Solo exhibition, 2006 ‘Path – Towards the Iron Well’
An Tuireann Arts Centre, Portree, Isle of Skye
I’m aware that people from this area have a strong sense of belonging here; a deep bond to the place which I don’t have. I find it hard to say where I come from.
Looking at the land and seeing the history of human habitation in traces left on the surface; then there is a sense of connection; that by walking the land we are linked to it and to the people who have walked there before.
The cumulative effect of footsteps on a route opens a way through a terrain; joining communities to each other, facilitating communication. It’s an activity fundamental to humanity because it’s about mutual survival.
The pathways fade with disuse, along with the memories of their purpose. I started taking pressings in clay of particular points along the way, and using these to form pots, portraits of a specific moment in time, in order to witness the changes.
In January 2005 Skye experienced a hurricane which destroyed the road along the shore and blew down huge numbers of plantation trees. Overnight a track known as the ‘peat road’, was obliterated. It was one of the old routes onto the hill, now it exists only as memory and as a clay pot.
In its simplest form the material I use for my work is the ground I walk on. Working on this installation has been a journey for me creatively and personally. It worked on several levels and the ideas became clearer and less complicated. It is the process of change which interests me. The installation was the simplest figuring of the process of change which I could visualise.
Patricia Shone, Isle of Skye, 2006
Whilst developing the project I wanted to use ideas of collapse and change, of the balance between human intervention and processes of nature. The final design was more about process through time – a material left to do its own thing in its own slow way whilst we watched. There was a tangible tension viewing such a pure and pristine surface which some visitors were unable to resist. Curiosity and self indulgence ensured that the piece became very much about human intervention, as fingerprints, footprints, scrawl and smudges appeared daily until the surface dried a bit. Nature also intervened as seedlings germinated, insects crawled across the surface and moulds bloomed.