Rodney Harris and a connection with rocks

Fellow SW student, Liz Nunn, sent me various links to an artist, Rodney Harris,  who mapped out the geological map of, inter alia, England and Wales using crushed rocks of the region.  This was based on the first geological map of England, Wales and southern Scotland, made by William Smith in 1815.

I loved this image most of all because of its subtleties in the changing layers which you cannot see at first glance:

Screen Shot 2018-07-31 at 18.50.44.png

I could use rocks found near my geological fault lines, crush them and make a dye using them and local flora based on my experience on the Environment and Art study days over the weekend of 28th & 29th July, 2018.

“The pigments in Harris’s print are made from rock, collected by him from all of the areas depicted in Smith’s original map, then ground and mixed with linseed oil to form a printable ink.” 1.

I am particularly interested in Harris’s process described as a Richard Serra -like verb list (1967 -8)  ” walking, searching, collecting, drying, smashing, grinding, sieving, mixing, rolling, printing; physical actions that result in ‘discovering’ the colours that appear on the paper.”

In addition to that, author of the essay on Harris, Ellen Wilkinson states:

“In transforming rock into pigment, its solidity and opacity become tentative, the translucent printed ink seeming to question the stability of the substance it originated from.” (Idem)    This ties in with my reason for using rock faults in my extended BoW project: rocks, like human beings, are the product of life’s forces around them.

“The simple act of digging reveals what is beneath, beyond that which the eye sees, and by booting a spade into soil it is possible to literally cut through time, through its accumulated layers.” (idem)

Wilkinson concludes:

“The mineral tones of Harris’s map shimmer with emotional resonance, quietly reminding us that our most precious asset – and the one that requires the most protection – is Earth.” (Idem)




2 thoughts on “Rodney Harris and a connection with rocks

    1. A hammer? I shall try to get the softest rocks i can find – there are a lot of pieces of red sandstone which are crumbling in the heat – except that the specimens I have used in my ‘fault lines’ series, are taken fro mainly agate sites & that will present its own problems. I am sure I can find a friendly farmer with a steam roller and a bit of concrete road 😉


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s