Sculpture 30 September Artist of the Month; Neil Canavan

It is with a heavy HEAVY heart we bid a big goodbye farewell to our year long Sculpture 30 project in Gateshead. What a fantastic run we’ve had celebrating 30 years of Gateshead’s Family Sculpture Day and Public Art Programme.

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The programme has included public events, sculpture tours, art walks, exhibitions, commissions, participatory workshops, school projects, community engagement and range of very talented artists each with a very sculptural practice.

Each month, I’ve featured an “Artist of the Month” showcasing them, their practice and sculpture in a variety of contexts.

October 2015 – Helen Pailing

November 2015 – Yvette Hawkins

December 2015 – Stephen Newby

January 2016 – Jo Coupe

February 2016 – Tanya Axford

March 2016 – Ed Carter

April 2016 – Joseph Hillier

May 2016 – Russ Coleman

June2016 – Colin Rose

July 2016 – Gilbert Ward

August 2016 – Jane Gower

And finally that brings us on to September 2016 and the subject of this blog post; Neil Canavan, our Sculpture 30 Artist of the Month for September.

I first met Neil, probably about five years ago, when I was working my very first Gateshead Family Sculpture Day in Saltwell Park. Neil is something of a Sculpture Day veteran – having been involved with it since very near the beginning.

You only have to work with him a short while to see; firstly the man knows how to handle a band saw…… something I’ve grown to love and learn, but was initially terrified. Secondly, he really loves what he does and working with wood – it oozes out of him. Where others (like me) see a pile of wood, he see’s opportunity and creativity. It amazes me every year, what he builds with the school children on School Sculpture Day.

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Neil has a studio in North Shields and alongside the making of his own sculpture, he works on commissions, residencies and school projects. He uses particular themes to produce a series of works – a key theme is that of the coastline; an area in constant flux.

Neil is our September Artist of the Month, not just for his involvement this year in School Sculpture Days and Gateshead Family Sculpture Day on 25th September; which by the way, was absolutely smashing! But he also led a Sculpture Making Workshop in the Gallery, at Gateshead Central Library where participants of all ages created mini sculptures which then became part of a large-scale sculpture called ‘Juggernaut’ inspired by the large mobile structures that were pulled along by devotees in Hindu religious processions.  Juggernaut became the ‘showstopper’ if you will, on Gateshead Family Sculpture Day, featured amongst the sculptures Gateshead schools had made on their days.

As always with our Artists of the Month, I caught up with Neil so I could dig a little deeper beyond the man I’ve only met on Sculpture Days and find out what other sculptures float his boat!

Hi Neil, so tell me about your practice?

Mostly, I tend to work on commissions either public or private. I work with the housing group ISOS quite a bit with their community development team producing work that is installed in developments. This usually means working on ideas with either community groups or local schools near to the new development.

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Cherry Tree Fence

Most of my work involves construction or carving mainly in wood but I love mixing materials and trying out new techniques, e.g. bin bags with Juggernaut. My work also involves interaction with the general public covering all ages; this is an essential part of my working practice.

Where do you seek inspiration for your work and sculptures?

There are many and varied sources of my inspirations; I do tend to plunder what I see as watershed moments in my past such as my childhood, growing up in the countryside, my time working in India and Cyprus.

Also I’m greatly influenced by the land and seascapes both in the North East but also my trips abroad. Shorelines in particular fascinate me; the fluid nature of their interaction keeps me enthralled.

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Going with the Flow

What is your favourite type of material to work with?

Wood but particularly driftwood! I love the shape, texture and feel of this material; although I’ve used many differing materials in my work from bones to bin bags. I tend to use either natural or recycled materials and love being able to mix them in my work.

How did you get into sculpture?

This is a somewhat long and convoluted journey. I started my working life as an electrician and through my twenties did lots of different jobs and became somewhat bored. By chance I signed up to a stained glass course to learn how to cut glass; the tutor must have spotted something because he said I had a talent for it. I started to get small commissions but quickly realised I needed to learn how to draw; at school I’d been told I wasn’t very good at art so I didn’t try to learn the technique of drawing.

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Seaton Burn Gabbions

So I went to do A level art and once there it was like a light bulb moment; I knew this is what I wanted to do! Since I’ve always been good with my hands I gravitated quickly to sculpture and working in three dimensions.

Any advice for a budding sculptor?

The main thing is perseverance! Say yes to any initial work after you leave college as you never know what it might lead to.

Tell me a bit about Juggernaut – the Sculpture 30, Sculpture Day showstopper?

