Studio Diary ,The Tumble Commission pt 7; Installation.

From the outset the many people from Arts Care Gofal Celf, Gwalia and Mynydd Marw involved in this 2 year , multi-fasceted, Baring Foundation ‘Yma a Nawr’ project have put in their all to make it out-standing. After the excellent Installation of the Sirhowy Wyvern I knew that Andrew Preece and his team at Smartfix Property Maintenance would also do whatever it takes to make this Sculpture look fantastic. They are incredibly picky and fastidious, it’s marvellous. Best materials,committed craftsmanship, and they always stick to the Budget no matter how much extra time they have to put in.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Smartfix Property Maintenance at Mynnyd Mawr, Tumble

Smartfix Property Maintenance at Mynydd Mawr, Tumble

Moving the heavy sections around meant 4 men had to be on site.

Moving the heavy sections around meant 4 men had to be on site.

The 2 bottom sections are lowered over rebars set into the solid plinth and foundations.

The 2 bottom sections are lowered over rebars set into the solid plinth and foundations.

It was critical to get the position of these first sections correct.

It was critical to get the position of these first sections correct.

The sections are filled with concrete and left overnight to set.

The sections are filled with concrete and left overnight to set.

Once everything has set the supports can be removed and the joints pointed.

Once everything has set the supports can be removed and the joints pointed.

The charming tiles, made by pupils at Llannon Primary School and residents at Mynnyd Mawr are laid out in a measured pattern.

The charming tiles, made by pupils at Llannon Primary School and residents at Mynydd Mawr are laid out in a measured pattern.

Andrew and Phil set the tiles.

Andrew and Phil set the tiles.

I did the glass with Andrew.

I did the glass with Andrew.

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Studio Diary, Landscape Project, pt 5.

The Leviathan in progress, Sept 2014.

The Leviathan in progress, Sept 2014

Frame-works for The Wyvern IV and, in the back ground, The Leviathan.

Frame-works for The Wyvern IV and, in the back ground, The Leviathan.

The second framework has become the Leviathan, the guardian of the Aquasphere as The Wyvern is the guardian of the Lithosphere. I will make more versions. These will have a pale gold colour. Next I will make a larger Osprey, guardian of thew Atmosphere, in the same  clay(Scarva ES50 Crank) and then move to the black clays and re-do the set.

The Leviathan in progress, Sept 2014.

The Leviathan in progress, Sept 2014.

The Wyvern and The  Leviathan. in progress, Sept 2014.

The Wyvern and The Leviathan. in progress, Sept 2014.

 

Studio Diary, Landscape Project pt 4.

The Wyvern IV, Sept 2014

The Wyvern IV, Sept 2014

The frame-work for this one was much more developed and lead the form. I made a second one so I could keep the flow going around the drying periods but I didn’t need to break from Wyvern IV; it was strong enough.

Frame-work for The Wyvern IV.

Frame-work for The Wyvern IV.

This is asking a lot of a clay. But this is Scarva ES50 again and reckon I’ll get away with it.

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Studio Diary. Landscape Project, pt3

The Wyvern and the Osprey, 2014.

The Wyvern and the Osprey, 2014.

The story is coming together. My policy of don’t ask too many questions, let the work flow, put in the hours,review completed forms, is working well.

Porth Yr Ogof Cave, Brecon Beacons, by Steve Foote.

Porth Yr Ogof Cave, Brecon Beacons, by Steve Foote.This image and the memory of being down there is still key.

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Balarat Pit Marker, 6m L x 2m H, Blaengarw, Wales.

Balarat Pit Marker, 6m L x 2m H, Blaengarw, Wales.

The idea of the Wyvern, guardian within the land ,started with the Balarat Pit Marker although I didn’t know the name. The Wyvern is a force and can take many forms. The Harbingers I’ve made are similar figures.

River Harbinger,2012

River Harbinger,2012

The Wyvern III, 2014

The Wyvern III, 2014

These busts are developing slowly as my portrait skills heat up and I can work more freely.

Studio Diary, The Landscape Project, part 1

Busts in progress, Aug 2014.

Busts in progress, Aug 2014.

Lots of changes, lots of layers.This is the main photo I am  focussing on; The sky, the land and the ocean and man’s presence – everything is integrated.

Bracelet Bay, Mumbles, Swansea by Steve Foote.

Bracelet Bay, Mumbles, Swansea, by Stephen Foote, 2014.

These 2 pictures and the experience of being in both these places is never far from my mind these days.

