A LONG HUNDRED
As part of Somerset Art Weeks Festival 2019, I will be showing A Long Hundred, an installation of sculptures and drawings in a medieval fishery building near Glastonbury.
Having spent the last 6.5 years exploring the history of the Somerset peat moors, A Long Hundred will bring my artwork full circle, exhibiting it back in the landscape itself.
The Fish House
“Gloriously alone in a field.”, the Abbot’s Fish House is the only surviving monastic fishery building in England. Built for the Abbots of Glastonbury, it stood on the shores of Meare Pool, a large freshwater lake surrounded by raised peat bogs, where prehistoric lake villages were discovered in the early 20th C.
This beautiful, empty stone building will house 120 charred wooden sculptures, each the size of a Somerset peat block. Traditionally peat was sold in a “long hundred”, meaning 120 pieces or “turves” (this was a practical amount to store and keep a cottage fire well fuelled). For my exhibition, a long hundred of sculptures will fill the Fish House, creating an installation that will echo the history of peat cutting in the local area.
Ashcott Plot Pines
The turve sculptures are being made in collaboration with Natural England, using pine trees from Ashcott Plot nature reserve. Planted by Edwardian land-owners, the pines were felled last autumn as part of Natural England’s mire restoration work. The trees will be milled into blocks and transported to my studio, where I will char them to resemble peat turves.
As well as the turve sculptures I will make large peat pigment and charcoal drawings, using rolls of Somerset paper which will be hung in the Fish House. The exhibition will open on 21st September, and will be open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for three weeks during the Festival period.
The development of A Long Hundred has been supported by a Bursary from Somerset Art Works, who are also funding the milling of the pine trees. The exhibition has been made possible by English Heritage, who own the Fish House, the Look family who own and farm the land, and Natural England's generosity in supplying me with such incredible material to work with.
Despite the wonderful support from these organisations, I need additional help to fuel the creation of A Long Hundred. This crowd funder aims to cover the exhibition expenses – my transport costs, van hire, installation equipment, art materials and small fees for assistants (who I will need to help with installing and invigilating the show).
For almost as long as I have been making work about the peat moors, I have wanted to create pieces to exhibit in the Fish House. This is my most ambitious art project to date – I have never worked on such a large scale before, or in such unique building!
I hope the exhibition will bring a new audience to the Fish House, celebrating the the past and present of the peat moors with this site specific installation of pine and peat.
I would be incredibly grateful for any support you can give.
A Long Hundred
The Abbot's Fish House, Meare
Somerset Art Weeks Festival 2019
Open 10am - 4pm
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 21st September - 6th October
 Nikolaus Pevsner, "Somerset: South and West"