We wrote on the edge

In the last days of 2019, GroundWork invited writers to come to the edge. Seven gathered, retreating from the chaos and consumption of the days before Christmas, choosing instead to go within and consider what we could create – inspired by the interplay between art and words in the serene December light reflected from the Ouse. 

We shared poems – ours and others’ – wandered outdoors to take in the sky, river and air, and wandered the gallery to contemplate the sculptures, etchings, textiles. We considered syllables, phrases and themes, wrote in solitude and in pairs, and returned to the table to share our bounty. 

Here are a few of the works that emerged from that day, alongside some of the artworks that inspired us.



Blue edge

crisp and sharpened in that steel light.

Hard loss, blade keen.

Temperature as colour, felt.

Air bite, tongue burns cold.

Almost Solstice-darkest time and brightest light across

the water – slicing, dazzling, sparks.

Metal holding, mud binding, line fixing

all that sky, all that water.

Huge whale of a river pushing edge wards.

Sting of ice cutting air, sharp on my tongue,

fierce in my eyes.

Caroline Denyer

FlissCary The Gate, Encroachment Series, Drypoint etching, 2019

The Gate

after dry point etching by Fliss Cary, Encroachment Series

The gate holds fast, rusted sentry 

marking out a line between what  

remains and all that was lost.

There is beauty in the wasteland,

flashes of ochre tint the 

burnished scrub and liquid curves

that shape the blackened trees.

Yet it is a cruel beauty,

bows of barbed wire to sever the

flesh, man-made echo of the thorns

that whisper, ‘Don’t come closer.

Stay back and look on in

wonder at what is to come

if you fail yourselves again.’

Tracee Findlater

Gordon Senior Tools of no Certain Use, First Series

One Step at a Time

One Step at a Time

Chipping flint


Cutting edge 

Sharp flint knife

Mounding earth


Heat clay bowl 

A drinking vessel 

Stones to grind


Harvest food

Time to create 

Time to think

Image making 

To see 10,000 years later 

Forming ideas

Neolithic times

Birth, growth, death

A desire for meaning

Developing Myths

Fragments of the past

Everything has an edge.

Sue Maufe

Fliss Cary Etchings, Encroachment Series

Through the Picture

(Fliss Cary etching)

Looking at the gate, overgrown with grassy vegetation.

Barb wire keep you out- don’t come through, a place of no return, the grass is always greener on the other side.

Over the edge

Open the door to all possibilities 

Meeting new people or bumping into someone from the past- catching up, tying up loose ends.

A piece of paper blowing in the wind what did it say- torn burnt words.

Everything is on the edge open and closed.

Sue Maufe

Cirrus-circled sun-shined 


   Birch bark silvered with

           bracelets of mesh

   Hair and Beauty by Headlines

           swinging and clinking

               in the rhythm

             of harbour sails

   and the black lead drain pipe

                   from 1923

Alison Dunhill