Lydia Thornley

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Faversham Creek, a tidal waterway on the North Kent coast, 1967. My dad, an ad man, artist and when the machine didn’t exist for the job, inventor, had a thing about industrial landscapes. Dead boats, boats out of water, masts at every angle when tide was out and mud was in. Stacks of enormous timbers, rusty iron, paint and names shiny-new, softened, peeling, boatsheds in clapboard and corrugated metal. Cranes, hoists, chains, ropes in lines and coils. The diligent work of boatbuilding, pottering back and forth between machine and quay.

There were family walks through the boatyards. As the creek snaked into the big-sky marshes, so would we, geometry giving way to soft, flat green, sharp saw rasp to the curved note song of the curlew. If we were feeling intrepid, we would carry on to the sea, at Seasalter or Tankerton. Walking to the sea. That was an adventure.

Creative journey

It turned out to be a long walk. As I drew the Creek, I realised that I could draw a line to the flat, estuarine landscapes of Essex, east London’s canals, the fish huts of Hastings, the industrial Thames, Gothenburg’s shipyards, the port of Marseille, the docks of Aarhus… Not for me the yacht marina: my home is in big sky and grit.

I expected my map to be visual but there were surprises. Who’d have thought that a designer’s memory of a bookshop would be a sound? Or that sound would build into a love of print?

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