They Shall Not Rise…questions answered

Some shots of the box content about to be assembled. I will meet artist Tracy Hill on Sunday 11th March for the official signing of each box, they will then be ready to package up, and go out to all pre-order recipients. Boxes are now almost sold out.

Q: What is the logo on the front of each box?

A: The logo represents two worlds touching and intersecting, a graphic representation of the earth and sky reflected in each other , and the  land and sea meeting and conjoining, a metaphysical symmetry which must have been a powerful image to ancient Doggerlanders

Q: Why does the boxed edition consist of loose leaves and not a book?

A: This has been a deliberate decision for the last three boxed editions. It gives the recipient choice in how the cards are ordered or curated, in a way that uniquely makes sense to them.  Each text piece and image stands alone, and when the work was in process it manifested in no particular order. Loose leaves also give the recipient the chance to remove and frame images and/or texts if they choose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New edition coming soon

Orthophoto49asmallemail

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Coming soon, from Place Editions “..They Shall Not Rise Until Light Falls Upon Them..” a new sequence of text-works and images informed by the submerged landscapes of Doggerland. An aesthetic summoning and reconstruction of a lost epoch.

Texts by Eijls, images by Tracy Hill

Limited Boxed Edition with texts and artworks

PUBLICATION DATE: TBC

More details of the format and presentation for this edition will follow soon. Please visit frequently for updates. Enquiries to: whitelineBN@aol.com

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The Outer Silver Pit

 

Walk and surround

amongst ash teeth, birch graves
laid down in full view

fugitive sanctuary

earthen fort besets
wet figures in a scene of constants

this sheltered isle, a mast of shores
allied with frost and furze
and dark conifer trails

here memory enters in
amidst the shimmering wind and larksong

a stark cradle of hills

and only the river is an absent guide

wings and colonies – transmitted scent
gaining on the waters

lingering migrations divided sky
wings intricate, interlaced, scattered like glittering arms

galloping across storms in shamanic trances
on tideline strands

solitary intrusions on diminishing horizon

circles and pits, collars of ramparts and lithic gateways

now littered

on the fire-plain creeks and fleets
an edge place now damned

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The Outer Silver Pit is a west-to-east valley in the bed of the North Sea. Its widest part is 125 to 175 km (75 to 105 miles) east of Flamborough Head in England. It is between the Dogger Bank and the ridge dividing the northern from the southern North Sea basins, which runs between Norfolk and Friesland.
There is a theory that the Outer Silver Pit was part of the valley of the great ice-age river Urstrom, during some of the Ice Ages when the Scandinavian ice did not meet the British ice, leaving the North Sea bed with open drainage northwards.

 

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Three New Projects 2017

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It has been a while since the last post, so best to announce some news of three projects  which have been gestating over winter, and now forthcoming this year. After much discussion and persuasion (on my part) with artist Deborah Westmancoat, (Westmancoat.com) we have finally agreed on a collaborative project together. This project conjoins elements of Deborah’s “Ancient Scent” residency in Ireland, and my own “Placing the Mark, Marking the Place”, based upon my Placements series.

I created a text, “Small Rite at Gartan Lough”, which was split into fragments and pasted on nine small boards to which I attached found natural elements. This text will never be seen in its entirety, except by myself and Deborah, and so takes on elements of a private and very personal ritual for us both.. a transaction with the land, an oblation, an offering, to ancient places. Deborah kindly took these nine pieces to Ireland and placed them at significant ancient sites around the country. She in turn will collect natural elements from those locations, send them to me,  and I will make a textual response, and hopefully create work from it. There will be additional documentation, and accompanying images and texts, and we intend to make an edition (and possibly exhibit) together later this year.

Deborah’s work resonates with me, as she makes visual works using water chosen at specific times, or with specific qualities to  mix with paint or natural pigments. A kind of alchemical exchange, the transmutation of base materials into sublime works of visual and conceptual art.

Release Date: TBC

The second project  is relatively new, and is yet to be named. It will also feature a collaborative visual/conceptual element with visual artist Tracy Hill, (tracyhill.co.uk) whose conceptual works centred around mapping and landscape I find utterly fascinating.  I am currently working on text pieces inspired by the submerged landscape known as Doggerland, which spans the coastline of Norfolk, and northward towards Northumberland. This inundated landscape is a repository of archaeological riches, once the homeland of an ancient culture now frozen in time. What is now known as the English Channel was once a field of plains and woodland which then became flooded during the great thaw after the last Ice Age. This might have been the equivalent of an aquatic Pompeii, in which people, animals, plants were slowly subsumed by the encroaching ocean. This project also takes into account other deluged mythic landscapes off the coast of Britain. I wrote some time back about the lost land of Cantre’r Gwaelod – The Lowland Hundred, off the coast of Wales, and I remained intrigued by the lost island of Hy Brasil, reputedly sitting off the coast of Ireland. Could it be that these mythic lands were the vestiges of actual landscape that became submerged at the same time as Doggerland? There is physical evidence to suggest this might be true, yet the folk memory of these places still lingers in the oral tradition.

