Come Along Girls

It’s January 2021. I go down to the studio and catch up with my standing figure again.
She has no arms, but her shoulders suggest they are reaching back and without a thought her arms collect two girls.

It feels different to anything I have done.

The intimacy of the support is a felt emotion,
I work close and an arm goes round a shoulder,

then stepping back I am shocked all over again.

Shocked how they ended up in the studio,
the three of them
Strong girls, standing there.

 

Their newness I find exciting. The energy they create is exhausting
The fact that the base was made for one and it wobbles… unnerving.

The studio is cold
but not miserable.
The solitude is intense
but not unpleasant.

I have my sisters here.

I reached back
and
found two children.

Come on guys
keep up.

They are rock and leaf.

Sometimes a hand just holds a shoulder but sometimes the clay looks like a cliff face
and other times it’s a river falling through time,
flowing over form.

The clay moves around

give and take
you to me
me to you
Come along.

You may see a felt feeling.
Family.
What you know.

I don’t know.
Is it my lost children?
or myself… lost?

Or am I
not
in fact lost.

I just went and
got myself.

Come on girls. It’s ok.
Come along.

Place I

220cms high. Hole approx 60cms. Figure 29 to 35cms figures tall, head 172cms high.
84 cms high on 110cms high solid oak plinth

In polished stainless, the viewer stands in front of the sculpture. The viewer stands looking at herself within her immediate surroundings. Then a space, a circular gap in the reflection, another space. Within it stands a figure looking to a view, a distant place.

Prices

  • 220cms Polished Stainless £48,000
  • 220cms Corten £24,000
  • 84cms Polished Stainless Steel £19,800
  • 84cms Bronze £27,800
  • 84cms Corten or Iron Resin £POA

All prices approximate and subject to change, any fixings and base extra.

Material Options

Place could be made in corten, rusted mild steel, polished stainless or wood.

My preferred option because of the concept of Place, would be polished stainless. The viewer stands looking at self within landscape. Then a circular gap in the reflection, another space. Within it stands a figure looking to a view, a distant place.

Corten or Mild Steel Rusted

On a clear day, facing the sky, a circle of blue all the more intense, set off against the red of corten like a painting. If it’s cloudy then the figure within the sculpture comes more to the fore.

Images showing sculptures by Richard Serra made from steel but gives the idea and colour of corten
Images showing sculptures by Richard Serra made from steel but gives the idea and colour of corten

Fabricated Wood

‘Place’ could potentially be made out of fabricated oak. I would need to do some more research on the detailing of the hole and how much movement there would be in the oak.


Images from English Oak Buildings who I work with

Mirror Polished Stainless Steel

A highly reflective surface that acts like a mirror, reflecting and framing ‘Place’.

The flat surface of ‘Place’ would not be so distorted as in the pictures below so would be more of a direct mirror projecting light and views.


Images showing Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor and Jeff Koons Balloon Dog.

Background to Place

The figure in Place is based on a poem.

I Have It Here

Sometimes it’s easy to focus on the have not
rather than the have.
The could be, possibly, should be
rather than the have.

I have enough stuff. I have time,
I have life.

I possibly could, possibly should
have more
but I have some, I have enough.

I look outside, over there, under here
but look I have it here.

Look
I have it here.

Look
I have it here.


Details of figure

The figure comes from the poem, I Have It Here, so she has her eyes closed. This represents the idea that she has what she needs within herself, it is empowering. But depending on its location, she may want to animate the space in front, bringing that space to the viewers mind and so she may have her eyes open.

The steel circle I think it’s been with me all my sculpting life. At art college I was brought up on Anthony Caro and abstract steel sculpture, I rejected as I was uncertain on what to do with it, but here it comes into my work, life indeed has circles.

Sometimes, you make a piece of work which is the piece you have always being trying to make, what your work is fundamentally about, even though you can’t quite pinpoint what that is. Which is good because if everything could be explained with words then what’s the point my job.

I Am

‘I Am’ was made when I first moved to the mountains. The black mountains near Hay on Wye, home, like the Yorkshire Dales. A feeling of self crept in, maybe even contented self.
Peace.
I didn’t care who I was or wasn’t. I just was. I Am.
I woke in the dark this morning, just below the mountains, a few days after mother’s day and words arrived.

I will never be a Mam, a Mummy, a Mum.
Just carol.

