Work In Progress

A meditative film following artist Nic Webb as he buries a piece of his work into the earth...


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Nic Webb is an artist and maker who works with natural materials, particularly unseasoned wood, to explore themes of function, ceremony as well as the history and cultures of human making. Here we are observers as he burns, smears and interns the wooden work he has created. Intrigued, we asked Webb why...

'The day after I buried the piece in the pond it rained very hard and the pond filled. 

The piece has been underwater for seven months. I check on it most days. The pond is black and muddy, but when I catch a glimpse, the wood has gone a russet red and small aquatic insects had made their home in amongst its fronds.

I thought that when I buried the work I would try to forget about it - until it came time to retrieve it. This has not been the case. Each day I see it, there’s change, in the piece as well as the surroundings. It has connected me with the seasons and with the smallest changes around the pond and in the wood. I think about the piece when I am not there too – in its calm, cold place.

My inspiration for the piece came from the archaeology of many cultures that buried, cast and scuttled precious tools and objects into the waters or marshes in what’s considered as acts of prayer. 'If we give to the world a precious thing, would the world repay us with favour?'

It now seems that the act of burying was the beginning of a binding relationship between this natural place and me. The object buried is the bond. 

The process was not an 'act of' prayer but more an 'active' prayer in the loosest sense, a prayer that is continuous and connects me to a place from which I am absent.

The piece is now recovered from the water. A short, concluding film will follow soon...'

Film by Pete Drinkell