Seableed / Tidal Traces

2017 – present. An ongoing series, continuing my exploration of the littoral landscape with which I feel such a deep affinity.

Most days, as I have done for years, I walk the sands of the Dee Estuary and have become familiar with its tidal patterns, observing the frequent changes in this dynamic environment. Three small, tidal islands (The Hilbre Islands) lie at the mouth of the Estuary, within walking distance of my home and I have spent many hours here, two miles out from the shore, with just the migratory birds and seals for company.

The Estuary and north shore of the Wirral peninsula is gradually silting up, with mudflats and sandbanks continually shifting.  This series attempts to visually mark some of those moments in time, as the daily ebb and flow of water alters the landscape, and the strandline is re-sculpted twice daily.

The pieces are initially printed on Hilbre Island and its surrounding sandbanks using light-sensitive materials.  A variety of different papers are coated with a ferrous oxide solution and exposed to the dynamic elements of sunlight, sand, sediment and seawater which leave their imprint. By experimenting with the chemical mix of this cyanotype solution, fascinating colour shifts can occur, with pigments other than the traditional prussian blue or cyan appearing in the final print.

Back in the studio, the large sheets of exposed paper are cropped, sliced and selectively hand-embellished with acrylic, fibres, gold leaf or wax.