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:


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Rebecca Gouldson