Fire Walk With Me

Ilkley Art Trail Artist Filippa Dobson created a heather cup and ring mark on Ilkley Moor, as part of the regeneration of an area of land devastated by wild fire in 2006.

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‘The First Cut’, which took place on 19thSeptember, is a land art response to the positive and negative impact of fire within the landscape environment of Ilkley Moor. Head game-keeper, Simon Nelson cut the cup and ring mark into the heather using a tractor and flail mower.

The cup and ring mark is based on the ancient Neolithic symbols incised onto rocks by the people who inhabited Ilkley Moor 4000 to 5000 years ago is a semi-permanent piece of public land art visible from a number of vantage points.

This specific mark is transposed from the cup marked rock and statutory monument known as the ‘Badger Stone’ (see image attached). The line of intersection is angled to point in the general direction of the ‘Stone’ which is located a little further North on the other side of the Keighley Road.

The First Cut represents the first cutting of the heather since the fire. Cutting the heather will generate new growth. By next year the cut sections will be bright green contrasting withpurple flowering heather in the uncut sections. And by cutting the heather at different heights the seeds within the heather ‘brash’ will create a more diverse environment for ground nesting birds.

Correlating this public land art with Neolithic rock art, Filippa aims to create a visible link between an ancient past and a contemporary community who work and walk on the moor. The artist has worked with the local community and the people who manage the moor including the Bradford MDC Countryside and Rights of Way, the Bingley Moor Partnership and the government’s advisory body for the natural environment, Natural England.

A film, ‘The First Cut’, of the cutting of the heather by Clare Charney will be shown at the Ilkley Art Trail and Literature Festival on 9 October with an accompanying text by the Art Trail artist Filippa Dobson followed by a poetry reading by Mark Pajak – Apprentice Poet-in-Residence for the Literature Festival.

The film will also be shown as part of Filippa’s final PhD exhibition in December 2016. She is a University of Leeds Scholarship student and a PhD Candidate within the School of Design. Her supervisors there are Dr Judith Tucker and Dr Paul Wilson.

The ‘Badger Stone’ is the catalyst that precipitates all movement between the different elements of the artist Filippa Dobson’s practice.

Filippa Dobson

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