Drought Stone I, 2022, sandstone carving at Rudyard Lake, Staffordshire
First of a series of stone carvings bearing witness to drought and flood levels as extreme weather becomes normalised.
A hunger stone (German: Hungerstein) is a type of hydrological landmark common in Central Europe. Hunger stones serve as famine memorials and warnings and were erected in Germany and in ethnic German settlements throughout Europe in the 15th through 19th centuries.
These stones were embedded into a river during droughts to mark the water level as a warning to future generations that they will have to endure famine-related hardships if the water sinks to this level again. One famous example in the Elbe river in Děčín, Czech Republic, has "Wenn du mich siehst, dann weine" ("If you see me, then weep") carved into it as a warning.
In 2022 we saw rivers and lakes water levels fall to extremes. This piece of contemporary artwork will form part of a new set of warning stones to mark low water levels. Next year, if we see them again we will know that this is a pattern rather than an event. I will return to have a ceremonial opening for the drought stone and to add 2023 to the carving. I plan to mark flood levels as well, and plan a series of Fire Memorials on the moors.