Home Research Read, Watch and Listen Image Gallery
This exhibition looks at the ways in which we can work with and within the earth. It follows my own personal exploration through the layers of the geological and archaeological, the natural and cultural. This multidisciplinary path has allowed narratives and understandings of the land to be woven across spatial and temporal scales. Small stories offer another way of comprehending bigger concepts, and giving space to other voices can bring a richer understanding of landscapes.
From the surface down deep into the ground, the ways in which these stories are told through text and image, highlights the need for imaginative communication. Images need not be used just to illustrate text. Rather, text and image can be used playfully to open up questions, draw curiosity and elicit different responses.
The images range across my work in archaeology and cultural geography. They highlight different facets of the landscape and how they might be explored and communicated. Many were generated during my PhD, a CDA between the University of Exeter and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. I have researched the cultural geologies of this coastline, delving into ways of understanding landscape through working with stone. I used visual explorations as part of ethnographic work with quarrymen and geologists. Photography and drawing were a way of understanding complex ideas about landscape and in turn being able to communicate those to others.
My research has been supported by the AHRC throughout my career. The opportunities I have been given to experiment, cross fields and think about different ways of working have been invaluable and rare. It is not always easy working at the boundaries of subjects, but the support I have had to do it has allowed my work to move in fascinating new directions.
Rose Ferraby, University of Exeter
Read More about Landforms
Digital Photograph 2013 ©Rose FerrabyThe land is a rich mixture of the geological and cultural. The sculptural topography is ingrained with the lines and layers of human action. From this, we can begin to unravel some of the many narratives that play through landscape, both now and in the past.
Read More about Prehistoric Encounter
Screenprint 2008©Rose FerrabyScreenprinting has allowed me to explore the layered nature of archaeological landscapes on paper. Archaeology is about peeling layers back in order to make sense of them. Screenprinting is about placing them back, choosing how much tone and emphasis to give each feature. In this piece, I was interested in how aerial photographs of prehistoric landscapes are interpreted, abstracting the landscape and removing a sense of scale.
Read More about Field Forms
Screenprint 2009©Rose FerrabyThe landscape is always in formation. As we go into the future, there is an awareness of what has gone before. In this way, we can trace human actions into the past. This screenprint of fields was built up slowly. Each field is a separate layer, echoing the gradual changes of the land as one feature is set in relation to those around it.
Read More about Remote Sensing
Wax crayon and watercolour 2009©Rose FerrabyThere are many ways of seeing into the earth. Remote sensing is increasingly used in archaeology as a non-intrusive method of mapping large areas of landscape. This allows us to reveal the relationships of archaeological features over large scales and time periods. This drawing is based on a survey undertaken with the British School at Rome near Tivoli, Italy. The regimented lines of a Roman villa are surrounded by the smooth quiet of undisturbed land.
Read More about Excavation
Digital Photograph 2010©Rose FerrabyPeeling off the turf and exploring the layers that lie beneath allows a unique view into the earth and our relationship with it. The process allows a close and tacit understanding. The archaeologist’s hand learns the feel of loams and grits, fills and cuts. These long remembered details and textures build a material memory of the archaeological.
Green Stone Axe
Read More about Green Stone Axe
Wax crayon and watercolour 2010©Rose FerrabyArchaeological contexts can reveal rich material that we must learn to understand. Drawing is a way of becoming acquainted with the forms and details. It is a way of thinking through the material and tracing it to memory. This is a study of a Neolithic axe, whose stone is sourced from a Neolithic quarry in the Langdales, Cumbria. The work formed part of a book ‘Stonework’ (Edmonds and Ferraby 2013) with Professor Mark Edmonds of York University.
Read More about Purbeck Underground
Digital Photograph 2013©Rose FerrabyMy interest in stone has led me to explore deeper into the land. Quarries offer an extraordinary view into the earth: a rich ground for cultural geologies. This is one of the underground ‘quarrs’ where quarrymen extracted particular beds of limestone before modern machinery made large scale open cast quarries viable. The long exposure photography was a way of slowly absorbing this unique space.
Read More about Portland Mine
Digital Photograph 2013©Rose FerrabyBeneath the fields of Portland, Dorset, a new mine is hollowing the earth. Portland stone has been used for building for over a thousand years. It is found throughout the City of London and in some of our most famous buildings. Jordan’s Mine (Albion Stone Ltd) is itself an inverted architecture. Beneath the ground, its angular and regimented corridors are a photographer’s dream.
Read More about Cliff Quarry
Charcoal, graphite and conte crayon 2013©Rose FerrabyThe cliff quarries of Purbeck are much better known than its secret undergrounds. Winspit was once an active quarry removing beds including Pond Freestone, Blue Bit and Spangle. Some of this stone was used to build Ramsgate harbour whilst other went into buildings in the City of London. The quarry is now the haunt of climbers and walkers. Graffiti etches the walls over the fading marks of picks. Drawing the space allowed me to absorb it, and to learn the beds of stone.
Green Purbeck Marble
Read More about Green Purbeck Marble
Digital Photograph 2013©Rose FerrabyThe polished surface of this stone glimmers with the sectioned remains of ancient shells. The gaping Unio and whirling Viviparus shells give a clue as to its identity. Though not strictly a marble, the high polish taken by this limestone has been made use of since the Roman times. A band of landscape in Purbeck is pitted and uneven where the marble was dug for cathedrals and tombs. It continues to be highly valued.
Read More about Exeter Cathedral
Digital Photograph 2015
Huge clustered pillars of Blue Purbeck Marble support the famous Gothic vaulting of Exeter Cathedral. A stratigraphy of other Purbeck stones can be found reconstructed throughout the floor: Grub, Blue Bit, New Vein, Leining Vein. Names echo a quarrying history, and a unique knowledge of stone.
Read More about Lettercutting
Digital Photograph 2013 (Stone plaque: Pondfree Stone) ©Rose FerrabyWorking with stone allows a unique view beneath its surface. Lettercutting allows meaning to be carved into stone, but it is also a way of drawing understanding from it. The character of the material is quickly learned when working in this close and precise way. Here, Mark Haysom (W.J. Haysom and Sons, Purbeck) is working on a replacement plaque for the Beaminster Tunnel. The Pondfree Stone is particularly good for lettering
Read More about Sculpture
Digital Photograph 2013 (Sculpture: Portland Best Bed)©Rose FerrabyI felt that I could not properly understand stone, or the processes described by those experienced with it, until I had worked with it myself. As well as learning lettercutting and masonry, I wanted to make a sculpture, combining the art of design and the precision of masonry. I created this piece with Gary Breeze, a stone lettering sculptor based in Norfolk. The ordered process of removal gave me new insight into ideas of negative space and sculptural forms.
Read More about Ichthyosaur
Digital Photograph 2015©Rose FerrabyFossils give us a very immediate connection with a distant past and a deeper understanding of the land. This Ichthyosaur is just one of many wonderful specimens in the Etches Collection (Kimmeridge, Dorset). Framed by ribs, the skeletal traces of its last meal can still be seen. A tiny snapshot in time, captured forever.
Read More about Purbeck Collection
Digital Photograph 2015©Rose FerrabyCollections of archaeological and geological material in museums offer us different ways of engaging with the elements of the land. Over the course of my research on the Jurassic Coast, I was struck by the number of small, personal museums. The artefacts were woven with stories and memories, reflected in their imaginative and aesthetic curation. This is one of the cabinets in Charlie Newman’s museum at the Square and Compass in Worth Matravers, Purbeck.