It’s raining. My rucksack is packed with all the necessary equipment. I do a mental check in my head: plaster, water, mixing bowl, trowel, heavy duty carrier bag, smaller carrier bags, towel for cleaning hands. Content with this list I start to confirm the making process.
- Arrive on site and locate suitable clay and objects
- Dig the clay with the trowel, place into a carrier bag.
- Use objects found on site and repeatedly press onto the clay bed.
- Combine the water and plaster in the bowl and mix until the consistency of custard is reached; I don’t want any plaster to leak out or settle prematurely.
- Pour the plaster into the cavity.
- Wait for the plaster to harden.
- Carefully remove, tidy, pack away.
With each step closer to the site a childlike excitement is bubbling more furiously until I find myself almost skipping; just to avoid the puddles of course.
Thankful that the site sits under the dual carriageway I think about how glad I will be to shelter from the rain. The site has been empty on my previous reconnaissance’s, but they were all on mild or sunny days. Who else might be seeking shelter today? A dog walker, a homeless person, a group of homeless people, a junkie, a group of junkies, a murderer? Suddenly my mind speeds forward to a scenario where I’m mixed up in an aggressive altercation, being flung down the muddy bank and swept away by the flowing river, watching as a shadowy figure finds meagre possessions in my rucksack.
Not content with this outcome my mind sets up another scenario where I successfully avoid being flung into the river by the shadowy stranger, but end up proclaiming ‘self defence!’ while Police pull a limp shadowy body from the river nearby.
This train of thought sets up a further chain of anxiety’s.
- Will the site be vacant?
- Is the river too high?
- Will there be enough exciting objects on site?
- Will there be any objects on site?
- Have I brought enough plaster?
- Will the casts be usable?
- Will the casts look appealing?
- Will I need the toilet?
- Will people stop and talk to me?
- Will people think I’m doing something illegal?
- Am I doing something illegal?
An enthralling blend of excitement and anxiety surge away, but there is nothing left to do but just arrive, decide and do. It is with relief that from the flyover I can see the site is vacant, the tide is out and a glistening surface of sloppy clay has been beautifully chiselled by the river.