Contact Us

Art of Geology


The DerwentWISE Sedimentation project is just over half way through. It is uses the geology of the Lower Derwent Valley as creative inspiration for making ceramics which reflect the ways that different rocks, including fossil-bearing limestone have been laid down over millions of years to make up the landscape that surrounds the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site (DVMWHS).  Each person taking part makes at least one hand-built, unglazed pot or decorative piece using different coloured clays based on and inspired by the rock layers and their curves, breaks or twists that can be seen both in the landscape and in geological maps and diagrams.

Sarah Laman and Melanie Allen from Fleet Arts, are delivering the project. Sarah explained “The aim of Sedimentation is that people taking part will not only look with new eyes on the area, but also have made something beautiful and to be proud of by the end of the programme. The colours are not made as surface patterns, but go all the way through – similarly to the lettering found in seaside rock!

Fleet Arts have run two drop-in workshops as part of the Duffield Arts Festival and the DVMWHS Discover Days. Further workshops with the Umbrella Inde group have taken place at the National Stone Centre and at Umbrella House in Derby. Everyone had the chance to make their own individual pieces. On the final workshop the group worked together to make a large bowl, with fossils and ‘strata’d’ pieces of five or six different coloured clays decorating the inside. The bowl now takes pride of place in the garden with it intended to be used as a bird bath.

Using clay to create fossils


Since then Sarah and Mel, have worked with the GoldsQUAD group at Derby QUAD – the pictures are of their final workshop. Over 20 people took part and they made a huge range of inlaid, strata’s and hand-built work. Some had already worked on the DerwentWISE mosaic installation at Darley Park and or visited the National Stone Centre before, some not, but it was a new area of work or inspiration for everyone.

By Sarah Laman, Artist

Read the Inde group article as seen in Umbrella newsletter

Back to top