The idea for Juggernaut goes back to my time working in India; I loved the way they celebrate events particularly big religious festivals and I thought what better idea then to make something big and colourful that could be pulled into the park to celebrate what is already an amazing popular event.

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Juggernaut

Also I liked the play on words from its original meaning in Hindu of the large mobile temples pulled along in outdoor religious festivals to its present meaning of something large and unwieldy; a bit like Sculpture Day itself.

Do you have a favourite sculpture of yours?

Not sure I have a favourite piece! I suppose I still have a soft spot for Ship of Fools, in fact my more temporary pieces tend to be the ones I have more fun making.

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Ship of Fools

Do you have a favourite piece of sculpture in general?

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Taratantara –  Kapour

This is difficult, as I’ve been inspired by so many different sculptors over the years. The Field by Gormley and Taratantara by Kapour are two that stick in the mind.

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The Field – Gormley

Do you have any upcoming projects that you’d like to share?

I’m just in the process of working out the next ISOS commission for a social housing development in South Shields and I’m working with a local primary school.

So Culture Vultures, from me and the other Sculpture 30 Team; thank you for supporting the project. To all the artists including this month’s artist Neil, you’re all amazing and I hope we’ve created something of a legacy here; lots of memories.

With Sculpture 30 now over, you may be thinking….now what?

Well – there is LOADS coming up….first stop…..Digital Makings.

Watch.this.space.

 

Sculpture Day 2016: Game ON!

It is very nearly Sculpture Day…..it is THIS Sunday, starting at 11am in Saltwell Park, Gateshead.

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So how are going to approach this year’s theme Games? Even if you’ve been before but especially if you haven’t, I want to make sure that you get the most out of the day and build something fantastic!

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I love this year’s theme Games; it is so open to interpretation! But I’m going to give you some ideas to get you started thinking – You could build;

  • Something from the Olympic games
  • A level from a retro game – eg: Sonic.
  • Your favourite Pokemon character.
  • Take an idea from a Computer game; e.g. Mario Cart, Grand Theft Auto or the Simms.
  • Something board game inspired e.g. Monopoly, Scrabble, Connect four, Hungry Hippos, Guess who or a 90s favourite of mine; Dream Phone!
  • App games – Candy Crush, Subway Surfer…
  • Card games – poker inspired or exploding kittens.
  • School games – e.g. something Sports day related, What’s the time Mr Wolf, Red Rover or Tag.
  • A 3D reimagining of your current favourite Virtual Reality game.
  • Fair games – e.g. Hook a Duck.
  • Other games such as bowling, bowls, Pool, Snooker…..

I could go on, the list is simply endless and I can’t wait to see what you guys get building this year!

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I thought I’d ask the experts for a bit of advice that may help you get building….. I spoke to Karen Rann- A Sculpture Day sculptor, Anna Pepperall – Gateshead Public Art Curator, Adam Taylor –Sculpture Day addict and event’s manager and Jen Douglas – Gateshead based artist and sculptor. I gathered their hints, tips and insights to give you a helping hand to get started…..

What are your top tips for Sculpture day 2016?

Adam: Make it a family/group activity, everyone chipping in ideas, agreeing on a plan, choosing wood, and then building.

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Anna: Wear Warm clothes, and thick shoes/boots; bring lots of food, and your own hammers!

Jen: Either ‘ go with the flow’ and wait till you arrive to think about the Sculpture Day theme or, have a think about the theme beforehand, brainstorm ideas that you can bring along to work on with your family or group of friends you come with so you have starting points for what to make.

Right – so we’ve got lots of wood, they’ve got their tools – what is the best way to get started?

Adam: It’s always good to have a good plan, and think about how the various bits of wood are going to be nailed together.

Anna: Talk to Staff on the Info desk, look at a storyboard for inspirational ideas , ask an artist, or join a group already working on something.

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Karen: Think about framework, creating a good ‘bone structure’ it’s fun to save adding all the little details till the end.

Jen: If you get stuck for ideas there are Sculptors on hand to give you inspiration and get you started. Think through which of these ideas will work in 3D using wood and nails…. Some things might work better than others.

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Is it best to plan your sculpture before you start or just “go with the flow”?

Anna:  Either- some people prefer to come with an idea but often it’s good to look around and get inspiration, or from the Artists/Storyboard.

Jen: It’s sometimes useful to think about making the sculpture from the base up – work as a team/family to decided who works on which section of the sculpture so everyone has a job! With lots of different types of wood different lengths/thicknesses etc. might suit different sections to your sculpture so a plan may be useful.

