In celebration of our nation’s newfound love of walking, post-lockdown, artists Rosie Pedlow & Joe King went walking with local community group Creating Change, in support of campaigns to expand public access to the countryside.
This exhibition was inspired by one of their walks during which the artists discovered the little-known history of the Copperas industry. Pyritised material freed by coastal erosion from the Essex coast’s 55-million-year-old London clay cliffs was gathered by the poor in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It was left to weather in the open air before being transformed into green crystals – known as Green Vitriol – in Copperas Houses, destined for use in the manufacture of inks and dyes.
The artists have responded by imagining a new walk for Essex in their latest film ‘It dissolves by the rain from the sky’. Following the England Coastal Path from Wrabness to Brightlingsea, it opens up new views of Essex in search of this long forgotten past.
Sited alongside this and other new artworks are historic artefacts that inspired the artists – including the astonishingly accurate ‘Map of the County of Essex’, produced by John Chapman and Peter Andre in 1777. Folk Projects are Joe King & Rosie Pedlow, two British artists working across film, animation, photography and installation.
We would like to thank Dr Sarah Demelo from Special Collections, Albert Sloman Library at the University of Essex for access to the show’s historic artefacts, Creating Change for their inspiration and companionship, and New Histories and the Arts Council of England for financially supporting this project.