In July 2018 and February 2019 the moors above Saddleworth and Mossley became the scene of extensive wildfires reported nationally. I was horrified but mesmerised by the images on the media and the sights above my neighbours houses. Some had to be evacuated and other suffered chocking smoke for days. It highlights the vulnerability of people’s closeness to the fires and the immediate effects of climate change on our own environment as our weather patterns become more extreme.
As soon as I could I went up to the moors and witnessed the devastation. I cast areas of the ground itself using plaster of Paris. The resulting materials and burnt samples of ground and wood were brought back to my studio and developed into a number of drawings and prints in my studio.
Some of these were entirely abstract but increasingly I incorporated a number of the images of the firefighters themselves. These images were from the pictures taken by them on site while dealing with the fires and then posted on social media.
Working at Hot Bed Press, Salford using large presses I was able to produce large scale collagraphic prints of these scenes. The process allowed me to work freely in a painterly manner while retaining the discipline of printing techniques. Each one is unique but they form a series since they are from the same plate.The work has been used to raise funds for the Oldham Mountain Rescue Team who volunteered their services to control the Moorland fires.