OMG there’s clay everywhere!

Today I wake up to a perfect Autumn day… the sun is shining, no wind and the air is warm. Whilst I know I should go to the studio, I also know that Winter is fast approaching and I need to make the most of the what might be the last warm day of the year. I decide to take my horse out for a quick ride up on the chalk ridge that protects the Isle of Purbeck from the rest of the world. From the top, I can see all the way across Poole harbour to Bournemouth. It’s easy to see from up there how the geology of the area was formed; clearly see the spots where water has sat for millions of years; the lakes and lagoons which helped to create the lovely ‘Poole Formation’ clay that I’m collecting at the moment. Looking out onto Studland heath and woodland, I wouldn’t be surprised if I spotted a Pterodactyl or T-Rex roaming across the land, (although I’m not sure my horse would like it – he runs away from cows so I think spotting a dinosaur might just push him over the edge!). I feel relaxed and inspired by my ride and decide that today is a good day to find some more clay. I’m awaiting permission from landowners, so apart from digging up another friends back garden(!), I remember that there’s a beach nearby where clay is at surface level so no need to dig. Not parking too far from the beach and armed with a bucket and spade, (not the normal set that I’d usually take to the beach with the kids!), I fight my way through gorse and heather until I reach the coastline. OMG there is clay everywhere!! It’s in the banks where the sea has eroded the land and it’s popping up through the sand. I was hoping to find some clay without iron – here there are patches of blue/white clay with concentrated areas of iron. I take a very small amount which I’ll separate into different colours back at my studio. I also collect some seaweed and a few stones (which may be suitable for a glaze). Despite only gathering a tiny amount of clay, getting it back to the car is backbreaking! I am so lucky. This coastline is so beautiful; the landscape slowly and calmly slips into the sea; the water is still and quiet; the air is fresh and invigorating. I love that this journey is allowing me to form a deeper connection with the environment that I love with all my heart. Chop chop, I need to be at school pick up in 10 minutes!

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