At the Littoral

Pinning down the Spirit of Place

Ephemeral images of peace and tranquillity shaped by a landscape in daily flux are here translated into delicate and contemplative pieces of contemporary bobbin lace.

The Littoral, where land meets water, has attracted humans for millennia; our ancestors saw it as the gateway to the next world. Marshland where I walk daily with my husband on the edge of Christchurch Harbour has supplied the soft and fluid inspiration behind my experimental work for more than two decades, but now my focus has narrowed. Chance-met images help me capture its Spirit of Place.

Transitory patterns of air bubbles, marshalled by the wind, may float on its surface for seconds or minutes before changing or disappearing. But they will return another day when the tide seeps up through the salt pans, in a new but familiar form, symbols of renewal and constancy that remind us to celebrate the inconsequential beauty that nature provides to enhance our lives.

By exploring how lace can preserve patterns created by the constant conversation between sun and wind, tide and temperature, liquid and solid, I juggle with the medium, stretching my ingenuity but feeding from the joy of discovery. Trees at the margin have suggested foliar hangings that treat grief and solace, our circumnambulation in familiar but ever-shifting landscape daily feeding the soul.

On Location

Stanpit Marsh, which lies at the confluence of two rivers, the Dorset Stour and the Hampshire Avon, in Christchurch Harbour, has a human history dating back thousands of years.

Regularly flooded, treacherous in winter and parched in summer, it might seem a strange place for people to live; but a Mesolithic flint scatter bears witness to the fact that some have. The causeway we walk dates back to the Bronze Age; when winter floods take over, the ruin of the nearby Beaker barrow is about all that remains exposed.

Rootling for flints, we found Tudor roundshot. Wildfowling and smuggling brought more recent ancestors, and now it’s the haunt of birders and botanists, under council stewardship as a major migratory stop-over.

Striding across on a sunny day, exchanging smiles of thankfulness with other visitors, you know that all is still right with the world. More details can be found at friendsofstanpitmarsh.org.uk