The Syncopats are generally circular sculptures that incorporate several different pieces of forged steel. The idea is of circular, excentrifical/magnetic forces that are manifest through the shaping of the components. Pieces interact, meet invisible forces born in intense heat, changing shape and generally rockin' and rollin' together. Never the same they are becoming a new series in my current work Spring 2016
Rachel Nightingale of the Isle of Wight AONB Project organised the commission that took place at Gurnard School and culminated in an Archway, a Seat and some stamped labels naming different types of tree in their orchard.
Partners were Southern Arts, the Tree Council, the Gurnard Environmental Group and the friends of Gurnard school. I worked with All the children at the school and ended up with an incredible amount of material to choose from for artworks for their reclaimed orchard. The area was conceived as an outside classroom; a place providing recreational and educational qualities as well as an introduction to growing food in the allotment that would end up being used in cookery lessons.
I made labels out of letter punched steel for ten different types of apple tree; Bramleys Seedling, Blenheim Orange, Golden Noble, Millicent Barnes, Starks Earliest, Newton Wonder, Deacons Blushing Beauty and the Sir John Thorneycroft.
The shape for the Archway was found in a tiny drawing of a waterspout and the plan of the seat from a drawing showing the relationship between the island and the mainland.
During the early stages, to make the whole process more accessible I looked for a workshop on the island but ended up making everything at my own premises on the mainland. At one point a group of children came over to see the work in progress.
Upon completion early in 1997 there was the ’ Local Character Day’ conference where Sue Clifford of Common Ground spoke about local distinctiveness and Robert Hutchinson Director of Southern Arts spoke about the role of the Arts on the Island. I also spoke celebrating what a great little project it had been.
I made several 'Bird tables, in the eighties some of which live in peoples gardens and a couple in my own. It gives form to sculptural ideas and was made at a time when I felt 'The Work' needed some disguise in order to keep some money flowing for more important pieces.
In the Field
After a successful application to a listing in the AN (Artists Newsletter) in 1997 I was commissioned to conceive and make a sculpture for the villages of North and South Kestevan by the local District Council. The commission was managed by Nick Jones and funded by the Arts Council and some local contributions. The structure of the sculpture, made out of steel, was based upon the field patterns shown on local maps and included icons that referred to the history of the place and its location.
The public were consulted and I spent some time in the neighbourhood living in a caravan and going to meetings to find out about the area. Some of the imagery reflected the local RAF base during WW2 alongside local personalities such as Douglas Bader and stories like the twin engined Mosquito Fighter bomber and architectural features such as the windmill with grains of wheat.
Often in council run public artworks the brief required low maintenance so the sculpture was left to Rust in Peace!
Pics and Text to follow
The little stainless steel sculpture 60 cm x 60cm is a conglomeration of imagery used in the brown signs seen on sign posts on roads and motorways and was made in 2004.
The image is of a cyclist jumping off a rippling wave with a paddle; no hands and airborne. A positive take on the phrase ‘up the creek without a paddle’; here the cyclist is paddling like crazy in a state of equilibrium.
It was made after the giant Cricket Stumps at the Rose Bowl and the Locomotive emerging from the wall of the Railway arms in Alton. Both these pieces made me wonder if I was becoming a maker of brown signs! I would like to make some more one day. Perhaps it is a maquette for some larger pieces.