Egrets at Somerset Crafts
Several months ago I joined Somerset Crafts – a group of artists who exhibit work in a gallery at Westhay on the Avalon Marshes in the Somerset Levels. Most of us are also members of the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen based at the Courthouse gallery in Somerton.
We manage the gallery between us and I look forward to my turn stewarding not just because I can enjoy the other members’ works but also because of the beautiful drive (and often subsequent walk) through the levels.
After navigating sharp bends, the road becomes long and straight although narrow and bumpy. It is laid onto peat, so is prone to subsidence and large pot holes. Willow trees, oak and silver birch cast shadows on the gold and green rhynes. (Pronounced “reen”, they are small man-made streams that are used as drainage and as a way to raise the land at sea-level to provide pasture.) Scruffy fields stretch out to infinity feeding cows and flocks of birds such as rooks, swans, seagulls, lapwings, herons and egrets. Pools and lakes amongst the raw landscape interspersed with reeds are a haven for huge blue and green dragonflies and for the more elusive birds like bittern and marsh harrier. Quietly on the horizon Glastonbury Tor makes it’s presence felt and on some mornings it is shrouded in mist as if to prove it’s mystical nature.
Not only is it a romantic landscape it is also prehistoric. Iron age settlements and tracks are marked on route. Near to the craft gallery is the world famous neolithic “Sweet Track” which is the oldest man-made road in Britain. The gallery is situated next to the Peat Moors Centre (now closed) with its’ reconstructed roundhouses from the Iron Age Glastonbury Lake Village.
Earlier this year as I drove along the levels, I spotted a Little Egret flying through the sky. There are also Great White Egrets breeding here for the first time. I am hoping to get some photos one day! But for now here are my Egret mosaics that are now displayed in the gallery.
(You have to imagine that the Great White Egret is bigger than the Little Egret because my mosaics are the same size! In reality it is at least twice the size being at a height of up to 1 metre)
Come back soon and read more about the Great Crane Project at Somerset Crafts!