Digging Down

Our Devizes members had the absolute pleasure to work with artist Sue Martin to create work inspired by the exhibiton, Eric Ravilious: Downland Man at the Wiltshire Museum. Iconic twentieth century artist, Eric Ravilious, was inspired by the glorious Wiltshire and Sussex Downs. Beautiful paintings such as ‘The Vale of the White Horse’ are among his most recognisable and truly capture the spirit of these wide-open spaces. This is the first time many of these works have been shown together and it is the first exhibition dedicated solely to Ravilious’ fascination with the Downs of Southern England.

‘Digging Down’ is a project inspired by the chalk downlands at Bratton Camp, the Westbury White Horse and artist Eric Ravilious. In 2019, the beginning of an idea for a collaboration with Wiltshire Museum and Arts Together began to grow, and the summer of 2021 saw a miraculous exhibition emerge. Through the targeted support of Arts Together and the astounding spirit of the group members, a collection of extremely personal responses to the Eris Ravilious exhibition have been created. We couldn’t get our members out into the Wiltshire landscape to view it as Ravilious had done but we brought the land to our members. Archaeological boxes were created containing tools, soil, chalk and locally made charcoal for the members to feel and use.



Plants were brought in from outside to create pigment and there was a genuine connection with nature. Belinda Chandler said:

 “We worked by engaging our members in a series of accessible bite sized exercises so they could examine Ravilious and the downland landscape from a number of different perspectives. It was essential that the project wouldn’t overwhelm our group members all working alone in their homes.

A support network and sense of camaraderie grew as members received their art materials and an initial briefing at a group coffee morning. By engaging in weekly zoom sessions where everyone could share their experiences and show how their work was progressing, confidence increased. Artist Sue Martin who devised the project said:

“It’s not just about what the end result is, but the shared experience and enjoyment that they have
got from making their work and the pleasure from meeting each week to collectively chat about
how they worked”.

The project will be on display until 30 January. https://www.wiltshiremuseum.org.uk/