As ever, my life has been hectic with things related to my business, the studio and of course home life – I knew I hadn’t written a blog post for a while; well Christmas was the last one I remembered. What I hadn’t realised was that I never posted anything about the second Metal Ages sculpture, and that was well, AGES ago!
Back at the end of September, we finally got the opportunity to install the final sculpture at Erewash Museum in Ilkeston. I say ‘we’ – that would be me with the camera and occasionally passing a drill or screwdriver, and Gavin & Mark doing the lifting, carrying, digging, drilling….
This one is a rather large sculpture. It’s over two metres high, and about two and a half metres wide. It is made up of 7,000 nuts, which represents the size of the workforce when Stanton Ironworks was in it’s heyday. It has four ‘vines’ growing from the ground, which represent the four main foundries that could be found in the Ilkeston area back in the 1900’s. Across the middle is a shank, used for pouring molten metal in a foundry. The centre of this holds a glass disk, which like the ‘Old Men & Pipes‘ sculpture at King George Gallery is inspired by the ‘fire in the sky’ that was ever present when Stanton was a busy place, and also representing new beginnings.
It’s up!I’ve had a few sleepless nights lately, and yesterday I nearly wore a whole through the carpet in anticipation, although we were thwarted by the weather. All in the name of intalling the Olympic Legacy Wall at Kirk Hallam (KHCTSC)Today, the weather was a little kinder, and the rain held off. A few hairy moments when it was being lifted onto it’s brackets, as it’s so heavy, it’s there, and I think it looks rather good!I will come back later and post a more detailed account of the project and fill in any gaps from before, but I am just so excited, pleased (and relieved!) to see it up, I had to post this image – including scaffolding and humans to give you an idea of scale. It is placed around 3 metres up from the ground to the lower edge, glad I didn’t have to climb the scaffold tower!
The Olmypic Legacy Wall
Not long now, metal framework in progress, over the next few days I’ll be putting the whole thing together and getting it installed… Me, nervous?
Been a while since I posted about this….it’s a faily slow process really, as it is a matter of juggling days that the school were available, lots of patience waiting for clay to dry, and then kilns to fire and cool down again. This amount of tiles took several firings!A few weeks ago, the year 10s at KHCTSC made the 48 tiles that are going to make up the final artwork, this isnt’an exact one, but a sample we did first to test the technique, the clay and the kiln itself.
Sample TileWe used a heavily grogged terracotta clay from Valentines Clays in Stoke (where else?) – this clay, as well as being strong, has loads of texture to add interest, and is forgiving to work with! We sliced into approximately one inch thick slabs that were then ‘stamped’ with the plaster blocks the students had made at a previous section. Each tile is a different shape, each one hand made, and each one stamped with a different selection of plaster blocks. As all the students made one or two each, there’s lots of lovely variety – some students chose to stamp with one design on a tile, some with only part sections and different designs, and another was multiple stamped with the same design. I loved the diversity and it felt like the students really ‘got’ my idea about being free and random with it – it can be quite difficult to convey the process as its quite lengthy – it isn’t possible to demonstrate this from start to finish, only in stages, so I’ve had to ask the students and staff at the school to have a little bit of blind faith that it will all come good! Giant Template!
So, all tiles should now be fired, and waiting for the final assembly stage. One or two more stages to go, one of which is the frame – I can’t do much about this as I can’t weld! But I did have to make a template for the steel fabricators and it was doing this that made me realise just how big this project is! It took most of the kitchen floor….
The other part I have to do is some digital art work – around 150 students submitted designs at the start of the project of which we selected 20 to convert into the plaster ‘stamps’. But we are actually using everybody’s art in the final piece and this involves me scanning in all the 10cm designs…. one by one! And I will be compiling them into one big montage for the back drop of the whole work.
Watch this space!