Thursday, May 3, 2012

Strata Florida

The abbey was originally founded in 1164. The name Strata Florida is a corruption of the Welsh Ystrad Fflur, meaning Valley of (the river of) Flowers, according to Wikipedia.
For more information about the Abbey (click here).


Through this door as the poem suggests are the remains of the Abbey. I grew up in SE London and I was reminded of a similar ruin, Lesnes Abbey in Abbey Wood. I sometimes went there on my bike through the woods during summer holidays. It was difficult back then, and still is now to imagine what these places were really like, back back in the day when they were the centre for the whole area. 

A mural in the visitor centre at Strata Florida showing a busy 
thriving community at and around the Abbey. Hard to imagine
compared to the serenity if you visit today.

I spent my day arranging the poem on the stone, rubbing it out because it didn't fit, making it fit, moving it around so it fitted better. I had a sense of how I wanted it to look, and was able to fit the poem on evenly distributed and spaced over the whole stone. My commissioner asked me if the making of this work was organic? Yes this initial layout was really organic process, intuative and involved many calculated guesses. From here on in it will be more mechanical with a little bit of unkown to keep you concentrating all the time. I am actually really looking forward to starting, but frustratingly I have a meeting in the morning so wont get to work on it till the afternoon.

sample I made for 1st poem in English on slate coping stones

sample I made for 2nd poem in Welsh on a rock

Things will actually be the other way around now. English on the boulder in my workshop and the Welsh on the coping stones, which will be done on site. 

poem laid out covering the whole stone

the lettering will be obscured by the cement used to stick the
tiles on with. So I expect to do small sections at a time. 

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