The restoration of an oak sculpture

Ceres was created in 2001 and has recently been sitting on a millpond island in the South Downs National Park for 6 or 7 years, exposed to the wind and weather. The oak has silvered and hardened such that the patina has improved – but the attachment of the base to its stone plinth had eroded and a passer-by noticed a steadily declining angle to the once vertical work. The restoration of the work has removed the rotten wood and replaced the steel attachment to the portland stone plinth, but results in 3cm less height. This should guarantee another 20 … Continue reading The restoration of an oak sculpture

Horsham sculpture complete

At the end of September, Berkeley Homes’ Horsham Highwood stone was finished. On the sixtieth day session, it was moved by Coussens’ 100 tonne crane from the banks of the Arun to the Square which will form the centre of the developing Highwood Village. For anyone in Sussex, a gathering for the new stone will be taking place at 6pm, Wednesday October 23th (NOTE REVISION) and you can see details here for where the work is situated should you ever be passing and wish to find it next to the A24. The final work was 6.3 tonnes, with about 1.5t removed … Continue reading Horsham sculpture complete

Torso sculpture – consideration of anatomy and armature

I was approached to run a course on modelling the torso in clay. I try to keep away from armature use wherever possible just because of the freedom it removes from the sculptor. We must remember that modelling from life is just that – training the eyes to see with greater perception, but resulting in studies of the human form, rather than “sculpture”. It is an essential harvesting exercise for the sculptor that feels they draw upon or use the human form in their creative work. Continue reading “Torso sculpture – consideration of anatomy and armature”

Naming a Hindhead public sculpture

The A3D project’s legacy stone engaged local people over the three months I worked it on site. During the final days, possible names started to come to me but none seemed quite apt. The thoughts of the creator and viewer may be entirely different – sculpture speaks to you as a result of what you project onto it rather than you needing to ‘get it’. For this reason, having something simple, ambiguous (non-confrontational and non-leading) seems essential to allow viewers not to be channelled when they are quite capable of using their own senses. Conversely, having a name which leads … Continue reading Naming a Hindhead public sculpture

An article in The Times

This summer, Dame Fiona Reynolds agreed to sit for the Environment Series Heads and there are two new sittings planned with the founders of Common Ground, starting in November. I am now trying to identify a good location for the exhibition of these heads. I have several works at a joint show at Newport House, Herefordshire October 12-26th. My winter carving project proceeds – RSPB Pulborough Brooks plays host to the 3 tonne block of limestone which I am carving once a week, most often on Saturday mornings should you ever find yourself passing through West Sussex. The move of … Continue reading An article in The Times

6000 years apart

Seven in the morning and the delivery lorry left Pulborough Brooks RSPB Reserve; a first, quiet carving session of 4 hours. I will be trying to work this stone once a week (Saturday mornings if people are passing RH20 2EL) through until January or February 2014. The Woking show has been well received and packs up shortly to go to Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The new website archive is up and is viewable from this site by clicking the ‘sculpture’ heading above. In Northumberland recently, I climbed in search of cup and ring markings on the Cheviots, reminders of Neolithic and … Continue reading 6000 years apart

New publication and exhibition

A new 40 page publication by Peter Hall and Marilyn Scott – with an introduction by Yorkshire Sculpture Park curator Helen Pheby – is unveiled for the travelling exhibition which opens on Wednesday 17th July at Woking Lightbox. It will be available at an exhibition-discounted rate of £5 from The Lightbox or later at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (14 September-3 November). If you cannot easily attend either exhibition, please make contact and we can send you one at the same rate plus £1 postage. Other news: I have chosen a new stone to be worked at RSPB Pulborough Brooks in the … Continue reading New publication and exhibition

Can YOU name a new landmark?

A new sculpture sits on the course of the former A3 separating the National Trust’s Hindhead Common and Devil’s Punch Bowl, GU26 6AB, following a snowy launch on 23rd March. During the course of the final 10 days working, lots of words started to come to me but none quite seemed to fit a final name. A sculpture may speak to you as viewer in an entirely different way to me as creator – and so it seems a fun idea to see how others will view the piece, be they the children associated with the project, locals, or those … Continue reading Can YOU name a new landmark?

To YSP: 2013 launches, exhibitions and teaching

An exciting year in preparation, with the last two heads of the Sculpture Series being completed and a Times photographer documenting progress of the critic sitter, Nancy Durrant, at Fittleworth in February. The Surrey University acquisition of the ‘Charmer’ bronze relief has been delivered but not yet sited. The Hindhead carving experience has been hard and cold – never rising much above freezing from November until March, and now on day 33. A serendipitous meeting with a former film producer living locally has resulted in lots of valuable footage of the carving developing… and the possibility of something equally creative … Continue reading To YSP: 2013 launches, exhibitions and teaching

Bovines and gut feelings

We use the term gut feeling as a visceral emotional reaction to something; often one of uneasiness. However this does not originate in the stomach but in the subconscious, which sends a message through the vagus nerve to the stomach. Half of our nerve cells are located within the gut and these are an important factor in our intuition. The gut feeling then travels throughout the nervous system and is experienced by the whole body. I started the Devil’s Punch Bowl stone at Hindhead last week. In the three months of planning for the sculpture, I had agonised over where the block … Continue reading Bovines and gut feelings

Strangling the sublime

Enthusing about the sort of things that goes through an artist’s mind in responding to place is thought-provoking. I biked around Hindhead’s Devil’s Punch Bowl distilling what I felt were the most visceral parts for me – a sublime landscape partially reborn, a heinous murder and narratives of good versus evil. Conan Doyle couldn’t have planned better, and indeed his Hound of the Baskervilles was written at Undershaw, the house he built and lived in for a decade, less than a mile away.  Continue reading “Strangling the sublime”

Roger Fry and the trap of the luxury art object

Beware the shallow gleam is a favourite phrase whilst advising students of sculpture who are toying with stone. The sourcing of fine stones from all corners of the globe takes real energy. The fine polish imparted thereon, the magical colour exposed – or depth verging on the chatoyant – is often found a stage too early in the development of the work. A preciousness emerges in both sculptor (Tolkien’s Gollum-style) and object, which has the capacity to divert from the finding of form. Those lustrous stones will be grey and lichened in two thousand years time. Will they stand the test … Continue reading Roger Fry and the trap of the luxury art object

Where there is form, add clay

After all, it is not ignorance which damages the clarity of our portraits, but the accumulation of knowledge. Alain de Botton – ‘Kiss and Tell’, 1995 The Amesbury Preparatory School in Hindhead is unique in being the only purpose-built school by Edwin Lutyens. It had an arts festival in March 2012, the final day of which saw the development of a sculpture with all 231 pupils in Years 1-8, aged 5 to 13. Seven months ago, arts teachers Mark Reynolds and Susannah Colborn discussed my idea of a communal portrait head, and we secured the Headmaster, Nigel Taylor, as a generous sitter for the day. This was to … Continue reading Where there is form, add clay