Silver and sludge

As part of my research for an exhibition I’ll be holding next year, I am exploring some parts of the Thames that I have never visited before. The biggest gap is the Thames Barrier, which has been open for 30 years and while I’ve lived in the same city all that time, I had never seen it until last week. It’s a stunning sight, a series of silver sculptures gleaming in the late afternoon sun. Hidden away in a tunnel by the water is a delightful surprise – a profile of the entire river, from Thames Head to Sea Reach, by artist Simon Read, showing all the locks and tributaries.

Having visited the source of the Thames a couple of months ago, I felt a sense of amazement that this was the same river that began in a dried up pile of stones. Here, the river is surrounded by grinding conveyor belts delivering sand or sludge – the river is working hard. Over the coming months I am going to contemplate everything I have seen, and through drawing and print-making try and arrive at an exhibition.

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