Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Michelham Priory Gatehouse

I'm just back from the opening of Michelham Priory's latest feature, an exhibit from ESAMP bringing together aspects of medieval; life, craft and industry; on information panels and a variety of physical activities to get involved in! drawing, rubbings, timber joints, cooking recipes and floor tile puzzles. It was an absolutely beautiful day.

To kick things off there was an introductory talk from Sussex Past about new works going on at the site and the importance of providing visitors with a variety of avenues into the material, rather than just papering the walls with text! This happened in a wonderful Elizabethan barn.

Here's a picture of the interior, during the set-up, amazing roof beams.

Some pictures of the interior of the gatehouse; the tables and benches, made with hand tools and activities dotted around the room, really prevent the room from being a transitory experience and just looked fantastic.

ESAMP had commissioned me to do illustrations for their information panels. It was a really fun project to be involved with, I've longed for a reason to do some medieval style illustrations and this was exactly what was requested. Here is an example of one of the panels with its activity, timber joints.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Neroche, Quarries

This is the final illustration that I made for the Neroche Scheme. It shows two types of quarrying evident in the Neroche landscape:

On the left, quarrying of blocks from limestone pavement, just below the surface soil. The jointing of the limestone exposed at the surface must have made it easier to quarry, these can be seen today as shallow, overgrown trenches.

The drawing on the right, shows a marl pit. Before modern fertilisers and in addition to dung, marl was spread on the fields to improve the soil quality. Marl pits were not used indefinitely as they could flood relatively quickly, they are often seen as ponds today. Their shape is normally defined by a shallow sloping ramp down to the quarry floor, the working face would normally mushroom out from this, sometimes described as a T shape.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Walking Through History

Tomorrow, (Saturday the 13th) one of my illustrations will be on TV! It's an illustration of a park pale that I did for the Weald Forest Ridge Project. The programme sees Tony Robinson rambling around in East Sussex, looking at iron industry, mainly.

Obviously I was super excited to have my work used in this way, Tony Robinson and Time Team really opened up the subject when they first started broadcasting. You can catch the programme on Channel 4 at 8:30 or online.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Neroche, Medieval Village

Here's the Second of the three illustrations that I did for the Neroche Landscape Partnership Scheme which is of a medieval village.

As usual, the main challenge was to make the features which remain prominent today, prominent in the drawing. This is why the fields are quite bare and grassy, to show off the ridge and furrow system. Also slightly exaggerated, you can see how the tracks and pathways are all very sunken, eroded; The product of all that farming and thoroughfare. The houses are on comparatively raised ground because detritus would build up around them, rubbish heaps piled up nearby and the houses themselves rebuilt; perhaps once every generation, upon inheritance.

To see what I mean, please just check out some of the beautiful aerial photographs that have been taken of the sites of medieval villages.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Typical Medieval Village House

This is a drawing for colouring in! that I've just finished for ESAMP. Copies will be available at ESAMP's new exhibition at Michelham Priory Gatehouse which apparently overlooks England's longest water filled moat. I'm guessing that means,filled for the longest time, as I've paddled around it in a coracle, surprising some extremely overweight carp and one even fatter pike! and it didn't take too long. Then again, I could be wrong as it is the only moat I've paddled around on.

Simple recipes for medieval fare will be printed on the back of the colour-in handouts.

Thursday, 28 March 2013


The Neroche Landscape Partnership Scheme covers the Northern area of the Blackdown Hills, in Somerset. They recently had some LIDAR work done to help understand the archaeology of the area. (LIDAR is explained in the way in which I understand it, at the bottom)

I was kindly asked to produce a few illustrations to help furnish a toolkit to aid with "ground truthing" (my spellchecker wants me to say trotting, which I think I prefer!) the LIDAR. Images to help visualise what we might be looking at, or looking for, given the clues from the LIDAR.

Here we have an Iron Age Hillfort, a flattened platform atop a steep sided hill, rimmed by a bank with a palisade and a ditch. Cutaway in the corner is an example of a double ditch and bank.

From the air this seems a pretty defined structure but it is a little hard to appreciate from the ground, here are a couple of pictures I took of hill forts while down in Dorset, last year.

Pilsdon Pen, not much to see from this angle, looking uphill some way below the fortifications.

Here at the summit, it is like an open field whose edge is the horizon. This view really benefits from the lack of trees and scrub at the top, as you can see some collapsed earthworks around the fringes.

This final picture was taken at Coney's Castle. You can see what an impressive feature the bank is, considering especially that it runs all the way around, along the contour of the hill. However, you can only see a small part at any one time as it forever curves around on itself.
LIDAR helps discover archaeology by shooting lasers from the sky, that's all anyone really needs to know.

LIDAR is a technique used to scan the landscape from an aeroplane, flying back and forth across a large area, to create maps devoid of trees and other ephemeral obstructions which allow us to see the underlying detail of the land; trackways, streams, barrows, many features small and large, but normally obscured. Basically, lasers are shone from the aeroplane and the returning beams are interpreted as as 3D point-cloud.

If you flew over a field with a tree in the centre, the point-cloud would look like a big flat sheet made of dots, with a group of higher dots in the centre. So, things like trees can be defined as areas where the points jump up suddenly in concentrated areas. Filtering these spikes from rest of the information and covering the dots with a skin, gives you something resembling what the ground looks like underneath, have a look!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Christmas Animation

Check out this lovely animation made by Rohan Wadham and the Catfish Collective, for Lapland UK.

Figures and the majority of illustrations were done by Caio Bracey and Helen Schroeder.

If you watch as far as the teddy bears, they're mine! So are a few other bits and bobs, but the teddy bears are my favourite. It's definitely a privilege to see my work contributing to an animation like this.