Release Date: TBC

The third project will be a small collection of text pieces and photographic images informed by the funerary landscape at Flag Fen, provisionally entitled, “A Spoken Ark”.

I visited last year, and this is another example of a landscape and human culture submerged, preserved, held in some form of stasis over the centuries..I was captivated by this site, its atmosphere, its ambiguous history, the compelling objects bequeathed to the waters by Bronze Age settlers in the area, each offering being broken or damaged in some way. I wrote about it on this blog, https://placefieldnotes.wordpress.com/2016/03/27/flag-fen-funerary-landscape/ and it inspired me to work on some texts dedicated to the Fen and its people.

Release Due Date: June 2017

Visit frequently for updates and edition release dates, and also Facebook: Place Editions

A companion essay to my work and research on Doggerland has been published online by Unofficial Britain here

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Afondhu

2015-08-05 10.48.33

Afondhu 

limited boxed edition with 13cm x 13cm card inserts, texts, photography, found objects

Published:  TBC

Afondhu, is a compression and corruption of the Welsh name for “river” – Afon  (in fact the River Avon literally translates as the River River), and the Old Celtic name Dhu – “black”, translated here as “Black River”

The inclusion of the word “black” as a toponymic prefix invokes images of the dark, mysterious, enigmatic landscape that succeeds it. Over many years I have visited and walked such places, the Black Mountains, Black Clough, Black Coombe, etc,  all at certain times and in specific conditions emanating a dark, mercurial imagery. Yet upon further investigation, it seems that the very meaning of the word black has an uncertain etymology.

In “The Old Straight Track”,  Alfred Watkins notes the abundance of “black” place names, and asserts that black is a word of “difficult history”.

“… It seems to come from the word blake or blac, which even in Anglo -Saxon days meant “shining, white, pale”,  and which root has given us “bleach” and “bleak”…” 

Watkins makes further reference to the slavic element , “blag”, meaning “blessed”, or “light-given”. It might then be inferred that these places had no association with the word black with reference to darkness, but were perhaps sites of special religious or spiritual interest.

Further into “The Old Straight Track”, and following on from his preliminary research in “Early British Trackways” , Watkins hints at possible links between black places and early coal-routes,  and then due to lack of circumstantial evidence, ties them to possible beacon sites, or forms of ley-sighting points, on which beacons were lit.

Two decades prior to Watkins the pioneer scholar of toponymy, W.H. Duignan, noted an ancient farm known as “Black Lees” roughly three miles south-west of Cannock. He stated that ‘Land covered with gorse and heath was locally called black land, as distinguished from cultivated land’ (this also occurs in Northumbria, ).  He goes on to describe ‘Blake Street’, which was ‘the name of an ancient road forming a portion of the boundary between the parishes of Shenstone and Sutton Coldfield, and the [then] counties of Stafford and Warwick.’

Duignan, like Watkins,  posits the notion that ‘blake’ and ‘black’ share the same etymological root.  The country around Blake Street was heath land until the mid-eighteenth century and was therefore ‘black land’. He notes that another ancient road, also called Blake Street, once a portion of the great London to Chester road, formerly went over Cannock Chase between Brownhills and Hednesford and formed a manorial boundary.

Discussions on the origins of the ‘black’ place-names relatively recently resurfaced in the pages of Current Archaeology. This started when Ruth Richardson published a letter, stating that she was researching field names in Herefordshire, that could be indicators of Roman sites. These tend to leave distinct discoloration of the soil; indeed, in France Roman sites are known as terres noires. Richardson suggested that Blackwardine and a blacklands field name in Lugwardine are both linked with known Roman settlements. Extensive enquiries revealed similar examples in Gloucestershire, Leicestershire and Warwickshire.

Some issues later, Carole Biggam asserts that the Old English blaec can mean either ‘black’ or ‘dark’ and cites the opinions of the author of the English Place-Name Society volume for Cheshire, J. McN. Dodgson, regarding the Willaston and Saighton Blake Streets. He interprets them as a ‘black, perhaps dirty, paved road’. Biggam also argues that blac, meaning ‘pale’, is rare in place-names and that any apparent associations with French blanc are coincidental.

These toponymic disputes have brought us no further progression from Watkins’ own uncertain attributions for black places. Perhaps he was wrong to link black sites with OE blac (pale, shining) but OE blaec (dark, black) is an equally valid description of a beacon site.

