In March I travelled to Droitwich again, to host a public meeting about the Saltways project and to pay a visit to the new saltworks at Churchfields Farm. The farm already makes its own (delicious) ice cream, and last year they started to pump brine from the town’s brine pump, and use the traditional method of drying, in shallow heated beds, to form salt crystals. Patrick Davis showed me the tanks they use to carry the brine to the farm (just outside town) and which sit in the farmyard; taking 1000L of brine at a time produces 250kg salt.
The process is slow: it takes 24 hours to evaporate then another 24 hours to dry to 5% moisture content. Each long tray can produce 50kg though, and the salt they produce has already been snapped up at food events by chefs and foodies.
Although smaller scale, the forms of the salt piles and drying crystals reminded me of the salinas and salines I’d visited.
Meanwhile, my plans for the Saltways events in May continued, and I’ve been in the studio making salt sacks for the international salt collection which together with the Droitwich Salt, will be added to my Saltworks Sculpture. I had a huge pallet full of salt arrive at the studio one day which was exciting to unwrap – the salt was of many different colours and textures, evocative of many different places.
The design for Saltworks having been finished, the fabricators at PMF Metalwork have been busy building the artwork – here is a sneak preview:
The sculpture is nearly ready for its journey by boat from Gloucester Docks to Vines Park, Droitwich, to be filled with the local and international salts – so the resurrection of saltworks in Vines Park will be complete…