Saturday, 20 December 2014

Visit to Lion Salt works, Northwich

As part of my public art project for Barons Quay in Northwich, I'll be working with the soon to open 'Lion Salt Works' near Northwich.  Industrial buildings have been beautifully restored and converted into museum and cafe / shop, along with education facilities.  I'm planning to work with Lorna from the salt works, to facilitate workshops with school students, creating artwork images for the project's IMAGE BANK.

Public Art project completed in Denbigh

Made it back to Denbigh on Monday to see the completed public artworks on Broomhill lane.  Artists Joss Smith and Ann Catrin Evans and local blacksmith Dyfed Wyn Jones created sculpture and sineage for the lane, sitting alongside my recently installed manhole covers.

Joss made a large circular cast Aluminium sculpture along with two smaller sculptures for two corbels.

"Joss Smith created a large scale relief sculpture and built it into the wall itself, which was dismantled and re-built by a local stone waller. The relief is in the shape of the iris of an eye, filled with flower motifs (including the broom flower) which reference the story of Blodeuwedd from the Mabinogion. She was a woman created by Math and Gwydion from nine types of flowers - broom, meadowsweet, oak blossom, primrose, cockle, bean, nettle, chestnut and hawthorn. Married to Llew Llaw Gyffes, she later fell in love with Gronw Pebyr and betrayed her husband by finding out how he could be killed and arranging his death with Gronw. However, Gwydion, avenged his nephew Llew by changing Blodeuwedd into an owl, the most hated of all birds. Some say that Gwydion pursued the faithless Blodeuwedd through the night sky, and a path of white flowers sprang up in the wake of her passing, which we today know as the Milky Way. Joss makes reference to these parts of the story with two small scale sculptures installed on the wall above the lane, of an owl in flight, and the milky way." Mererid Velios, Celfwaith

 Ann worked with Dyfed to create a finger post, signposting the castle, bespoke window grilles and lighting for the lane.

"Finger post, window grilles and light fittings by Ann Catrin Evans, Dyfed Wyn Jones and Brian Fell
An existing black painted finger post at the bottom of the lane was not visible enough to mark the important route. A new finger post was made, painted in brighter colours and incorporating the town's motif of the key. The base of the post includes stylised broom flowers, followed by stylised leaves, topped by the 'Castell / Castle' sign below a large key.
Along the right side of the lane black painted, plain window grilles gave the impression that the lane was unsafe. These grilles were replaced with individually crafted grilles, depicting the broom flower, keys, flames, and weapons.
Four existing wall-mounted light fittings along the lane were of modern design and not in keeping with the historic character of the area. Bespoke light fittings were created in the form of large broom flowers that help to lead the eye to the lane from both directions.  " Mererid Velios, Celfwaith

Click here for more information about the commission

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A day at the Institute of Making

I spent yesterday amongst 40 makers exploring the materials library, and playing around with 'stuff' at the Institute of Making.    Hosted by Dr Zoe Laughlin, Co-founder and Director of the institute, along with Richard and Arron, of R&A Collaboration,  who also documented the event.

As well as being the right balance of informative and fun, it was a great opportunity to meet some talented makers and get carried away talking about, amongst other things; where to source the best metal mesh, how long plasti-dip takes to dry, and importantly, how lucky we are to work for ourselves, doing a job we love. 

Highlights of the day included pewter casting in cuttle fish moulds, crocheting in fine copper wire, and fishing 'coolmorph' thermoplastic out of warm water with chopsticks, ready to mould and sculpt with our hands.

 Shelves of wood and metal samples in the materials library.  Each material in the library has a unique number, and is searchable on the library's own app, downloadable from the Apple App store.

Zoe explained that the workshops are designed to be domestic in scale so that one machine sits enticingly next to another, encouraging exploration of more than just the tools you came in to use.  Workshops can be intimidating places for the un-initiated; you search for a 'way in', some way to get started.  Here, not only are the workshops deliberately un-intimidating, but technical help is on hand to help UCL staff and students make something for their course / research, or just for fun.

A rich and meaningful engagement with materials is at the heart of the Institute of Making. I am in awe.

Here's a link to Richard & Arron's photos of the day:

Thursday, 27 November 2014

In the press!

Yesterday, I appeared in the Northwich Guardian, talking about my new Public Art project at the soon to be build Barons Quay development, which will sit on top of a disused and recently filled, historic salt mine.


 Here's a link to the online version of the article:

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

MAKE: SHIFT Crafts Council conference

I spent two days last week immersed in craft innovation.

I'm really interested in the idea of collaborating; with industry, museums, science....  This was a really great opportunity to hear about makers doing exactly that: 

Matt Duran's collaboration with medical research at the Royal Free hospital in London, to create glass moulds for growing a polymer in, which provides the scaffolding for new noses. More here

Designer / Maker  Lizete Druka; project designer, Advanced Colour & Materials at Jaguar.

Sara Robertson and Sarah Taylor showed us their incredible innovative cloth that incorporates light;
made from black Holland Linen printed with a newly developed, white-scattering liquid crystal thermochromic dye, polymer optical fibres and heat sinks.  More information here

I was so inspired by Dr Sarat Babu's passion for creating new materials through new manufacturing processes.  Below are samples of architectured materials developed through selective laser sintering.  More here

Finally, I missed her talk, but am a huge fan of what Fi Scott of Make Works has achieved; an online comprehensive directory of Scottish makers, manufacturers, material suppliers and factories.   When can we have one for England!

MATERIAL LAB's Jim Biddulph writes a great blog report from the conference:

Monday, 17 November 2014

Metal under attack from the elements!

The wonders of ageing metal outside of ‘metal sheets’ metal suppliers on the outskirts of Liverpool.  These beautiful colours appear over time when metal is stored or used outside.   I’m really excited about harness these ageing processes, and using them to my advantage to create outdoor metal artworks and facades.  Watch this space…

 See my existing outdoor pieces here

Saturday, 1 November 2014

A walk around Ravsted, Denmark

Today, as a little diversion from work in Ravstedhus studio, we went for a walk to see Ravsted church and its beautiful lead roof.  Also stumbled accross some very attractive plastic objects with subtle, aged green surfaces.
 An electro- etched copper sample with fine mono- print marks etched in to the surface.

And to end the day.... The best steak I've ever eaten at a local restaurant.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Enamelling weekend in Denmark

Last night, I drove myself and three enamellers, four hours SW of Copenhagen to Ravstedhus,  where we're spending the weekend, along with several other British enamellers, and Tom & Inge; Danish jeweller / enamellers.    We'll be sharing ideas, eating lovely food, and hopefully making some interesting work.

My challenge for the weekend is to learn electro-etching, and also have a play with incorporating copper in to vitreous enamel using ideas sparked by a conversation with two amazing enamellers, Phil and Sarah last night.

My work bench with copper samples ready to be electro etched and then enamelled.

 The Ravstedhus workshop this misty morning....

 The wonderful master enameller Ruth Ball at her bench.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

'Manhole' covers installed!

An enjoyable day in Denbigh, North Wales installing my 7 individual 'manhole' covers.  Tony and Paul from Photocast joined me at site with all seven cast covers weighing down their car, and the rain just held off for the three hours it took to install.  Before long, local people were walking past and stopping to have a good look.   I was particularly touched when the first of the seven covers was christened by a little present from a pigeon nest above....

CLICK HERE for more pictures


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Rebecca Gouldson