Public artist Michael Fairfax has made these beautiful instruments for humans and wind to play. These are two of the three he's currently making, each with one of my haiku carved into it.
Michael will upload the sound of the instruments at some stage. Meantime, you can see more of his work at www.michaelfairfax.co.uk
Michael, whose father John Fairfax was a poet and also co-founder of the Arvon Foundation, and I have been working collaboratively together since an Arts Council England 'Year of the Artist' project in 2000-2001 where we worked with a group of artists collectively named Genius Loci on a year-long residency at Hestercombe Gardens in Somerset.
Later we worked on a project at the Cotswold Water Park, South Cerney, near Cirencester; one of the most significant sites of fossils in the country. Devastatingly, Jurassic-era ammonites the size of cannonballs are routinely smashed to make aggregate for our roads. I've written about this in my book Writing the Bright Moment; and here is a sonnet from that time and place in my life (published in my first collection, Looking For Icarus):
iii Cotswold Water Park: The Gravel Pits
I remember the date, but not the start. I remember
the grimy Cotswold spine road, fume-filled, fast;
the roaring dust-tracked lorries; Cirencester
at our backs. The roadside verges’ foliage
choked and blasted; wild carrot, yarrow, cinquefoil
ragged by Big Mac boxes, beer cans, plastic.
A badger’s rictus. Centre of operations: earth’s multiple
hysterectomies, entrails scooped and piled for us
to try to read 160 million years before it’s crushed
for gravel. We scramble greedy with gaping
bags for ammonites big as cannonballs, as fists.
Within, the ancients said, a dragon sleeps; if woken
triggers storm. Driving back, beneath our wheels her body parts.
Thundergods roar, stake lightning through our complicit hearts.
As far as I know a short poem of mine is inscribed still into some vertebrae-like glass and metal sculptures embedded into the cycle-track along the 'Spine Road' through the Park. A different project there included a workshop writing haiku onto flags, which we then towed along the cycle track.
Michael and I also lead a fun workshop day together at Branscombe Mouth on the East Devon coast, playing with text and land art. If you fancy experimenting outdoors with us, even if you have no previous experience of writing and don't consider yourself to be an artist, click here:Branscombe Day
The libretto I spoke of in the last post is very much a work-in-progress; which is to say it remains conceptual, but will gradually take shape.
© Roselle Angwin text; Michael Fairfax images.