Footprint of the Abbey
The ‘Footprint of the Abbey’ project has stimulated exploration of the abbey estates, early management, uses of the Somerset wetlands and aspects of the opulent lifestyle of the abbots and their guests. The artists’ research has included the history of ideas recorded at the abbey through documentary sources. The abbey’s large library of classical and scientific books and scrolls, collected over the centuries, disappeared at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539.
The geometry and mechanics involved in constructing the abbey buildings has fascinated members of the group, in addition to the natural philosophy and astronomy which may well have influenced the architects and stonemasons.
The Areté artists have imagined the procession of medieval visitors in whose footsteps they have been treading. They have followed the trail of the numerous pilgrims who were drawn to the abbey, before the many precious relics of saints which attracted them were swept away at the Dissolution.
The group has made their own pilgrimages to numerous sites once owned by the abbey, sharing interests, while developing their individual interpretations. Work has been inspired by wide ranging but connected themes including: reliquaries and the potency of sacred remains, mathematics and the power of number, pilgrimage and journey, early fishermen and boatmen in the wetlands, products of the herb gardens and their uses.