When I first saw that Art.Earth were asking for people to contribute to their 30th March, very high tide day zoom symposium, I put my name forward never imagining that I would be contributing.

As time passed, I was asked 3 questions relating to the relationship I had with the tides to which I sent this reply:

2nd March, 2021

Response to Tidelines request for information regarding my interest in tides.

What I find so interesting about the tides and their effect on seaweed:

The most important aspect of tides in the English channel for me is the enormous differential between high and low tides.  A 5 metre difference that we are experiencing now is quite spectacular.  Also the speed at which they come in and go out is quite frightening to those who are not aware of it.

I used to live in South Africa where the problem is not so much with the heights of the tides but with the rip tide which nearly took my life in Umhlanga Rocks in 1982 & which I hope never to experience again.  I have also lived in Italy where the maximum tide height on the Tyrrhenian sea is just 1 metre.

We see seaweed either washed up on the beach or attached to rocks and don’t realise how strong its grip is on the rocks.  Nor did I realise the different algae that coexist on the rocks – we normally just see the bigger ones at low tide and don’t look closely at the range of plant life on the littoral.  I usually just collect the plants that wash up on the shore after a storm but the other day I thought I would collect some and the very loud cracking sound it made as I prised it off the rock really surprised me.  It also made me reflect on the strength that the sea must have to rip the algae off the rocks during storms.

Despite this strength, I am surprised to see that seagrasses can survive by bending with the tides and surges, and can flower underwater.  My aim is to conduct some research around the Torbay waters on where the seagrass reserves have been planted and why.

My own relationship to the sea and the tides:

Despite the fact that I live in Torbay, it is only since retiring that I have become aware of so much about this coastline: the variety of plant life; the existence of protected nature reserves in the waters; that the tides and storms can create such problems; that the sand can be washed away so easily in prolonged storms as we have had recently.  

I have become aware of the seagrass reserves since a photography friend of mine who worked at Living Coasts before it had to close, saw my interest in algae and told me about the reserves. He and I plan to go down at low tide in late spring to photograph the grasses.

I am also aware of the enormous power of the tide that pushes phenomenal quantities of water in and out of the bay twice every day which could be harnessed to generate electric power and make the Bay a main provider of relatively clean energy for the region.  My husband researched the possibility of generating such power harnessing the tides using venturi turbines in a wall across the Bay which made enormous sense but it has got nowhere.

Why I am drawn to this work:

I am drawn to this work because there is so much that I must learn about it.  The urgency of this is made more manifest by various practices and theories, particularly New Materialisms, about how our relationships with all things around us, like flora and fauna, plastic expressions and digital information, need to change, how man is no longer the centre of the universe.

Images to show: I hope to have some images I have made using a microscopic lens of the plant life in our bay.

Having a time space to answer questions after my chat would be fine with me.  I would also like to get to know some of the people involved in this sector.

If you feel that my participation in this is inappropriate, please do not hesitate to say so.

The last line of the replies reflects how unconfident I was about my contribution to the day.

As time drew closer, I became more and more convinced that I was in the wrong place so I asked to be removed from the participators list, but no, I would be squeezed in. Then I asked for my time to be reduced from 10 to 5 mins & that was fine.

I had a hospital appointment at 9 am & my presentation was scheduled for 12.35. I had warned the nurses that I had this commitment because there is usually at least a 1hr delay in getting my prescription. All was well in the end & I managed to get to see some of the presentations before mine.

There was a dreadful panic as the person before me, Liz Nicol, could not get permission to share her screen as the ‘gate keeper’ had gone off. When he did get back, Liz could only share her whiteboard and not her slides so she had to spend the entire 10 mins reading her script which must have been mortifying for her. I had attended the practice technical run through the previous day so I knew that mine would work but only if I was given the permission: I speedily sent a private chat to the organiser to say that I would wait if there was someone who did not have a slide show with whom I could swap! No need – they knew from the previous day that I had a slide show! Phew!

This is the page I worked from on the day. It took several days’ practising to get down to the right / appropriate content, time, speed of delivery and images:

Prompt sheet for my contribution. I also had a slice with the links to the artists I had mentioned.

I decided to take and add a few more images and I swivelled the brown tuning fork weed shot because it looked wrong slanted in that slide.

Irish moss on the brown tuning fork base and a close-up of the Irish moss.
Stone detail.

I added the stone detail just for fun.

I thought it went well mostly because I had some lovely comments:

Chat comments at the time.

I have since been ‘followed’ on Instagram by a few of the participants, and had about 9 viewers on my website.

I am very glad I participated not only because of the exposure but also because it gave me a very different experience which boosted my self confidence in this field.

It was also an excellent exercise to see what other artists are doing in this field.

Two of the artists whose work I really enjoyed were Deanna C.Lee because of her drawings, and Carolyn Lefley because of her 3D cyanotype rotating moon images. I need to get hold of her to see how she does it.

Great EPIC day which went on from 8am to 10pm! Quite a tour de force on the organisers’ part! Terrific!

4 thoughts on “Time Water

  1. I’m so pleased it went well for you and your photographs are wonderful. I like your idea of that visual prompt sheet; something I’ve never thought of.
    I hope the event has been recorded and will be available for viewing as I’d love to see your presentation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Catherine. The prompt sheet evolved as I rehearsed what I thought I was going to say. The problem was finding where I had to go to next! It was recorded but I don’t know when it will be available. I will let you know when I hear.


  2. So pleased you wrote this blog – unfortunately at the event I was called away just as you were to speak. So disappointed. This is a fascinating read. Thank you. Generally it was an excellent day and you should be so proud to have contributed and enjoyed. Best wishes V.

    Liked by 1 person

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