The ducks were commissioned by Taylor Woodrow (Stephen Appleton), for a Designated Play Area within their new development at Spire View in Salisbury. Mandy Hounsome landscape architect at RPS Design in Bristol designed the overall scheme and Salisbury City Council parks officer Reg Williams oversaw progress. The project was completed in the winter of 2006.
It was the first project I had made in the new studio at the bottom of my garden away from the freezing cold barn where I had worked for years in all seasons. It was also the first project that gave me the opportunity to work in bronze and I relished working on the wax models ready for the lost wax process at Bronze Age.
In the background was the Whales Tail frustratingly delayed at every possible turn. This project however flowed well and was a great boost to morale.
Initially I made an adult duck and a duckling out of clay and cast plaster moulds that I used to create wax versions for the foundry. I used an emus egg for the heart-shaped love-nest that forms the centre point of the scheme. The casting work was carried out very efficiently and I did all the finishing and patinating when the bronzes came back from the foundry. I also welded stainless steel studding to the underside of the ducks to secure them to the pre cast concrete pads onto which the ducks would be chemically grouted. The idea proposed by RPS was to make visible the culverted Summerlock Stream that flows beneath the development. The river-stone pebble landscaping reflects that flow of water and the four ducks, eight ducklings and nest were commissioned as the artwork for the environment.
I was also asked to write some words for a plaque that went with the work..
Summerlock Stream flows under your feet. The ducks, seats and stones in the play area are for you.
Ask your children 'Can you find the Golden Duckling and see the smiling one? How many can you see and which one would you like to be?'