Karen: Depends how you like to work it could be you spot an enticing bit of timber at that gets the imagination going, don’t forget to look at the school’s work for inspiration.

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For the Sculpture Day veterans or newbies out there, who attend year on year what would your advice be on approaching this year’s theme “Games”?

Adam: Plan something original!

Jen:  When you’ve decided what you want to make gather together some pieces of wood and lay them out on the floor so that you can start to ‘map out’ your sculpture and see how each piece might join together to form your 3D masterpiece. You can always tweak and add more pieces of wood to make the work more elaborate.

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It’s as much fun to just tinker away with the wood and create something quite unique and un-related to the theme – that is fine too Sculpture Day is a fantastic experience to have and everyone who comes along has fun!

Karen:  Don’t always go with the first idea, it may be a tricky one to transform into 3d, there’s so many types of games and a little time spent playing with ideas might lead to something really novel and fun to make.

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Well it’s over to you Culture Vultures; I’ll see you in the Grove, in Saltwell Park on Sunday from 11am.

Game on!

Gilbert Ward July Sculpture 30 Artist of the Month.

Another Month over and another Sculpture 30 Artist of the Month; for July we have been lucky enough to have Gilbert Ward as our artist in residence in Saltwell Park!

Gilbert in action

Gilbert is a local favourite sculptor with strong ties to Gateshead Riverside, Cheeseburn, Northumberland and he has recently completed a residency in Alnwick Gardens. Those of you, who keenly attend Anna Pepperall’s Public Art Walks may have even met Gilbert during an interpreted Riverside Walk, as he talked through his inspirations and practice when creating Foliate Forms’.

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Foliate Forms’ by Gilbert Ward (2010), Gateshead Riverside Park

Every Tuesday in July, 10am-3pm Gilbert pitched up next to the Rose Garden, in Saltwell Park and offered passers by the opportunity to see and experience Sculpture in Action. As it is in the midst of the Summer holidays, Gilbert was not in shortage of people in the Park eager and curious, to find out what he was doing!

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Through-out his time in Saltwell Park, Gilbert was working on a new piece called “The Kiss” made out of Doddington Stone; the piece really blossomed and developed across the month with many Park goers returning to see how the work was progressing.

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Some Park goers simply relaxed and took in his practice interested in the process, the form and the image but many, including myself, wanted to get more hands on and actually have a bit of a go whilst visiting the Park, a place many visitors describe as “the lungs of Gateshead”.

Speaking about sculpture Gilbert commented “I am a sculptor and a sculptor’s work is his statement. Sculpture cannot lie; it is an idea, material, form and structure, brought together in an object, which occupies a particular space with its presence.”

Gilbert was born proudly in 1935, in Yorkshire and like any typical Yorkshire man; he’s a big fan of his Yorkshire brew! He lives, works and of course sculpts in amongst the beautiful landscape of Northumberland.

Gilbert Ward has been commissioned to develop many sculptures across the North East of England. Gilberts work in stone and wood stems from a fascination with formal geometry and structures found within nature. Often carving on site or with communities Gilbert works to develop a sculptural response to a landscape.

One such piece is positioned in Saltwell Park – Foliate Carving. It’s a beautiful peace and there is something about it, something natural and connected the growing wonderland around it that feels so right and as if it truly belongs.

Foliate Carving – Gilbert Ward (2006)

“When I am working for a fixed site, I try to make the piece (usually in stone) fit the place, and fitting into its landscape. One hopes that those who pause upon finding the sculpture will come to an understanding of its meaning, and of it becoming a living part of their landscape.”

Gilbert has many more pieces across the North East and viewing them is a perfect opportunity to get outdoors and exploring this Summer. Another beautiful piece is situated up at Bowes and Tanfield Railway Paths……

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Standing Stone by Gilbert Ward.

Gilbert also has installed 2 collections of small sculptural works at Cheeseburn which he has been developing over the last 10 years: ‘Bakers Dozen’ (hornbeam) and ‘The Fall’ (ash).

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Cheeseburn – Gilbert Ward

Sited in the old potting shed at Cheeseburn these works explore the potential of natural forms for growth and evolution.

“I live in the hope that others will get the same amount of pleasure seeing the work, as I did in preparing and making it.”

Well with another month over in our Sculpture 30 celebrations, that means two things…… 1. We are nearing closer to the end of the year-long festival! Boo! But 2. We’re one month closer to the next Gateshead Family Sculpture Day, which this year is on 25th September, as always in Saltwell Park, in the Grove. We can’t wait!

