Recovering Drowned Clay
Recovering Drowned Clay (2011)
The wreck of SS Zaanstroom
9 miles off the coast of Littlehampton, West Sussex
In this commemorative project, I recovered a sample of China Clay from the hold of SS Zaanstroom. This Dutch clay carrier sank one hundred years earlier, on its homebound journey from Fowey to Amsterdam. With only a cylinder of air to sustain me I had just 40 minutes to reach the seabed and find the clay. The search was traumatic - in dark murky waters 28 meters beneath the surface, I scaled the rusty framework and deck trying to locate the hold. My hands -protected from cold in thick gloves - lead the way. Finally, with only minutes of air left in my cylinder, I felt a void open up beneath me. As I dropped inside softness could be felt under foot, reaching down I scoped the clay up in my hand and lifted it to the surface.