Over the past 2 years, I’ve been writing up my PhD thesis about the work I’ve done on salt and its stories. I’ve nearly finished the full draft and am planning to submit at the end of the year, and in the meantime I’ve continued to create new artworks, some salty and some not.
Earlier this year, I was asked to undertake a new public art commission in Droitwich, based on its history as a centre of salt production dating back to pre-Roman times.
The project is part of ‘The Ring’, a series of new arts commissions and projects funded through the Canal and Waterways Trust around the ring of canals and rivers that link Droitwich to Birmingham and Worcester. Salt used to be transported by canal to other parts of the country and to the docks for trade. I am excited to find out more about the salt trade and production in Droitwich and the links made to other parts of the world, as I develop ideas for the artwork.
I began with meeting some local experts and visiting the archives in Worcester, The Hive, where I located maps of the area in the late 19th century which show the density of Salt Works in the Vines Park area of the town, as well as photos of the old salt barges and salt workers.
Over the summer I will be continuing the research process and making a proposal for the art work, and for my next stage of research I’ll be hosting a pub quiz called ‘The Brineteaser’ in Droitwich as well as walking the canal along the old ‘Salt Straets’ or salt ways.