Showing posts from May, 2012

From Poplar to Sculpture

Progress Report by Valerie Grove 

Over the course of the past few months I have been closely monitoring the progress of 'Changing Spaces'. As well as regularly talking to Jonathan, I have made two studio visits and three sculpture site visits, all of which I have visually documented.

My three sculpture site visits have been very different. On the first visit I found a poplar tree trunk laying on the damp grass shedding its crumbly bark and soft wood along with a whole host of insect inhabitants.

By the time of the second visit it was obvious that the original plan for the sculpture (carving and inserting painted bricks) would have to be abandoned because of the unstable condition of the wood. When I arrived  at the site I found Jonathan already well under way with Plan B, which involved removing the most rotten parts of the trunk, wrapping the whole thing in wire mesh and stabilising it with steel straps.

Today was my third site visit and although the sculpture is not yet fin…

Up close and textural

Here are a few images showing some of the textural detail in the materials. Some are from finished works and others were taken when the work was in progress.

Always Have a Plan B

One of the defining pieces of the project was going to be a 3 metre high, site-specific sculpture made from a felled tree but I had a major problem today.

I went to the site to begin working on the sculpture only to discover that the tree is now completely rotted. Although I noticed some water damage when I moved it into position a few weeks ago, the majority of the central trunk was intact and stable. Since then a combination of constant rain, muddy ground and insects have made it completely unworkable as sculptural material.

This was a real blow, and let me tell you, depression started to set in rapidly! However, over the last two years I have repeatedly heard the mantra that artists should be taking more risks so I am putting this experience down as an exercise in risk. From the outset the tree was an unknown quantity and I knew that I had to work on whatever I was presented with. However, the other mantra that should never be too far from the mind is 'Always Have a Plan B'…