Yeyyyy…….with less than two months to go, Gateshead’s 31st Sculpture day count down is officially on!

Cultural kid’s activities in Central Gateshead this Summer

The summer holidays are nearly here…..and I know what you’re thinking if you’re a parent!? What am I going to do with my mini mes over the Summer Holiday period……

Well there is LOTS going on in Central Gateshead, a real diverse mix of activities both indoors and outside for a range of ages. We want to keep your kids entertained, discovering new things and having lots of fun. That is what the English Summertime should all be about…..

Summer holiday activities kick off with a bang with a Theatre Set Design Workshop with Tanya Axford

Wailes Room, Gateshead Central Library – Saturday 16 July, 10am – 12.30pm

Work with visual artist Tanya Axford, who masterminded the set for ‘In A NutShell’ to create your very own imaginative theatrical world and become a part of it! This is a unique experience for theatre loving creatives to work with a professional!

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In A NutShell set – Tanya Axford

For ages 7+ (all children must be accompanied by an adult).

£ 3 per child

Click to book

We then move onto the launch of Summer Holiday Culture Camp

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Have you got a budding artist at home who wants some inspiration in the summer holidays? Culture Camp gives young people aged 8-14 an opportunity to work with a different professional artist each day to try lots of interesting arts activities and materials.

Monday 25 JulyKate Eccles will help you to create your own unique hoodies and bags using recycled fabrics.

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Bring along something you don’t mind cutting up and transforming by adding horns, flowers, skulls or animals.

£20

Click to book

Tuesday 26 July – Artist Paul Merrick will have you mastering your drawing and painting skills using lots of different materials.

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Move from 2d to 3d over the day and turn some of your ideas into your own sculptural mobile to take home for your bedroom.

£20

Click to book

Wednesday 27 July – Try your hand at printmaking with experts from Northern Print Studio, with monoprinting in the morning and using letterpress in the afternoon to make cards, posters or bunting for your bedroom.

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£20

Click to book

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Minecraft Special is a free drop in session…

Gateshead Central Library – Wednesday 3 August, 11am

As part of the Summer Reading Challenge; bring books to life in Minecraft. Help us recreate a Minecraft Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory.

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Free, just drop in!

More info

Welcome to the Circus: Workshop for all the family

Ever fancied learning some circus tricks to show off to your friends…..well we’ve got a corker of a session for you….

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St Mary’s Heritage Centre – Friday 5 August, 1pm-3pm

Become a trainee circus performer for the afternoon and try out some of the skills it takes to join the circus, including Plate spinning, Poi, Gymnastic Ribbon, Juggling, Hula Hoop, Tight Rope Walking and Beginners Stilts in this action packed session. Both children and adults will equally enjoy showing off their favourite skills at the graduation to the Big Top showcase where everyone will receive a certificate welcoming them to the circus.

This exciting and energetic workshop is suitable for anyone over 7 years, all equipment will be available.

£10 per participant

Click to book

Over The Moon Glass Workshop

Wailes Room, Gateshead Central Library – Saturday 6 August, 10am-12.30pm

Join glass artist Effie Burns to make ‘space’ inspired glass pieces that are out of this world, in this family friendly workshop.

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This workshop is perfect for parent and child to work together on a lovely glass project…..

Suitable for ages 7+

£10 – Please book places for both children and adults taking part.

Click to book

Mad About Monkeys

Have you got a cheeky monkey at home? Well this free workshop is perfect just for them….

Gateshead Central Library – Thursday 11 August, 2pm

A monkey sculpture craft afternoon for all the family.

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Free, reserve your place!

To reserve a place click

Whimsical Windchimes

Have you checked out the community garden at Gateshead Central Library; it’s always a hive of activity…..

Gateshead Central Library – Saturday 13 August, 10.30am

Join us to make your very own windchimes to hang in the garden this summer. Test them out first in our community garden!

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£2/£3 per child

Click to book

Creatures Up Close @ Central

Oooooh back by popular demand our beasties, creepy crawlies and unusual small animals…..book quick as this always sells out!

Gateshead Central Library – Monday 15 August, 2pm and 2.45pm

Your chance to get hands on and up close with some very unusual insects, reptiles and amphibians.

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£2/£3 per child

Click to book

I Dreamed A Jar

Have you seen the BFG? What would you put in your Dream Jar…… let’s find out!

Gateshead Central Library, Monday 22 August, 2pm

Staff at Central will be making their own Dream Jars so why not help them out or make one of your very own!

