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Posts Tagged ‘Hoffman Kiln’

Week One: 340 Million Years of Heritage

The first of the new, year-long Oswestry Heritage Comics is in this week’s Oswestry and Border Counties Advertizer. I think it takes the prize for the longest time-interval I’ve ever covered in a single comic. This one does, indeed, cover 340 million years – from the Carboniferous period, when the limestone and coal around Oswestry were laid down – the present day, where we are surrounded by evidence of how that distant time impacted Oswestry’s archaeology, history and heritage. This part of the country has been shaped by its geology, and it’s that I wanted to try and capture in this comic. There’s more to this story, of course: the local geology affected the fertility of the soils, the patterns of water-drainage, even the shape and form of the hills which became the border between England and Wales. If you want to see more ways the geology affected Oswestry’s history, check out the Oswestry Town Museum, which has some interesting information on local geology and geography, and definitely pay a visit to the Hoffman Kiln and Llanymynech Rocks quarry in Llanymynech.

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Tintin_character_3618I’m off down to Underhill Farm tomorrow for the Inside Out Art Group‘s sketching day. One of the things I’ve become interested in over the past few months is the use of sequential images to explore a number of different visual aspects of a single place.

Underhill Farm sits in the middle of a thousand years of sprawling industrial landscape: from a twentieth-century Hoffman Kiln to Roman lead mines. A combination of phase plans, feature illustrations and reconstructions to document and present this kind of multi-period site in an archaeological publication. Similar types of images would also be used in historical publications, with possibly other kinds of graphics such as genealogy charts or tabulations of industrial output, etc. An artist might approach the multiple visual representation of such a place through a series of prints, drawings or paintings, each one focusing on something that speaks to the artists’ particular interest and their chosen medium; an installation or landscape artist might create a work that seeks to link in various aspects, or document their own or the broader human presence within a given place.

I’ve been wondering if a “comic” approach might not lie somewhere in the intersection of these visualisations. Following my work on my archaeological field journal last year, I’m interested in the idea that comics can translate multiple viewpoints, multiple narrative threads, multiple data and visual sources into a cohesive whole. I’m interested in looking at the broader connections between narrative collages like journals and scrapbooks, and their connections to comics. I’m also interested in the way in which a narrative-based, “collage” approach to documentation better parallels the actual experience, process and practice of working in the field. And finally, I’m interested in developing ideas both in relation to archaeology, and in relation to other kinds of field work.

So, something I’ll be doing tomorrow is experimenting with documenting field-working practices (in this case, relating to art and artists) within a “comic” framework – thinking of narrative, panels, etc. and seeing how that all comes together. This is something I’ll be developing further for the exhibition at the Underhill Art & Wild Craft Fair in May.

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