold of waxed silk that is just translucent enough to see its form and to glimpse a hint of its colour. It will live with the growing number of other found objects and their made containers that are presently multiplying down in the studio!

Green Pebble

A couple of days ago I picked this green pebble of the beach at Cley. It caught my eye because of its colour – I have never seen one like it here in Norfolk. I’ve had a look around on the internet and in a couple of pebble books that I own but can see no reference to a green beach stone. What can it be?

I’ve seen pebbles of a similar colour in Iceland at the edge of a glacier – but they had lots of little holes in.

The soft, but definite green, is similar to the roof tiles of some 1920’s houses – I wonder if it could be a sea worn tile fragment?

Serpentine rock from Cornwall is green, but I think this is too pale?

This pebble has similar qualities to other limestone on Cley beach – I wonder what type of rock it is and where it comes from. Any ideas?

Cley/Clay

Cley Beach, February 27: Unseasonably warm weather – the car thermometer tells me it is 16 degrees C.

Clear blue sky, clear blue sea.

A pale blue sea haar obscures the horizon so that sea and sky become one.

Gentle NW wind with a slight nip.

Lazy waves

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It is only about an hour after high tide, so I have to walk along the top of the shingle ridge. Just below, recent big tides have dragged the stones down the beach in huge arching wave patterns to reveal the sand beneath. The incoming waves fill the pebble curves as they break, and it is obvious how their dragging action has shifted the stones to draw sweeping arcs right along the beach. In places, higher, dark shadowed ridges run parallel to the pebbles. Here, the sea has worn away the loose top surface to reveal the clay bed underneath.

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The name, Cley-next-the-Sea is a corruption of the Anglo-Saxon word Claeg or Clay, and today the clay is truly next to the sea. I am surprised to see thick veins of white clay running through the usual red and looking closer I see that the red clay is also tipped with grey.

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I have no camera or sketchbook with me to record this but sitting on the shingle ridge with the sun on my back I imagine a cloth, rubbed with a slick wet mixture of soft clay: a deep dark terracotta red merging into softer yellow/white – textured, red and luscious. Walking back to the car across the dyke I decide to drive back to the beach and collect some of the clay with which to colour a piece of work. I pick up just enough red clay and white clay to colour one cloth. I don’t take any of the grey clay and now that I’m at home I’m beginning to regret it.

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This morning in the studio I draw some lightening quick sketches, ideas for a possible clay-ed cloth. I wonder what it will be…..?

Sea sponges

The beach – Cley-next-the-Sea – this morning.

Nearly high tide – strong waves.

Cloudy sky with the suspicion of sun.

Wind coming from the west and is on my back.

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Ironically I was thinking about what I might write about next here on the blog. I am working on something at the moment but I’m not quite ready to reveal all yet! (but I do put work in progress photos on Instagram if you are interested). As I walk on this shingle beach I always keep a weather eye out for an interesting pebble, so my eyes were, naturally, looking just in front of my feet. Almost immediately I spotted a softly yellowed ball of sponge, and then another and another. Looking up I saw more and more of the yellow sponges scattered right along the high water line.

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They are the empty egg cases of the Common Whelk (Buccinum Undatum) and are routinely found all round the British coast. Their common name is Seawash Balls and in the past sailors would have used them as sponges for washing.

Whelks gather together to spawn and they lay their eggs in small lens-shaped pouches which are glued together in a spherical mass. Although each pouch contains about 1000 eggs only one or two eggs hatch as the unhatched eggs are used to feed the first hatchlings. Once the eggs have hatched (or been eaten) the empty mass floats away and is washed up on the beach.

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I pick a ball up. It is heavy. Normally when I find these sponges they are white and papery dry and so light that they dance up and down the beach, blown by the wind. This Seawash Ball is waterlogged – not dripping but dense with water. It looks fresher and less desiccated than ones I have seen before and I wonder if the power of the recent big tides could have dislodged a whole mass of eggs from their laying grounds and deposited them here on the beach?

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Walking on along the high water line I find more objects washed ashore by the unusually  big tides. Wood …..

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(I would have brought this bit home but it was too big and too heavy) and several rusty things ….

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This bit did come back with me.

I wasn’t expecting to find something to write about this morning but you just never know what you may encounter. There is always something new to be noticed and experienced – that’s what I love about this place.