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Free

To reserve a place

Family Nature Doodling Workshop

The English summertime should be about getting outside and exploring…..

Meet at Thornley Woodlands Centre, off the A694 – Wednesday 24 August, 1pm – 4pm

Discover new ways of exploring our natural landscape through making temporary land art.

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Treehug – Jane Gower

Join Artist Jane Gower for a leisurely walk and explore the process of making – find beautiful objects in nature; seek out enchanting spaces; collect colours; and create sculptures and 3-D collages. They may only last a day, but you can capture your art piece in a photograph before it disappears.

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Ladders – Jane Gower

Please wear suitable clothing and shoes for the weather and bring a camera or phone to take photos of what you make.

£3/£5 – suitable for families

Click to book

Mrs Twit’s Trick Menu

Another Summer reading challenge activity……

Gateshead Central Library – Thursday 25 August, 2pm

Mrs Twit invites you to come along and sample her special menu. Do you fancy tomato-blood soup, octopus eyeballs or spider lollipops?

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Test your tastebuds and see which is the most delicious and make your own revolting recipe!

£1 per child

To reserve a place

Manga Workshop with Paul Belcher

Back by popular demand after last summer’s session…..

St Mary’s Heritage Centre – Thursday 25 August, 1pm-3pm

Local Community Artist Paul Belcher is returning to St Mary’s for his popular manga art session.

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It’s a great opportunity to learn some manga art techniques in this workshop suitable for children and adults. With Paul’s guidance you will create manga style portraits on A4 canvas using acrylics.

£5 per participant

Click to book

Summer Holiday Culture Camp – Make a Play in a Day

Do you have the next aspiring Jennifer Lawrence or Leo Dicaprio in your family?

Gateshead Central Library – Thursday 1 September, 9.30am – 4.30pm

Drama Teacher, David Raynor will help you create a play in a day; you get to experiment with a variety of acting and movement techniques, script writing and set design!

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£20

Click to book

Sculpture Making Workshop with Neil Canavan

Join Sculpture 30’s September artist of the month to get creating and making….

The Gallery, Gateshead Central Library – Saturday 3 September, 10am-12.30pm

Create mini sculptures that will help artist Neil Canavan create a largescale sculpture called ‘Juggernaut’ inspired by the large mobile structures that were pulled along by devotees in Hindu religious processions.

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Ship of Fools – Neil Canavan

The finished sculpture will feature at the 31st Gateshead Family Sculpture Day in Saltwell Park on 25 September!

Suitable for all ages and all materials provided.

Free, just drop in.

Click for more info

So get booking and reserving your places quick! This is just a flavour of Central Gateshead activities….there are more activities listed at www.gateshead.gov.uk/whatson at other branch library locations across Gateshead that you may want to check out!

 

 

 

 

 

What on earth is Sculpture 30 all about?

This week I caught up with Jennifer Douglas; local artist and Gateshead Culture Team member, to find out what Sculpture 30 festival is all about. I often talk about Sculpture 30 in my posts and it is a big feature in this season’s Gateshead Live, but what on earth is it all about!? Jen has been working for the past 8months devising the Sculpture 30 programme, securing the funding from The Arts Council and facilitating the outreach community aspects of the project. So who better to interview about the initiative so we can all find out a little more about it?

Hi Jen, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

 

I work within Arts Development & Public Art to develop of creative projects – I help devise projects, fundraise, and support the delivery of a wide range of creative activities working with professional artists to engage and enthuse other about the arts.

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Jen Douglas

Tell me a bit about Sculpture 30 festival?

 

Sculpture 30 Festival is a programme of activities inspired by and celebrating the 30th anniversary of Gateshead’s Family Sculpture Day and the start of the boroughs Public Art Programme in the 1980s. The festival was launched at Gateshead Family Sculpture Day in Saltwell Park on 27 September 2015 and will continue through to this years Family Sculpture Day in September. The programme includes public events, participatory workshops, school projects, art walks, exhibitions and commissions. The year-long programme is structured around a series of ‘Artists of the Month’ showcasing professional artists whose practice focuses on sculpture.

Sculpture 30 logo

What is the festival setting out to achieve? What’s its purpose?

