A final set of studies produced in response to The Kick-About No.42 – more Clematis tangutica seed heads entombed in a hemisphere of ice, but producing some pleasingly painterly impressions and lots and lots of swirl.
The seed heads of Clematis tangutica ‘My Angel’ are extraordinary silvered whirligigs. The plant itself is a bit of a thug, quite at odds with its name, scrambling greedily for many metres in our small garden. Right now, from our bathroom window, I can see the seed heads sitting across the fence like a thick fall of snow. I thought they’d make perfectly aquatic-like specimens for the deep freeze treatment, so I picked a few handfuls and popped them in the freezer overnight. The resulting winteryness of some of the resulting photographs, snapped in response to The Kick-About No.42, probably shouldn’t have come as a surprise (given all the ice!), but in some there is the feel of blizzards and powdered snow; in others, there are shoals of silvery sea-creatures.
There is a rambling rose in our garden, which produces untidy confetti-style blooms in a tremendous deep pink with golden centres. It’s still flowering even now, though surely not for much longer. As part of my Kick-About 42 experiments, I wondered what I’d get if I plunged a whole bunch of these scruffy roses into a bowl of water and froze it, and the resulting ice-block made for a delicate, very beautiful subject for my camera. This was the moment when some really interesting transformations began, where the imperfect character of the ice produced some surprisingly immersive vistas, and the roses themselves, pale and encased, were just so old-fashioned and decorative.
An allium seed head saved from the summer gets the cryogenic suspension treatment, as I tried a bunch of different things in pursuit of producing something arresting for The Kick-About No. 42. In the space of a few images, we go from ‘paperweight’ to something a bit more sci-fi and wriggly, which is always a direction of travel I enjoy!
Some deep-frozen foliage today, inspired by the prompt for The Kick-About No. 42: a caramel-coloured leaf-tip from an Osmunda regalis, and the reddish plum tones of the Parthenocissus henryana. In its almost jellied-way, the topmost image just reminds me of a Nautilus belauensis, those octopus-like creatures with their striped shells (and the ice block proved just as slippery, as it rolled about on the table-top…).
With Andy Goldsworthy’s Ice Spiral as the prompt for The Kick-About No. 42, I set about producing my own much smaller-scale installations in the bottom drawer of my freezer.
Over the course of a few days, I foraged a number of interesting bits to freeze inside blocks of ice, including this umbellifer, a dill plant maybe, or parsnip from my husband’s allotment that was allowed to flower impressively.
The internal fractures, frostings and imperfections of the ice make for some interesting effects, not least the way some of them recall mountainous terrains.
Although the weather has turned much colder here in the UK, it’s not yet cold enough here in Whitstable for any shows of ice or snow. With Andy Goldsworthy’s land art piece Ice Spiral as the prompt for this week’s Kick-About No. 42, I knew I’d be out of luck if I was hoping to catch any ready-made installations out in the wilds.
No matter, as off into the garden I went, looking for interesting seed heads and any flashes of remaining colour, before pulling out some handy Tuppaware and a big Pyrex dish, filling them with water, then entombing my finds from the garden in ice, courtesy of the bottom drawer of the freezer.
Once released from their ad-hoc moulds, I then moved quickly to photograph the resulting artefacts, squizzing with pleasure at their magical displays of colour, light and translucency – while all the time mopping up the pools of melt water with an old dishcloth.
There’s an obvious ‘glass paperweight’ quality to these images (which I always loved as a child), a sort of 1970’s crafting vibe too. Some of the more abstracted images I went on to produce from these same blocks of ice take things in a more impressionist, less object-bound direction. I’ll be sharing these over the coming days.
Another set of preposterously colourful photographs from the echium field at Church Plantation; like something from the seabed of a storybook.
A few evening’s back, we went out to Sheldwich to see the field known as Church Plantation, with its dazzling crop of echiums. We weren’t the only people drawn to the improbable spectacle of blue, pink and white flowers, with its thrumming of bees, a young couple parked up and staging photographs for their Instagram accounts. We got there late, the sun all but gone, which meant the echiums were kicking out an almost neon-like glow, their green stems making for welcome contrasts, and the white echium flowers smattering the rolls of blue waves like foam.
There’s no way around this. I’m showing off a bit about our narrow, over-stuffed strip of garden at the back of our old narrow end-of-terrace house in Whitstable. With words by Francine Raymond and photographs by Sarah Cuttle, our garden appeared this month on the cover of the Royal Horticultural Society’s The Garden magazine. The general gist of the accompanying article is ‘look how many plants you can cram into a small space!’. Just before putting this post together, I was outside chucking lots of fish, blood and bone about the garden before it started to rain. I smell a lot like cat food now. Oh, the glamour.