Making Ground

Making Ground

Making Ground project

Fantastic basket maker and willow artist Annemarie O’Sullivan and I have been working for the last year on the development of a collaborative project and an Arts Council funding bid to help support it. The project ‘Making Ground‘ will be based at a disused brickworks near Horam, in East Sussex, where Annemarie grows her willow. The project will run over the course of a calendar year in 2016. We aim to source our materials – both willow and clay from this site.

I’m delighted to say that the funding has been awarded!

Read on to find out more or visit our Kickstarter project page to get involved.
[please note: our Kickstarter funding was successful and has now ended 01/2016]

Evolving ideas

On several occasions over the year I’ve visited the site, with Annemarie, for preliminary research; digging up clay samples and firing them; bringing home willow to play with and test; trying out basket weaving and exploring ideas. The land and the project has already started to take a hold on me and influence my work.


Shortly before we found out the grant had been awarded, we filmed ourselves on the land talking about our plans and the landscape we’ll be working in. We recorded ourselves talking about the project and made a video to help us raise essential funds, and to key people into what we want to do. The bits of the video with me in the frame make me feel a little uncomfortable. I don’t often like to be in front of the camera, but it’s the second time in a year, so I guess I’m starting to get used to it!

The clay

The clay, by the way, fires beautifully. It’s been lovely to see how the clay dug straight from the ground looks after biscuit firing and when fired to high temperature (1280 C) in reduction. I did minimal work to process the clay, merely removing the worms and some bigger roots (!) but it’s very promising. I’ll post some pics when I’ve got something more to show.

The Project

As well as producing collaborative work we’ll be inviting the public, friends, early career makers, craft collectors and artists to join us through walks, picnics, and workshops on the land. We want to share our experience far and wide.

Willow bed at Sacred Earth, Horam

Getting involved

We are looking to raise £2000 to add to our successful Arts Council grant of £15,000. We have set up a Kickstarter page which offers some fantastic and exclusive opportunities to get involved with the project, the site and our work. Visit the Kickstarter Making Ground project page to find out more about workshops, walks, artworks and events you can get involved in. You’ll need to be quick to get in on the activities, the project will start in early January! [please note: our Kickstarter funding was successful and has now ended 01/2016]

Annemarie O'Sullivan basket making

The plan

The project will run over the course of a calendar year and will involve various stages of research, development, collaboration, making, working with others and exhibiting the final outcomes.

Annemarie and I will also be working with Rachel Henson – an artist working in the field of film and photography.

Our key partners include:
Fabrica – Brighton based arts organisation
The University of Brighton – involving arts students
Sacred Earth – who manage the land at the old Horam Brickworks
Making Lewes – promoting the exchange of knowledge in the fields of Making, Architecture, Design & Sustainability

At the former brickworks in Horam

Arts Council England

You can find out more about the work of Annemarie and myself by watching films, made about us by the fantastic R&A Collaborations.

Pursuit of Intrigue

Bundles of Willow


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