I am very pleased to have been asked to decorate one of the Swans of Wells by All Hallows Prep School in Cranmore, a sponsor. The project ‘will feature sixty, magnificently decorated, 5ft swan sculptures, one for each of the sixty years of the Queen’s reign. The flock will be displayed in public locations in and around Wells from June to September 2012. This eye-catching, high profile event is expected to bring thousands of visitors and vibrant contemporary art to the streets of England’s smallest city.’ Our Swan will have pride of place outside Bishops Palace. I have just over a fortnight to do the work, which has a recycling theme and will entail 3-d materials collected by All Hallows and me, including some wire creations by children at All Hallows… images to follow as the work develops.
Update – 27/5
Over a month ago I was asked to decorate this Swan. Luckily the deadline was postponed. It’s been very absorbing and great fun, but incredibly time-consuming! I’ve loved my residency creating the work at All Hallows Prep School (the sponsors), where I was supported by all. The children added some bits (hand-made wire school crane emblems, patterns woven, painted and drawn, and a few stuck on beads, buttons and gogos) and they gave me loads of positive feedback.
We named our Swan Candela. It has relevance in various ways: The Latin word for ‘Candle’, it features in the All Hallows motto: ‘Sancto cuique sua candela’ which translates as: ‘for every saint there is a candle (light).’ Every child is a potential saint and they too have their lights. The Swan has a flame-like, glowing quality in its patterns, colours and bright, luminous objects. The recycled objects have been lovingly collected, donated and created by the children, (+ me and my son, Jack) – symbolic of their individual lights.
The process was more complex than I imagined, as I had to texturise the surface prior to sticking on the objects (all individually cleaned/de-greased), then sand, prime and paint in between all the bits. Varnishing was a huge relief – there was no return. Although not perfect, I think it’s got a charm of its own. The Swan was collected on Friday and will go on display with the rest of the flock next week (after 28th May).
Swans of Wells Launch – 28/5
Some of the flock were displayed on Wells Cathedral Green today for the media launch, including ours, and there was a brief appearance of them on BBC and ITV news. All looked lovely in the sunshine!
See press: Shepton Mallet Journal, SwansofWells website, Jenikya’s blog
Update – 19/6
Visited Candela to give her a clean up. Great to see Ian and the team were already doing some Swan cleaning. Sadly Candela had her eyes plucked out + a few other bits. I will be replacing the missing parts asap. It’s encouraging to see members of the public trying to help by keeping an eye out for the Swans. A note was found inside Candela, together with a missing part, retrieved by some kind person. The good news is that Candela has a new sunny spot nearer the Palace entrance and is still attracting plenty of attention:
Update – 2/7
Gave Candela back her eyesight, replaced a few other bits that had been removed and another wash last week – so all gleaming again 🙂
I helped on the first Swans of Wells stall this Saturday selling Swans merchandise to raise funds. Also revived Candela with another freshen-up as the sun came out on Sunday. Plenty of visitors in the sunshine:
I’ve been back a couple of times to give Candela some TLC and clean her up from all the mud splatters after such heavy rain over the past month or so. Today, plenty of visitors stopped to take pics and remark on Candela and the Swan flock. They were intrigued to hear the background to her – some people even claimed she was their fav Swan.
At the Moat Boat Race on Bank Holiday Monday; went to the SwansofWells stall for a bit – great to see more merchandise decorated with our colourful Swans.
Candela is now preened and ready to be auctioned on 29th September. Here she is at the Auction Preview weekend (15/16 Sept) at Bishops Palace with the rest of the flock:
Swans Auction – 29th September
I’m delighted that All Hallows have managed to acquire Candela through successful bidding at the Auction. It was a very exciting evening. Candela achieved a healthy figure and will now return to her rightful place, where she will live happily ever after. The amazing total of £111,500 raised from the Swans auction will go mainly to local charities.
I was asked to decorate one of two mini swans bid at end of the auction. I decided to make a baby Candela – ‘Candelina’:
In permanent residence
Candela, now back at her resting place in All Hallows Prep School: