Coastal drawing is inspiration for art

A 180-year-old drawing of a stretch of North East coast from the Tyne to the Tweed is being used as the inspiration for a unique sound work.

The 12.5 metre drawing from 1838 is on show now as part of an exhibition at Woodhorn Museum for Susan Stenger’s work, Sound Strata of Coastal Northumberland.

The acclaimed sound installation, commissioned for AV Festival 14: Extraction, Sound Strata of Coastal Northumberland is based on a cross-section diagram of coastal geological formations from the River Tyne to the Scottish border, drawn by the pioneering local mining engineer Nicholas Wood.

Using the diagram as a graphic score, Susan transformed the geologic into the sonic in a 59-minute work that travels from the coal seams of Tyneside to the porphyritic rocks north of the River Tweed, layering instrumental sounds, melodic patterns and signature rhythms extracted from traditional Northumbrian music and dance.

AV festival director Rebecca Shatwell said: “The tour takes one of our most striking festival commissions to unique locations in Northumberland, which are referenced on Nicholas Wood’s 1838 cross-section diagram of coastal geological formations that provided the original inspiration for the work.”

Following a month-long visit to Woodhorn, the exhibition will conclude on Holy Island in a former coastguard Lookout Tower.