“Ebbing tide salt marsh bottles plastic bottles balsam hogweed curlews’ haunting cry memories lapwing goosander jack-go-to-bed-at-noon moorland grave sheep skull death.”
During the summer of 2008 I walked the 70 mile length of the River Ribble, from the estuary to the source on Cam Fell above Ribblehead. The route passes close to my childhood home, a landscape that envelops me, a blanket of happy memories, swimming at Waddow, salmon leaping, bluebells, cowslips, a lapwing’s nest.
Sadly the river has become a vehicle for carrying our detritus out to sea, and its banks in places are now colonised by invasive plants that crowd out the native flora. The debris pauses in the salt marshes of the estuary and is eventually washed out to sea, into the ocean’s ‘floating landfill’ infamous for its lethal effects on sea life. My childhood memories held none of this, as I walked I brooded over our capacity to neglect and violate this beautiful land.
The work is a series of tapestries, stepping stones, marking my journey along the river. Using materials I collected along the route the making is another journey, a journey through the landscape and through time, a reflection, a reminder, and a celebration of the lovely Ribble landscape.