Porth Yr Ogof Cave, Brecon Beacons, by Stephen Foote.2014

Porth Yr Ogof Cave, Brecon Beacons, by Stephen Foote.2014

A narrative is emerging that involves the passage of water from the Beacons’ sky to the ocean at the bottom of the Swansea Valley. The Tawe River passes the Studio and the ground beneath us is full of  tunnels from the rivers and from mining. The Wyvern, a dragon with a wonderful mythology about guarding the treasures of the subterranean world entered the picture when I was heavily involved with the history of local Coal Mining and  the Pit Marker Sculptures and it is re-emerging here. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe next clay-armature is more specific now that I have a clearer idea of where I’m going.

3rd Bust armature in progress, Aug 2014.

3rd Bust armature in progress, Aug 2014.

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in progress, Aug 2014.

in progress, Aug 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

Studio Diary, The Tumble Commission, part 6.

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You learn a lot about your own work from watching a skilled Photographer taking pictures of it. You get a more objective view. The lights are certainly a merciless test of your planes and edges. Stephen Foote’s top quality lenses will pick up every flaw.

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I went over the whole piece with fine portrait tools and his perfect pictures reward that. I’m very inspired by the excellent craftsmanship of  stone or glass artists like Sally Fawkes (http://www.sallyfawkes.com ) her process is incredibly harsh and difficult yet she doesn’t back off until her stunning sculptures are flawless. Clay is way easier but avoiding marks when you are handling the piece is a constant battle

Sally Fawkes 'Perceiving Significance II' photo ;Richard Jackson

Sally Fawkes ‘Perceiving Significance II’ photo ;Richard Jackson

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After a spell of controlled drying it’s time cut the sections. Luckily I have a fantastic Assistant, Michael Preece. I spent a lot of time  planning the cuts; we have opted for large sections and I needed to ensure they would fit in the kiln and be handleable. Mike  used a variety of tools to make the cuts and he and my son Daniel lifted the sections to thick memory foam where they will stay for at least a month.

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Working in clay you always have an eye on the Drying and Firing -Plan; accommodating  these long drying periods where the atmosphere needs to be controlled and having the right sized pieces ready to pack nice full kilns that will distribute the heat evenly.

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I went round all the edges of the cuts and tidied them and repaired any dings. I will cover the sections with sheets to ward off drafts and turn them regularly. Most cracks form at this stage although they may not show up until after the Firing.

 

 

 

Studio Diary; The Tumble Commission, part 4.

 

 

 

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Almost there- it’s down to finishing touches now. I’ve re-done the head about 90 times and I’m still not happy with it. The Sculpture is wrapped in plastic to rest and settle.I will un-wrap it with fresh eyes and be better able to see what’s needed. In theory.  Once the top feels firm I will remove those internal supports- a scary moment ; it could collapse which is why you need to have a ‘sensibly'(pessimistically ) long build time!  The supports have to come out because they are restricting the shrinkage and soon they will start causing damage. That broom will never be the same.  The outside supports will stay to the end and those sections will get their finishing touches during dismantling.

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Andrew Preece of Smart-fix, my expert Installer came over and we plotted the sections. It’s great having his early input. I never compromise on the form but Andrew can advise on structural issues so that the Installation goes smoothly and we get the best result.

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Sculpture in the Garden

_F147690A Sculpture will transform any Garden, huge or pocket-sized, elaborate or austere. It will need to be made of beautiful, quality materials that have a radiance complimentary to your gorgeous plants. A piece needs to be frost-proof and easily cleaned. No material is as durable or as low maintenance as high-fired Clay.

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I make simple , movable plinths with old bricks and attractive stone paving tiles. Dig a hole and put in some bricks to make a foundation if the Sculpture is tall or very heavy, then build a hollow plinth with a small doorway that can double as a safe, cosy home for wild-life. If security is an issue or the piece is tall and vulnerable to high winds sink a stake into the ground, build the plinth around this and have the stake go into the Sculpture- many of my Sculptures are hollow and you can set them securely with cement if needs be.IMG_20190504_175930057My garden is 8 years old and is now really coming into it’s own. IMG_20190328_105048782IMG_20190504_180149583

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The River, commission.

The River, commission.

Wyvern II, 70cm H x 52cm W. £850.

Wyvern II, 70cm H x 52cm W. £1100. (sold)

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Up is Down XV, £300 (sold)

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Harbinger I, £600. (sold)

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Up is Down XVI, 26cm H x 56cm L, £300.

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Up is Down II, 42cm H x 90cm L, £950.

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Half a Century III, 40cm H, £150.(sold)

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Some of the Sculpture is fresh from the Kiln and new work will be on the go in the Studio.