Excerpted from “Afondhu” limited boxed art edition, by B G Nichols, 2016

Enquiries: whitelineBN@aol.com

 

 

 

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River Placement

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An assemblage of seed heads, allium, thistles, grasses. Taken from the edgelands of Barnes Meadow in Northampton, to be re-situated after a storm at the source of the River Avon, near Naseby, Northamptonshire.

With this assemblage, I have added a kora incantation – “river courses into cloud, raw, elemental, a mighty arc, wild, ashen, fielding intangible narrow throat- sweeping, scouring.” from a new text piece entitled Hyperborea.

Following on from work recently published as Laments and Incantations, this assemblage of seed heads is the completion of a cycle..returning words to the landscape that begat them. Here they will decompose, and re-seed the land at the source of the river.

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The Ammil

The Ammil

Above – detail from The Ammil, text works in progress, entitled Site Composites, a study of landscape elements,  B G Nichols, Place Editions. Text sourced from A Perambulation of Dartmoor, by Samuel Rowe, 1848. Revised and reprinted 1896.

Ammil, from old English ammel, meaning “enamel”

Rowe commented on the singular appearance of a spectacular ammil event in January 1868 that covered the length and breadth of Dartmoor, and it was quickly announced by moor-folk that “the ammil was on”. The only known document of this event was written by Mr J N Bennet of Archeton-

“..the ammil continued for two days and two nights. The effect of the sun shining upon this coating of ice, every point on which the eye could rest, giving forth prismatic colours, dancing and sparkling in the breeze, was beautiful beyond all description. A holly tree, between Princetown and Tor Royal, full of leaves and berries, was an object of wonder and delight to all who saw it..”

Probably the most famous ammil was that of March 1947 which has become known as ‘The Great Ammil’ which is described in Harvey’s and St. Ledger Gordon’s book – Dartmoor, p.199:

For two months white Winter had allowed his artistry full scope, as displayed in fantastic snowdrifts and frozen waterways, but the climax came with light rain, falling with the thermometer well below freezing point. Every bush, tree, sprig of heather, bracken frond or reed, every rail or post, each inanimate object, was sheathed in ice as though in a glass case… The tors, usually stern and grey, now stood like mighty glaciers, towering above a tumbled sea of crystal. Under the cold bright sunshine, each wooded combe of the foothills was a shining wonderland where great trees stood, as if rough-carved in ice, and nothing seemed alive or real but the chill wind which rattled the branches and now and again brought an over-weighted bough crashing down to snow level with a roar like falling masonry.”

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LEAF ASCENDING, New text works 2015

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LEAF ASCENDING

The central vein

the swollen base

a secondary axis

the proximal portion

paired scales, spines, glands

a separate blade

embryonic shoot

united by filaments

adnation of stamens

anthers connected

a whorl of carpels

the cavities located

an additional structure

an umbel, a corymb

meeting along the margins

an inflorescence

Anemophilus – wind pollinated

accessory structures

describing the arrangement

Immersed, indehiscent

opening at maturity

growth ascending

falling away after its function is completed

bending downward

of two different forms

occuring on the ground

living in rivers or streams

flowering before the leaves emerge

like a rosette

growth patterns

roots that form another

accessory buds

cork, phloem, vascular cambium

shortroot

distinctive stem

earlywood

spaces between nodes

an extenstion of the cortex

scandent

terminal scale bud scar

a strand of wooded fibres

Blade see lamina

calyx persistent

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Copyright BG Nichols 2015 – word-assemblage, sourced from selected publications relating to plant morphology. From a series of new text works, commencing August 2015

I recently completed reading “What a Plant Knows”, by Daniel Chamovitz, Oneworld Books, 2013. This provided the impetus for me to think in a new way about plants. We perhaps barely comprehend the mechanisms that allow them to follow sunlight, eat insects, respond to sounds, feel pain, how they locate themselves, how they remember, how they respond to the seasons. It became obvious to me that plants have more in common with us than we could possibly imagine. The line of separation between species is finer than ever.  This world beyond our normal perception is at once revelatory, visionary, arresting, and thought provoking. With that very much at the forefront of my mind, I began exploring and experimenting with text, not as a poetic response, rather a more arbitrary, stochastic, impressionistic prose. A field of images, flashes, word -trails, which might endlessly combine, and coalesce, a gathering of energies – text as alchemy, word as DNA, a discursive summoning of new forms.

” It appears to me that certain attributes of mind, as it occurs in Man, are common to plants…”

William Lauder Lindsay, 1876

“..the oaks and pines, and their brethren of the wood, have seen so many suns rise and set, so many seasons come and go, and so many generations pass into silence, that we may well wonder what ‘the story of the trees’ would be to us, if they had tongues to tell it, or we ears fine enough to understand..”

Maud van Buren – Quotations from special occasions

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