ovate, undulate

January 2022

For almost a decade now, I’ve been supporting a small and local family-run business during the autumn / winter period as they prepare for their season. Wylds Farm are the Hampshire based purveyors of festive joy and also Christmas trees which come in all sizes and many varieties.

Not only photographing for them, I also donate my progeny; all four of them have, at one time or another, worked a Wylds winter and therefore are now proud and veritable Wylds Things like myself.

This season it was the turn of the younger pair of elves to head to the farmyard. My youngest and I share a birthday and worked it together on the day, lugging log loads to feed the burners and braziers within the barns and shop.

This winter, there has to date been very little crump, crump, crumping sounds as we’ve barely witnessed any frost or snow. Though I did sneak out at daybreak to capture Jack’s beauty crystals across our garden on several occasions.

Beautifully crafted woodwork chimes with me. I had the pleasure of capturing two Hampshire-based artists and their respective biggest, behemoth pieces to date in the last month of the year.

Oli Carter is a cabinet-maker and his most imposing and impressive rustic cedarwood table will by now be in its forever home but, at the time of photographing it, was cunningly sheltered from the snow within a protective polytunnel which we jointly shifted to reveal the enormity of the planed and jointed surfaces. They smelled so incredibly good! I had to clamber up onto the container roof to grab the whole length in frame. The ladder rungs were well worth it.

Alison Crowther’s gargantuan ovate, Uovo, her most uncompromising piece of work to date, is phenomenal to behold and we’ve photographed it throughout it’s evolution from felled English Oak to to precision-carved egg on several occasions.

My favourite image of Uovo features Alison herself. She’s smiling and the very fine lines on her cheekbone, they ripple and meander as if mirroring the gouged carve lines made by her very own hand, lines which roll rhythmically and joyously across Uovo. As the annual growth rings circle her trees. As the undulating chalky flanks of the South Downs which stretch out beyond the workshop windows.

Recent inspirations

  • vintage tins from Vintage North in Brampton, Cumbria, to store the mutt’s biscuits in
  • the music of France Gall, rediscovered after a winter film watch
  • Pendleton blankets; used to have a beauty, saving up pennies for a replacement
  • Lora Webb Nichols who photographically documented life in Wyoming from 1899 at aged 16 when she received her first camera

 

 

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