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I have got used to this journey to and from work, crossing the land in my blue Vauxhall Astra estate. Sometimes listening to Chris who took over from Terry, Chris who plays a Beatles track on every Monday morning show.

It is one of the few tranquil mornings for a while, a good day to take photographs, a good day to think when working, as opposed to focusing on staying dry and out of the wind. Perhaps I will have time to think about what surfaces mean, to me as a sculptor, what surfaces mean in the context of my PhD - The quarry as sculpture: the place of making, what surfaces mean to me as a sawman and mason in a working granite quarry in the depths of Cornwall. Somedays I am David A Paton doing doctoral research, sometimes I am ‘Doc’ sawing up granite or drinking tea in the crib room, sometimes I am sculptor, quarryman, auto-ethnographer and prolific drinker of cheap tea all at once.

Yes… I am in the quarry… the piles, stacks and crates of recycled granite, the massive clods of brown ‘field-stones’, the shining panoramic surface of a freshly split boulder.

All around lie the materials of squaring the block; rotations and poundings issuing forth the architectonic morphologies of a new space, rendered lovingly from the old amorphic batholith.

The quarry is a time-lapsed implosion of evolving surface areas… or as artist Robert Smithson has said ‘Solids are particles built up around flux, they are objective illusions supporting grit, a collection of surfaces ready to be cracked’

As the day pans out the clouds stay away, the sky remains blue, the crows are hidden in tufty grasses of the nighbouring fields, on days when the mizzle comes, the misty drizzle that clogs up the world, the murder sit on the skeletal remains of an abondoned shed and on the telegraph wires criss-crossing the perimeter of the quarry. There are blocks to saw up for steps, a rough old pillar that needs to be collected from the bottom of the quarry. I do a bit of bal-ing too… baling is an Ernie term… Ernie bals granite all day long. Tim says bal-ing is derived from the bal maidens… miners wives who smashed up the granite ready for tin ore extraction. Ernie comments on how the miners would live in fear of their wives, whom he says could bal their husbands into submission. Crib time is always entertaining, Ernie is our entertainment system, telling tales of a youth spent on the moors with a father who was a rabbit cartcher, selling a thousand rabbits a week in Plymouth. When I first started Shandy (or Peter Davies) was there too, he has been a sawman for 47 years, I was apprenticed to him. Peter is Ernie’s brother in law. They are like chalk and cheese, Peter is quiet and big and although 65 years of age can work at an incredible pace all day. He was hard to work for in the sense that I had to keep up, physically and mathmatically… his numerical computation skills are unrivalled! Dividing up a slab for quoins (corner stones for building)is not a simple task.

In the frenetic atmosphere of the quarry vision is for safety, and pauses to gaze over the landscape, letting my being slump on its own frame.

My apprenticeship, initially overcome with press this, then turn that, measure this, go up there and switch that over… worry worry have I measured that right… do it again, gradually becomes more bodily meshed; the subject /object sensation dissolves. It takes time to know the material, to recognise the abilities eminating from its surface, for me to be with them in the monad. The surfaces of the materials in the quarry erode to become place because, I know them. The apparent hard surface of matter dissipates through bodily familiarity, matter becomes sentient. Place is becoming of making, making is becoming of place, the quarry is sculpture.

Or when I become ‘doc’, when I have my naming which is not my given name I am part of the place too.

Fuck the granite! I am tired, I have a few more notches in my skin, a few more muscle fibres are anchored to bone, a few more tonnes of granite have passed though the filter of materiality and emerged forever unchanged, its surfaces a frankly insubstantial rendering of the density of its future history.

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