River Harbinger, 125cm H, £950

River Harbinger, at Wyndcliffe Court Sculpture Garden, 125cm H, £950 (sold)

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The River III, 80cm H, £500

The River III, 80cm H, £500 Sold

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The Edge III, 57cm H, £600, (sold).

I freely admit I spend countless hours staring into the pond ''thinking''...there are Newts !!

Callipygous, 41cm H x 73cm L, £600.

Callipygous, 41cm H x 73cm L, £600. (sold)

In the winter sculptures give the garden focal points and structure while the plants rest.

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Up is Down IV, 44cm H x 58cm L, £2400 (sold)

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Up is Down II, 80cm L, £300

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Harbinger I, £600. (sold)

The Garden backs right onto the wonderful country-side of the Brecon Beacons National Park

Osprey Studios Garden backs right onto the wonderful country-side of the Brecon Beacons National Park

Sculptures will define each area of your garden. This patio at the end of the garden is a calm, reflective place with dappled shade in the summer and warm sun in spring and autumn. In the winter the sculpture stands out and is eye catching from the house.

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Up is Down II, 41cm H x 80cm L, £300.

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Musings, 21cm H, £150. (sold)

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Musings, 20cm H, £150.(sold)

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The Edge XI, 77cm L x 49cm H, £300

The Edge I , 52cm H, £730.(sold)

The Edge I , 52cm H, £730.(sold)

The Edge XII, 71.5cm L x 46.5cm H x 40cm D.

The Edge XII, 71.5cm L x 46.5cm H x 40cm D. £1400 (sold)

The Edge XI, 77cm L x 49cm H x 40cm D.

The Edge XI, 77cm L x 49cm H x 40cm D. £300

Wyndcliffe Court Sculpture Gardens.

Henry Moore said that a sculpture was not complete until it was in the place it’s owner chose for it. It is wonderful to see my pieces transformed by new settings; it is the best part of delivering work to Exhibitions.

Wyndcliffe Court is a truly lovely place. You follow a narrow winding road past old-fashioned meadows and woodland to reach the beautiful house.

Wyndcliffe Court has extensive, mature Topiary.

Wyndcliffe Court has extensive, mature Topiary.

 

Wyndcliffe Court Gardens are Grade II listed and designed in the Arts and Crafts style. Situated along the Wye Valley between Chepstow and Tintern, they are beautiful formal gardens with views to the south and east. Open every weekend, they are showcasing contemporary sculptures by local and well-known British artists. Open from 2nd May – 28th September 2014 three sculpture shows will run consecutively, each collection featuring hundreds of sculptures to suit all tastes in a wide variety of mediums, sizes and styles situated throughout the garden and offering the opportunity to view and purchase beautiful sculpture with an outstanding backdrop. 

 

The Gardens are full of unusual, breath-taking, mature plants.

The Gardens are full of unusual, breath-taking, mature plants.

The couple running this new venture are both Artists themselves. They are wonderfully down to earth and very knowledgable about Contemporary Art. They charge a modest Commission and are very supportive to their Artists so prices there are extremely competitive. There is a wide range of styles and materials on show across the enchanting Gardens. There is a delightful Shop and the most perfect Terrace Tea-shop. Their Website is very helpful.

Standing Form, 110cm H, £650

Standing Form, 110cm H, £650

Standing Form, 110cm H, £650

Standing Form, 110cm H, £650

Callipygous, 41cm H x  73cm L, £600.

Callipygous, 41cm H x 73cm L, £600.

 

Serenity, 53cm H, £625

Serenity, 53cm H, £625

River Harbinger, 125cm H, £950

River Harbinger, 125cm H, £950

River Harbinger, 125cm H, £950

River Harbinger, 125cm H, £950

Up Is Down X, 52cm W, £550

Up Is Down X, 52cm W, £550

Up is Down IX, 57cm W, £550

Up is Down IX, 57cm W, £550

 

 

Studio Diary; The Tumble Commission, part 3.

The shape looks crazy at this point.

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The first draft of the details can go on; the most important thing right now is to get good joins for the clay.

 

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA When the clay has hardened these can be touched up by carving with a delicate tool. These images were taken from archive pictures of 2 mines and the Railway local to Tumble. Apparently the Train that ran from Great Mountain Colliery was the first ever passenger line.

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I’m using smaller coils and each stage is taking longer.It is just approaching the point where the central hole will form and the top edges start to meet- lets hope my measurements were right! If it doesn’t meet properly I’ll cut out large sections and re-do them.

The props are getting more inventive!

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Those out-side supports will stay in place until after the upper parts are cut and lifted off. In theory it would be self-supporting….but if it collapsed it would do it fast! The final, fired and installed Sculpture will have cement and steel rods inside so it will be strong enough to climb on.