Clay HUGS – A gift from the Bovey Basin during Lockdown 2020
by Dr Lu La Buzz
HUGS is a special type of clay known only to clay workers in the Bovey Basin. It occurs where two distinct seams of Ball Clay merge together and become one. The clay HUGS featured above, which I have dressed in orange ribbon to match my safety jacket, was presented to me by quarry manager Darrin Hewings, during a visit to Southacre Quarry last year. Whist onsite Darrin, who is a 5th generation clay cutter, also demonstrated the official sigh for HUGS which can be ‘read’ by quarry workers over long distances.
In our current times of lockdown and social isolation, this extraordinary clay – lovingly named HUGS – is a reassuring emblem of strength, compassion and unity.
Darrin and his present team of clay cutters have continued to dig clay throughout lockdown, but will close for a week in May to rest and spend time with their families.
Warm wishes to all. Take care and stay well,
Dr Lu La Buzz
Artist, Educator and Champion of Clay
With special thanks to Darrin Hewings of Sibelco for sharing his industrial knowledge.