Richard Renshaw

'Tributaries'

The River Usk is the major natural feature that connects my home in Cwmdu, via the Rhiangoll, to Penpont. I wanted to make a sculptural connection using the stones from the streams that flow into the Usk between these 2 points.

The geology of Penpont and Cwmdu is similar, the sandstone having been deposited during the Devonian period 400 million years ago, but the stones I selected showed a large variation in shape and external colour, sometimes effected by chemical change and organic growth. In the Bran I found a piece of ceramic waste pipe which seemed to have metamorphosed into water-eroded stone and had taken on the colour of sandstone. Other pieces were influenced by the form of the stones and sometimes by features of their locality, giving a sense of time and place.

I had previously experienced some of the tributaries during adrenaline-charged kayak trips in winter flood conditions, but during the dry September days I was able to wade leisurely up and down the stream, getting to remote areas which would not normally be possible to access easily. I had a feeling that I was entering secret places and I have tried to evoke the sense of flow and change that I encountered.

The primary influence on my work is the natural environment of my home in the Black Mountains, although my experience as a geologist and mountaineer also gives insightful dimensions in working with my favoured material – stone.

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