The muddy sand of my local marsh is home to many thousands of hydrobia, a very small yet perfectly formed mollusc. This tiny snail is an average of just 4mm long and is the food of wading birds as they feed along the edge of the undulating tide. Their empty shells gather at certain points along the upper tide line and I have commemorated them with my own small Hydrobia Egg.
The Egg is embedded in the fabric of Sue Carley’s blue skirt which formed part of her final degree show at Solent University. On May 5th she came to photograph that part of her 2014 collection inspired by our collaboration to devise ‘Egg Wear’. For more information about Sue’s work please go to www.Conscientiously-fashioned.co.uk
Eight Buff Orpingtons hatched after incubation at my neighbour’s home last week and it was exciting and appropriate to record their arrival. Tiny beaks chipped rough circles about the egg tops, before tiny armlike wings began the extraordinarily hard work of levering chick from its redundant shell. Each hatchling took around twenty minutes to emerge, resting every few minutes to recover from the exhausting effort.
There have been many attempts to visualise a system of the animals which in the nineteenth century tended to depict a ‘Great Chain of Being’ with people perched at the top of a tree of life. Zoologist Georg Goldfuss in showing stages of development within the animal kingdom, characterises this idea as a series of interconnected nested circles within an egg; with protozoa at the point of the widest end and ‘higher life’ at the peak of the narrowest. Transferring his diagram to the Exbury Egg, I see that I nest myself somewhere in the zone of the mollusc.
I fell asleep last night considering life as a cuttlefish and contemplating the idea that every single creature is equally evolved and important to our understanding of the interconnection of species.
I placed an egg of woven blackthorn in the thicket from which its twigs and small branches originally came. It is held together with ties of twine and will soon be slowly absorbed into the dense new growth of Springtime. Its spiny exterior surface and hollowed core, offers natural protection to the small nesting birds which make their home here. I will document the changes as days pass into weeks, as part of a meditation on the nature of habitats and the important symbolism of the Egg.
The Egglet released around a week ago beached on the marsh edge yesterday, just twenty feet from its original point of departure and I immediately relaunched its more weather worn self. The wind is having a stronger effect than the tide on this small but lightweight orb and I hope a Winter north-easterly might eventually carry it toward the Solent.
‘Egglet No1’ was launched yesterday after some delay due to adverse weather (south westerly winds which would have quickly returned it to its point of departure). An easterly wind and a neap tide carried it to a marsh island around sixty metres distant, where it will stay until spring tides around full moon allow it to venture further. It carries the shell of a five year old common whelk as well as the egg cases of the same species, previously gathered from this location.