“My son messaged me one day and said ‘Mother, I have invited these climbers to stay with you but I forgot to ask you first. Not a problem, I replied, they sound amazing people’. Tom Randall is a British trad climber, who has established many first ascents all over the world, and his climbing partner for the climb near where I live in North Devon, was American Anna Hazelnutt.
I was so lucky to get to know these two, and their community of adventurous and brave colleagues, and about the climbs on my doorstep, at Dyer’s Lookout, just down the road from Hartland. I saw Anna make the first female ascent of the Walk of Life, and then watch Tom succeed on a later occasion, by which time I was beginning to understand how technical it is, with tiny footholds, and few cracks suitable to hold the safety gear, meaning it is often below the climber. Psychologically difficult, and slow.
I remember Anna learning a story, like an actor learning her part, learning the chapters of her’ book’ by heart, remembering each move. And I saw Tom fall.
These collaged woodcuts came out of sitting on the cliffs overlooking the climb, with the sea below, stomach knotted, following every minute of the 60 metre pitch.
Tom is also an artist, and we worked side by side in my studio on a few of his rest days. He came and looked at this series, really looked, and he slowly placed the pegs, one by one, up the slab. The climber is camouflaged against the rock and two ropes are held in place below.
I hope the scale of the climb is evident in this series of 6 original and unique prints.” Merlyn Chesterman RE
The six SLAB prints form part of the New Atlantic Wave’s presence at the Affordable Art Fair and reflect Merlyn’s an ongoing relationship between the Art Upstairs gallery,Bideford, Devon, and ArtMakers.. Merlyn has run masterclasses for ArtMakers and exhibited in all their New Atlantic Wave exhibitions in north Devon.