Column is a monthly feature that explores the world
of creativity and aesthetics.
The Need To Make
de Sousa, Director, AbleStable
During my holiday in Sidmouth, a beautiful
town that nestles within the Jurassic cliffs of
Devon, I spent many hours gathering objects I found
on the beach and made a stone circle. I reflect
on my need to do so, and the enrichment this process
stayed with my family at a hotel
on the seafront for a few days in mid-summer
during the festival. There is no better
visit Sidmouth than looking out across the vast
expanse of water. The sky may be deep dark gray
and heavy with rain, or blinding bright. The
sea calm, or full with the white wash of wave.
Whatever its mood, that place is a pleasure
as the day unfurls from morning
Sea, and Sand
am not one to stay still for long. I need to
move, to make, and the sea's edge provides
wealth of perfectly formed objects to do so.
and seaweed, to wood and shells. As I began
these things I began to better experience their
difference. Their shape, size, texture, and
colour. Recognizing pattern,
categorizing, grouping, these are all innate
abilities we all have. Building is our next
enjoy making most by instinct. The flow and interaction
of touch and sight is strong. Thought comes
upon me more as observer than director. I become
connected with the objects and the whole.
one builds, many interesting
social interactions occur. In the early stages
of the build, most people respect objects only
while the builder is present, although there
are those sensitive souls who by instinct
knowingly break what another has begun to make.
Gradually, as the scale of what you build grows,
so more recognize the structure and acknowledge
spent a short time on the sea's edge the first
day. The structure was in outline. Some
care about the lines of stones and walked right
- others recognized their form and left them
be. After several hours I returned, and to my
surprise the lines remained. This triggered a
sense of purpose within me. In this place it
was not futile to continue.
of the structure was laid waste by children playing
close, or an act
of will, and over a
four day period I rebuilt the work many
When I arrived
to find people insensitive to the work,
I would simply begin to build again without
a word. The destruction would always
cease. There was no need for words,
nor for any animosity or discomfort between myself
others who had not appreciated the efforts I
had made. For me this was also part of the pleasure.
a place where change was inevitable, where I
needed to accept the physical assertion I
was making would be ignored by some, but respected
the work progressed,
so people began to be drawn to it. Some would
ask "what is it?". My reply
would depend on a judgment I made of the inquisitor.
If they appeared not to be interested in art
I would point to the
sun's shadow and they would be happy with knowing
the structure had purpose as a timepiece. Others
would approach me and refer to the work as
or artwork and began talking of Andy Goldsmith
and others. This too was a pleasure as the
interactions I had would
Children began to build smaller circles close
by, and by the fourth day people took photos.
greatest pleasure in this work was when others
began to contribute their
own offerings. The
work had become more than the sum of its parts,
more than one man could make. It had a life of
its own as I was to leave...
Sand, and Sea, at Sidmouth
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