5th September ‘15


Rising To A Crescendo
Artscapes in quarries

The excitement and momentum of ‘step in stone’ is building up to a crescendo with its third and final step, which will embrace three more venues to make up the final six. Part of Somerset Art Works Festival 2015 and Momentum programme, step 3 launches on 3rd October to include Black Swan Arts, Frome Museum and the magical Fairy Cave Quarry.

“If ever there was a physical entrance into fairyland I think it may well be found here” Tessa Farmer of Fairy Cave Quarry

Nick Weaver (partner in the project) says: “the opportunity to simply visit Fairy Cave is great but to be able to see art there, to hear Ralph’s poetry and see Artmusic’s performance is going to be very special.”

The theme for Somerset Art Works Festival 2015 is ‘Momentum’. ‘step in stone’ echoes this theme, gathering momentum at each step. The three extra venues will add a fresh impetus, with all 14 diverse artists showing together for the first time in the project, to create dynamic indoor exhibitions and an extraordinary experience at Fairy Cave Quarry, with work ranging from the intimate to the extravagant.

A totally free experience, with free apps, free night walk, free live performance, poetry spoken from the rock faces, culture, science and arts collaborating, it would be a shame to miss it. Take a picnic, walk the dog and give the children – and adults! – something really different to remember!

The Arts Council England/National Lottery funded step in stone, fuses art with the wonders of the natural landscape through the work of international artists, educators and scientists. Other sponsors and donors include Mendip Hills Fund, Somerset Art Works, GanesTrust, Frome Town Council, IdeasTap and many more organisations and individuals.

‘step in stone’ is led by Somerset sculptor Fiona Campbell: “It has been very much a collaboration between all those involved. We have so many people to thank for their generosity of time and resources, and I’ve had the rock solid support of Nick Weaver, helping to make this a success.”

Ralph Hoyte, a renowned Bristol poet, has created a poetic ‘sound intervention’ for visitors perambulating around Fairy Cave Quarry’s amphitheatre. There will also be a guided night walk for people to experience his work in the darkness under a new moon. For the Westdown/Asham quarryscape, Ralph has created a downloadable GPS piece for visitors to listen to as they walk through. Entitled ANTICLINE, the aural word-symphony needs to be downloaded onto your smartphone from Ralph’s website before you go to Westdown ( – click “SIS link to QR”).

‘Natural history detective’ Duncan Cameron, artist and Strode College art tutor, is fascinated by wildlife and the evidence left behind of its presence. Duncan’s work will feature collections intricately arranged in quirky crafted containers.

Landscape artist Caroline Sharp weaves gentle sculptures from natural materials such as leaves, quarry clay and willow. Caroline found Asham/Westdown quarry “quite magical and inspiring … windblown seeds and pioneer species … creating a unique new habitat”. Photographic artist Christina White, explores the idea of evolution, the geological timeline, past, present and future; “The quarry face holds the memory, the stone removed holds the myth…” Christina likens the fissures in old seabed rock faces to “lifelines on the palm of a hand”. Etching, text and bookmaking are the principal media of Bronwen Bradshaw, who runs Dove Studios (printworks). Painter Amanda Wallwork, is interested in geological mapping and explores this in thought-provoking ways.

Special performances and events will include Frome-based Artmusic’s ‘ECHO’ sculpture and sound installation at Fairy Cave Quarry (3-18 Oct, weekends, 11-4). This will be animated by live performances of Artmusic’s BLAST (Sats 3, 10, 17 Oct, 2-3pm); a theatrical response to the rock and mechanics of quarrying, with specially composed trumpet music being played from locations to echo around the quarry. The audience will be encouraged to move around during these performances, to hear the sound from different perspectives.

Artist Talks include an insight into the work of step in stone’s internationally celebrated Tessa Farmer, whose fantasy worlds of tiny malevolent fairies, insect wings and taxidermy create an intriguing contrast to the largescale environmental installations by Sally Kidall and weathered stone works of Duncan Elliot. From nearby Stoke St. Michael, Duncan will be breaking new ground by animating a life-size stone sculpture made from found rock fragments as a marionette, walking it across the quarry floor – and possibly up a rock face!

Leaflets and maps are available at step in stone venues; Frome, Shepton and Bath Tourist Information Offices and other local outlets. For further details about the trail or to book a step in stone workshop, guided walk or artist talk visit:

step in stone is open now and continues until 18th October 2015.


Note to Newsdesk: a site visit and/or interviews with selected artists can be arranged this week. Alternatively, do come along to our Preview at Black Swan Arts, Fri 2nd Oct 6-8pm.

For further information contact:
Fiona Campbell
Laundry Cottage, 13 Cooks Lane, West Cranmore, Shepton Mallet, Somerset BA4 4RH
Tel: (01749) 880394 mobile: 07515 537224
Email: [email protected]
step in stone website:
step in stone trailer film

Further information

The experience of encountering contemporary art revealed in quarry environments is the essence of step in stone, an extraordinary new venture which has intrigued residents and visitors to Somerset. A collaborative, multi-disciplinary artscape in the heart of rural Mendip, step in stone features work by fourteen leading artists, all with links to the South West, responding to the nature of quarries and their place in the cultural and industrial heritage of the region.
Site-specific artworks have already been installed around Halecombe and Westdown/Asham quarries and Somerset Earth Science Centre for visitors to encounter.

An Under 20 Year Olds’ Sculpture Design Competition was held in May to engage young people in the project. All designs will be on show at Black Swan Arts. The winning design was created into a sculpture in one day with the 18 yr old winner and step in stone team, ‘Kinetic Structure’ – much interacted with by the public!

Comments from the public since the project began in July:
“Very much enjoyed the chance to be in these amazing places, with thought provoking art and music”

“We have just spent a fascinating afternoon at Halecombe and Westdown/Asham quarries. It was a treat for the senses and a revelation about the environments on our doorstep. Thank you!”

Preview at Black Swan Arts, Fri 2nd Oct 6-8pm – all welcome
Finale at Somerset Earth Science Centre, Fri 16th Oct, 7-9pm – all welcome