We were thrilled to have an artist in residence this summer at the Lyminge excavations. Julia Groves, an artist local to South-East Kent, was able to come to the dig several times over the course of the excavations to gather information and research from the staff, volunteers and surroundings.
The result of this residency was displayed in a short exhibition at Maidstone Museum this November entitled ‘Response’, which gathers together artists’ responses to the collections at Maidstone and the museum itself. Julia chose to combine her response to the Saxon collections within the museum with the results of her residency at the Lyminge dig. Gaining a good understanding of how the dig worked, what we were looking for and how we interpret what is in the ground through the written, photographic and drawn record, as well as scientific analysis, has enabled Julia to produce a graphite and coloured pencil drawing that is multi-layered in meaning and composition.
In describing her work, Julia explains:
‘Streams’, the drawing, shows the intermittent course of the Nailbourne from its beginnings at Lyminge down to the sea. The circles were inspired by the glass trails found on the cone beakers. There are 43 circles each one representing a generation so the drawing reflects the time between now back to the 5th century AD. I have become interested formally in the Anglo-Saxon glass but am also interested in how the fragments seem to represent the lost narratives of the Anglo – Saxons…The pattern of the reflected watercourse in the drawing also hints at the patterns used in some brooch designs and of course the cross referencing the monastic settlement…
Much of Julia’s work is inspired by nature, and the natural forms and colours in the objects such as the glass have clearly inspired this piece. Julia has kindly let me reproduce the image here, and you can also view it on her website at www.juliagroves.co.uk, along with some of her other work.
The interest Julia has in the natural world and archaeology is reflected in another piece, created in 2012. ‘Grain’, below, reflects Julia’s interest in the scientific process on site, with charred grain and other archaeobotanical remains revealed through the flotation and sorting process.
We’re really pleased that art inspired directly by the excavations is on display in the local area and hope to continue our links with the artistic community in Kent in the future.