I’ve been interested in the quarries near me for a few years, so was very glad when the people of Heavitree voted for them as the next theme for the Heavitree Squilometre. Of course, even though the stone they produce is named Heavitree breccia, the quarries are actually in St Loyes. So they are also potentially part of the Art in St Loyes project I’m pondering.
JoJo Spinks, who is the animateur behind the Squilometre, calls the pseudo-steering groups of each theme ‘Pods’. So last night was the second meeting of the Quarry Pod, and the first that I could attend. The approach JoJo usually takes is phased: starting with research, then consolidation and planning, then production. Research starts out being very open, as members of the Pod sniff out interesting stories and possibilities.
The focus of the Pod has broadened to look at the use of Heavitree breccia as a building material in Exeter. So it has already started running some community surveys of stone use within Heavitree. The first was last Sunday, trialling electronic and paper-based methods of collecting and mapping information. Dr Jon Cinnamon from the University has produced an online GIS app, which geolocates photographs and enables wider crowd-sourcing, but is limited in the specific detail that can be captured. The paper-based survey can provide more prompts for detail, but then needs to be digitised.
There are many many ideas already floating around: somehow engaging with the quarries themselves; producing performances; working with schools; using our five senses to experience the stone; and being creatively inspired in poetry and paint.
Watch this space!