I will never be a Nana or a Gran or Granny.
Just carol.

I am a daughter now but as we both get older there is no hiding the space opening up behind us. Filled for Mummy by my sister’s children but empty on my line.
Cavernous is too small an adjective.

Head on the pillow, over and over the words churn, not unhappily, because when words come they mend, darn an irritating hole, express and lighten an unmapped heaviness. Mothers Day, Easter, Christmas, Summer Holidays, they come round, I am used to the large empty caves. I don’t even want children now but the echo is always there, ready to rise up for special occasions.

Warm bed, warm flesh, skin on skin in a dark cold room brought the words of a new sculpture I am making called ‘You and Me’. Simple but huge.
Three words are etched into bronze over and over like a chant or prayer, as if in the confusion of moving to a big city we may loose each other but in this new place we are strong, you and me….and Molly. Three words muddle until I become you and you become me and

Without you
I am not me.

In half sleep these words became a happy merry go round.
Part of me is you.
And I thought about the weekend, tonight and I know I am a friend.
Maybe a few times over.
And I thought about my family and I know I am a sister.
Twice.

But where am I. Self hatred beats I. I is loathed.
And I know it is true because it makes me suddenly sob. Pathetically.
Deep from the core of my hated self.

I makes sculpture.
They have frailties, they are not shouters,
they are quite and amazing and strong.

Maybe I could be like them.
Standing tall, outstretched arms.
I could be I Am.
We all could be I Am.

Plane Trees

Man in shop : Are you local?
Me : Yes

Today I walk through London Fields with Molly. Overcome with the beauty of an avenue I try and draw the plane trees again, as I did this time last year.

To think I could draw them, understand them in a matter of hours when they have been here doing their stuff for three times my lifetime. Their history is rich and deep, they sit together, making patterns on the grass but I feel relaxed because I think I will have time with them.

They think the land we walk through at least twice a day is called London Fields because it was on the main footpath from Essex to the City of London. When you crossed this field you were only 2 miles from the City gate. It was one of the many ‘commonable lands’ of Hackney where the commoners of the parish could graze their livestock on the fields from Lammas Day to Lady Day*. This arrangement was known as Lammas Rights and was protected by law.

Campaigners saved the land from ‘predaceous developers’ who were nibbling at the edges of London Fields claiming the ‘Lammas rights as little used and of no value’. They won, it was made into a park and fresh grass seed was sown and the trees planted.

One hundred and fifty seven years later this same land holds huge trunks that split strong into wide yearning branches ending in twisty reaching twigs whimsically projecting last years seed which hang like tiny babbles silhouetted against a dense blue sky. Parakeets pootel about on their patterned boughs and their calls fill the air and take me to Barcelona, our last adventure.

 

43 | Dandelion Seed

‘Today is mine. I feel severed. Like most of me has been hacked off and the remainder rises under a canopy like a dandelion seed, I waft about wonderfully with no apparent direction. Yes I am still a couple of stone overweight but I feel light. Not confused, and so free it makes me want to cry.’

 

But this adventure is different. London’s veins run deep and have echoes from my past. This move is heavier, feels more permanent.

Time has been traveling super fast as I shuffle boxes in-between Bristol, Wales and London. But as the boxes begin to settle it seems London will be my heavy space. My getting stuff done space. The plinths, the shelves, the logistics, the finishing, the shows.

Maybe people’s perception of artists is they are like dandelion seeds but being a sculptor with ambition does not make you free. Excited, exhilarated and sometimes scared, yes, but free, seldom.

It’s been an unsettling and frustrating time of making no sculpture. But today is Sunday, it’s quite and things are becoming clear. I realise how lucky I am. My hypochondria is on high alert only because I am so excited about what is to come. London is my heavy space and also my learning space, my input space. Wales, the chapel with it’s white boards and lofty room, the Olchon valley, Hay’s Bluff …that’s my light space. That’s where I can be a dandelion, safe in the knowledge I have created my own breeze, where I can make, I can woft, I can be free.

Man in shop : Are you an artist?
Me : Yes
Man in shop : You look like an artist.
Man in shop : I meant that as a compliment.

 

Reference 

http://jonmartindesigns.com/Mike/Londonfieldshistory (pdf)

*from Lammas Day (Anglo Saxon for bread mass), August 1st, celebrating the first loaf after the crops had been harvested, to Lady Day, March 25th.