‘The Hortorium’ is an installation displaying ongoing research and objects that utilise the plants and archaeology of the Sunken Garden. The installation is akin to an improvised laboratory, displaying plant and earth specimens, experiments in progress, tools that have been constructed to work with vegetal material, and sculptural artefacts and textile pieces that allude to gardening paraphernalia and speculative histories of the area. Materiasl gathered from the garden are transformed through processes such as soaking, rubbing and heating petals and tree material to create dyes, inks, or glazes; pounding and moulding earth and chalk to incorporate into ceramic experiments and glazes; and cutting, grafting, and manipulating other foraged garden matter in diverse fabrication processes. Plants that are especially resilient to the precarious maritime environment of the Sunken Garden are a particular focus: trees and flowers such as the evergreen oaks, poppies, and rosa rugosa are primary sources of ink and dye production. The theme of excavation pervades the work undertaken by ‘The Hortorium’ whether unearthing physical material or historic narratives: in particular, research surrounding the original quarry where the Sunken Garden is sited is a focus to consider what sits on/under the soil and bring to light memories and impacts provoked by humans and nature.
The artist wishes to thank Bridget, Ian and Violet at Clayspace, Margate, Colin Wicks, Peter Hasted and the volunteers at the Sunken Garden.