It’s been great focusing on one main piece for the past few weeks. I’ve tried to avoid distractions (like social media sites/blogging!) to get ahead with a major piece I’m making for Bristol’s Big Green Week. Selected as one of 8 artists-in-residence – all working in different media around sustainability – I’m now set up with a small but prominent space at the Create Centre, Bristol, and have officially started my 3 month residency as a Green Capital Artist. I met Bristol’s Harbour Master on Tuesday, who has agreed to my Diatom sculptures (see info below) being floated in the harbour at Bush corner, by the Arnolfini, for Bristols’ Big Green Week in June. I’m very excited about this! I have decided to log the progress of the work I’m producing for the Green Week Exhibition (9-17 June) as it develops below. (See links: Sculptsite article; Bristol Biennial; Artists at Create)
‘Man models himself on Earth, Earth on Heaven’ will be approximately 4.5 metres tall. Created mainly out of recycled steel components and copper wire, the piece relates to my interest in nature’s cyclical persistence and the network of threads weaving through all things. The sketchy stretching human form, reminiscent of a tree, emerges from its cocoon, reaching upwards. It represents the vital forces in nature and re-birth of humanity in a new, purer state. We are all of the earth. The piece is constructed in 3 separate pieces, which bolt together. The concept was inspired by a Taoist line, echoed in the title. Still in the making, here are some images of it so far (the last 3 were taken at Motorcade/Flashparade’s documentation day earlier in the week):
To help formulate my ideas, I made several studies of trees which have a similar sense of the inner cocooned trunk with wispy extensions – here are 2:
‘Diatoms’. The idea of recycled floating diatoms stemmed from a design and prototype I made for a Scraptors’ project at an eco farm called Magdalen, inspired by Ernst Haeckel’s wonderful illustrations. ‘Diatom I’ includes some tentacles added by fellow Scraptor Rachel Macleay, but was rejected due to its plastic content – unsuitable for the farm’s strict sustainability guidelines. The rest are experiments from new designs. These ideas will be adapted and explored further in new pieces for Magdalen using appropriate materials. The sculptures will float on orange life buoys in the harbour beside the Arnolfini. They will be approximately 1 – 1.5 metres in diameter, made of recycled steel, wire, plastic and other found materials. Diatoms are microcosmic organisms, which are now sadly becoming endangered, yet essential to our survival – producing over 35% of our oxygen supply. Beautiful, primal structures originating from the Jurassic era, to me they symbolise nature’s cyclical persistence, though threatened by man’s intervention.
Update – 7/6/12
Yesterday was the big day – installing all the work, both in the Create Centre and Arnolfini harbour. As always, it took longer than imagined. Floating the Diatoms took some organisation. The Harbour team (Miles and Arabella) were a great help, but the weather was grim and it was hard to manoevre in the big Mariner boat, so placing the Diatoms was a struggle! After a cold, wet 4 hours, all 9 are in situ! As Miles (from Harbour team) said, they look a bit primordial floating there randomly. Will need to take better photos when the sun’s out and we’ve managed to adjust their positions in a smaller boat – this Saturday, hopefully. (See latest post: A constructive day at Bristol Harbour)