I had a great day last Thursday, at the UK crafts council in London, with the fantastic CinBA maker engagement project. Twenty makers in metal, textile, clay, and many other materials spent the day talking about how their work was inspired by the bronze age, and hearing from the archaeologists how they were approaching craft makers of that time. You can see work of Susan Kinley and Zoe Hillyard in the photo here, and the next includes Abigail Brown, Ann Richards, Lina Peterson and Stella Adams-Schofield.
It was amazing to see how these artists were making such new work, in new ways – there was a real exploration of process, with multiple connections across time and space, materials and ideas. I felt very small by the end – there was so much just sheer hard work that had been done….
There’s so much to be inspired by from this time, that it’s hard to pick one thing: but for me, I think it’s the white horse at Uffington, which has been dated to 1200BC. Who made it? Why? How has it endured for so long? Chalk figures have to be ‘scoured’ of grass about every ten years, or they get grown over, so somehow this figure has also been looked after, every ten years or so, for more than 3000 years as well…
It makes me think of Stewart Brand‘s thought-experiment in long term thinking, the 10,000 year clock, where he and others (including Brian Eno) think through how to make a clock that can last 10,000 years. Although I suppose for us in Europe Stonehenge has a 4000 year start. So neolithic and bronze age people are quite a few steps ahead of us in terms of long term thinking….