Pollution “Earth”


“Pollution is embedded in our environment and in our life.”

“Pollution Series – “Earth”  97 x 64cms Woven 2023


Read More About "Pollution Earth"

This is the second tapestry in the series entitled “Pollution” and concerns both the visible and invisible elements of the contamination of our earth. It comes in many different forms and from many sources, it occurs continuously throughout the day and night, and through the seasons of the year. It is accumulative over time offering unknown hazards in the future. This gradual incremental amassing may or may not be visible to the human eye. It is both insidious and cumulative. There is natural sudden release pollution from volcanic action, ash from forest and grass fires, from floods and tsunamis, and decomposition and decay. Human activity from vehicle emissions, the use of fuel oils and natural gas  and by products of manufacturing aid the creation of acid rains and global warming. Sewage and garbage, are considered a major sources of contaminants.

      The fundamental shapes I am using in this design are from curving, fluid, and flowing elements. The movements of slurry, oils, and scum on the surface of moving creeping water, of rivulets of sand and earth, of eroded sedimentary rocks and strata have been incorporated in much of my past designs. These curving forms express movement and hence passing time and aid the eye of the viewer to wander around the whole design, leading from one area to another, from colour to colour.

      Rene Magritte, the Belgian Surrealist painter, commented:

      “ The barrier between day and night is both gradual yet it dominates the environment. It is a moving element – not a straight line but a curving linear statement.”

      P.B Shelley’s poem of 1816 “Alastor” or “Spirit of Solitude” harkens to change and passing of time.

     “When night makes a weird sound of its own stillness

      Like an inspired and desperate alchemist.”

    I am also reminded of the thought provoking work of Andy Goldsworthy, artist, sculptor, and photographer who uses natural materials in his exploration of the passage of time. His site specific installations encourages a greater awareness of the role of human activity with our changing environment.

     With a background of greens, representing the verdant healthy growth of the landscape the interjection of strident colours embody the pollution that over flows and despoils the environment. The addition of the colour black, focuses on the unseen, the invisible, the unknown pollutants, ever present and contaminating.

      I am weaving this piece in the spring of 2023 in order to experience the energy, the exuberance of early growth of trees, grasses, plants, and the whole gamut of foliage. The tints and tones, the shades of greens, from acid to velvet hues emphasis the future, summer is coming. These countless green palettes are interspersed with early blooms and dappled touches from the early morning light. The intermingling of colours and the associated  surface manipulation through the weave structure help to express a healthy ecosystem.

    It is against this background that we see the creeping, rolling, flowing pollutants despoiling the earth. From sources known and unknown, of materials, chemicals and detritus known and unknown they seep continually, silently, and soundlessly. The effects may be instant, they may be slow, they may be dramatic and intense, they may not be visible for days or years but the consequences, the outcomes are inevitable. Pollutants take many forms but the overriding elements are that they are alien and detrimental to our harmony with the earth’s environment. It is on this premise that I have chosen to highlight them with strong, bold contrasting colours. Colours which emphasise differences, conflict and differentiate from the more harmonious natural world. As a further contrast note the inclusion of the darkness, the blackness and the unknown.

     The use of multiple horizons is a device I have used previously to focus on the ever changing horizons as we move through the landscape. This is so noticeable when walking the fells when one horizon gives way to another and another! Beneath these horizons is the circle or content symbol that is the Sun. The Sun has set and gone below the visible skyline. Although we can no longer see it and the sky darkens experience tells us that it will return after lighting another section of our world. The addition of this focal point helps to emphasise the passing of time and that the design embraces and involves the whole of the daily cycle.

     Above, the clouds separate like curtains to reveal a coming change and emanating from the horizon and rising upwards have a hint of further pollution. Not the clear, clean blue skies of our optimism and expectation but a hint of foreboding and apprehension. The strong, vibrant colours of pollution are inserted, and incorporated into the clouds and sky above the earths curving horizons. They linger and hover silently before slowly descending to earth. This “unseen” pollution from the skies plays its role and adds to the overall damaging effect.

    Thus, the scene is set, we as viewers are witness to cause and effect, we are guilty of much and many instances of polluting and contaminating our environment. And as witnesses we must strive to educate and encourage all to make the effort to respect, value and appreciate the untold damage and harm for which we are responsible.