The Scale Model for a lovely commission for a beautiful Care Home in Carmarthenshire got a very warm and positive response and after months of workshops, planning and very careful thought the build has started.
As usual I’ve over -designed for the budget… but that’s my prerogative- I always stick to my quoted fee and how many hours I put in is up to me.I get a buzz out of challenge and this piece has steep leans , a very complex form and very strong themes that must be stuck to.
It has been developed from content gathered from other Artists on the Team working in a range of creative styles and with some extraordinary Primary School pupils.
The children’s ideas were so sophisticated, profound and complex. For example; After spending a series of workshops with the Home’s Residents making tiles for the Plinth, they built the idea that life is a journey full of change and phases so they wanted to see a pathway that traveled around the sculpture. They wanted a warm , welcoming form that harnessed the rain ( that falls very regularly here in Wales!) to create pools and flowing rivers that represented the Love that is all around us and flows through our lives. Wonderful!
Many of the Residents have Dementia and all are very disabled. But they joined in, charmed by these adorable kids, and it was their warmth and sincerity the children picked up on. They talked about many of the harsh realities of their long lives; war, poverty, mining, loss.And the joys; the beautiful landscape of the country they love, pets, family, work.
When your Commissioners pour so much of themselves into the consultation phase you owe them something stunning. That includes Arts Care Gofal Celf who are running this 2 year, multi -Artist project with Gwalia and they are both a joy to work for.
So this piece is full of metaphors and symbols. And, I hope, the grace and integrity of the many people who brought it together.
Near the Studio is the beautiful valley I go to regularly (the River Series came from there) and it is the perfect place to support this Sculpture. And it certainly rained enough this winter.
The Sculpture will be 1metre 40cm high plus the Plinth and 1m 80cm wide.
I always make scale model people too so I have the eye-lines right. They help to illustrate the scale.
Measuring carefully from the Model the piece is coil-built using a variety of coil methods . The details are roughed in as the lower sections will necessarily get hard to support the weight of the following layers. Timing is everything. I do use fans and supports but if you mess too much with the drying phases you may well get cracks. If you work too fast it will collapse and I hate it when that happens.
There are internal support-walls and buttresses. The piece will be cut in large sections for the firing and these are pre-planned very carefully. The structure has be strong while wet , when dry,when being dismantled and moved to the kiln , through the fire, when being installed and then when it stands for decades, centuries even, in a public place. The site in this instance is a very lovely , sheltered Court-yard Garden with handsome landscaping. There wont be a problem with people climbing on it etc so I could allow some delicacy but non-the-less it is a sturdy design although I am aiming for a light, flowing feeling.