Shards of slate crack underfoot as I navigate the quarried labyrinth. Walking through amphitheaters of rock faces, passing hunks of rusted machines; clogs, chains and winches twisting out of the ground. From afar this place looks pretty grey and depressing, a scar on the side of the mountain. It’s a similar story as you walk in, it resonates a certain apocalyptic vibe. Poking about in the old stone worker’s huts; battered work shoes are laid out neatly under a coat, a banged up kettle sits expectantly as though it would all start up again tomorrow.
But there is something really beautiful about the place that I feel drawn to. The first time I came here I was mesmerised by the textures and colours of the rock. The angular nature of the climbing, the tiny edges cutting across the smooth rock face, teetering and pouncing your way up at the same time. I could feel myself wanting to draw the dark angular shadows against the extraordinary colours of the rock.
I returned last week with a van full of art supplies and a lucky break in the weather. It turns out slate is actually really difficult to draw, but I’ll persist. This is the beginnings of the remarkable looking Rainbow Slab.