Thursday, 21 October 2010

Preliminary Drawings

A couple of drawings waiting to be painted; a park pale, and an example of ridge and furrow type ploughing.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Drawing Exercises

After re-reading John Ruskin's The Elements of Drawing I've been feeling the need to work much harder on improving my scribbles. If you haven't read it, its a fantastic book full of wonder (and despair, for the student artist). I quickly gave up folding over the corner of any page containing a memorable adage, you would have more luck trying to find a single one lacking in a wise quip of one sort or another.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Neolithic House

I was asked last year by East Sussex Archaeology and Museums Partnership, to provide a cut-away illustration of a Neolithic house based on known examples, of roughly square plans of postholes, with rounded corners. You can tell from this how little we have to go on when trying to understand the material culture of the past! Although I finished that some time ago a reconstruction is now underway which I'd like to think makes the illustration somewhat current again.
The building is being constructed for Moulsecoomb Primary School in Brighton, if you click on the link you can see how far they have got and what an amazing thing it is. The project should be finished in the Spring of 2011.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Woodland Archaeology

Here is another of the drawings for the Historical Environment Awareness Project. This one may be going out on a leaflet in conjunction with a photograph of the site of some real mine pits in the project area.
This one was kind of fun because the features actually still look kind of the same today as they would have done in the past, like alot of the earthworks I suppose. Simply; a hole/shaft is dug, and when the minerals are reached the shaft is widened at the bottom end like the inside of a bell. That kind of mining produces what are specifically called "bell pits," not an enviable job I imagine! Anyway, alot of the spoil would have been supposedly chucked back in the pit afterwards, leaving a ring of spoil and an indentation in the middle.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Woodland Archaeology

Over the past few months I've been developing a series of reconstruction illustrations to go with a set of archaeology toolkits planned as part of the Historic Environment Awareness Project. It's been a really useful time for my drawing practice; working out where to place figures on a stage where actors are far less important than the set, and of course learning vast amounts about various archaeological features. Various partners of the scheme as well as the project officer and county archaeologist have provided feedback on the drawings as they progressed, so they have undergone a series of permutations with an aim to chisel them into as accurate and relevant form as possible.

Anyway, the latest batch of working drawings is going off tomorrow and here is one of them; It's a charcoal hearth (or platform), that is the earthwork on which the wood is stacked. The platform is cut in to a slope and the spoil pulled out to form a level hearth.

As for a brief description of what is going on in the picture; Cord wood (that's regular lengths of seasoned wood, as opposed to "a cord of wood" which is 3.62 cubic metres of dry wood) has been stacked around a central flue which is held in place by a big post called "the motty peg" which itself surrounded by what looks like a Jenga set with all the middle bits taken out (obscured in this picture). Wet hay is heaped over the structure, followed by turves or riddled soil which will inhibit the flow of oxygen into the kiln. When all is ready the motty peg is removed and hot embers dropped down the flue which is then sealed at the top with more hay and turf, then the real work begins!
I have only done this on a small scale kiln, it took a group of about four people most of the day to set up so I imagine that using these traditional methods on a commercial scale must have been exhausting, regardless of the fact that you are required to basically stay up all night tending the clamp (this is a clamp kiln) as cracks and leaks can occur due to the intense internal heat and changes in shape - a charcoal clamp can shrink to as little as a third of its original size! Though I imagine this would be even less if you were inattentive and the whole thing burned to cinders.

Monday, 8 March 2010


I have a deadline coming up, so this is a combination of procrastination and a response to checking up on the blog of my friend Toby Atkins. Anyhow, welcome to my brand new blog.