 

The project aims to

  • promote the talents of artists based in the region who employ a range of sculptural techniques.
  • encourage and increase arts participation for individuals, communities and groups.
  • increase awareness of existing Public Art and sculpture that sited in the various areas of the borough by devising a diverse programme of walks and activities.
  • encourage pupils and schools to explore the Public Art in their locality and investigate the environment and context in which this has been created.
  • encourage new and existing visitors to the Gateshead Family Sculpture Day (2016) by offering a range of sculpture activities and events to explore prior to the event

Who is Sculpture 30 festival for?  

 

  1. In addition to the programme devised around the ‘Artist of the Month’ we will offer one-off workshops and family drop in activities to appeal to a wide audience and cater for different levels of ability. We will work with schools (special, primary and secondary) offering practical workshops relating to sculpture to encourage young people to explore the Public Art and Sculpture in their locality and consider the environmental and historical contexts for which it was made.
  2. Sculpture 30 Festival is for people of all ages. With such a range of artists involved in the project (who each employ a differing sculptural practice) there is something on offer for everyone. We aim to work with the public, families, adults, community groups and live at home groups through a variety of public sign up and drop in workshops and events. We will also work with library users and existing groups to develop interest from the previous library based project, Creative Makings.

What can attendees, of a Sculpture 30 related event expect?

 

Each workshop, walk or performance will offer a different type of experience. Should you join one of the forthcoming Public Art Walks you will have the opportunity to learn more about some of the sculptures located in the borough, find out how it was commissioned and how work is made for the Public domain. The walks are led by Public Art Curator Anna Pepperall who has vast experience of commissioning Public Art who offers fascinating insight about the many projects. During April, Sculptor Jo Hillier will be leading mini bus tours to visit some of the sculptures he has made and has located in the North East and the opportunity to have a look in his studio – which is always a treat. In a Nutshell will offer something completely different for attendees – a family friendly performance for younger children this will offer a magical storytelling experience that is sure to be captivating – I can’t wait to see it! Visual Artist Tanya Axford who created the set for the performance is also leading a Theatre Set Design workshop so this will be an opportunity to get hands-on and make a set of your own. If you want to try out stone carving for the first time then join Russ Coleman in May when he will be leading some beginners workshops in letter carving in stone. Or, if you want to meet and chat to an Artist then come along to The Gallery at Gateshead Central Library on Saturday 19 March 10am -12.30pm and meet Artist Ed Carter for an introduction to the work Scale exhibited in the Gallery and find out more about his interests in architecture, gender and scale in this informal open event.

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Faith by Joseph Hillier

What Sculpture 30 event are you most excited about?

 

What excites me is the variety of ways in which Artists incorporate ‘Sculpture’ into their work and therefore the range of activities that we can showcase and create opportunities for others to learn about and have a go at. I think it is really exciting that we have a sculptural sound piece being presented, a magical theatrical performance, the opportunity to have a go at stone carving and have a look in an artist’s studio.

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In a Nutshell

Sculpture 30 is funded and supported by The Arts Council; for those who don’t know who/what is the Arts Council?

 

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. They invest money from government and the National Lottery in arts and culture across England. They support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections.

‘We believe that art and culture make life better, helps to build diverse communities and improves our quality of life. Great art and culture can inspire our education system, boost our economy and give our nation international standing’

www.artscouncil.org.uk

Why do they support projects such as Sculpture 30?

 

We were successfully in gaining funding for Sculpture 30 from the Grants for the Arts programme – Grants for the arts is the Arts Council’s open access funding programme, and is designed to support a wide variety of arts-related activities. The Sculpture 30 Festival is an exciting and diverse project which celebrates the 30th anniversary of Gateshead’s Family Sculpture Day and the start of the boroughs Public Art Programme in the 1980s, engages and promotes the skills and expertise of professional artists in the region and has a varied and unique programme of participatory workshops.

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Sculpture Day 2015

Why is sculpture important in Gateshead?

 

Gateshead Council first became involved with art in the environment in the early 1980s. By 1986 a Public Art Programme had been established, which has since gained national and international recognition, receiving a succession of prestigious awards. During the programmes history Gateshead Council has commissioned over 80 works of art ranging from artist-designed railings to one of the most well-known public artworks in Britain, the ‘Angel of The North’, by Antony Gormley.

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The Angel by Antony Gormley

Public art has become an integral part of the development and regeneration of Gateshead, encouraging investment and creating a strong identity and a sense of pride throughout the region. Each artwork has been individually designed for its specific site, and most incorporate references to the local history and culture of Gateshead.

The Sculpture 30 Festival celebrates the many varied works of Public Art and sculpture located in Gateshead and highlights the work of a selection of artists from the region whose practice, in the broadest sense, incorporates ‘sculpture’.

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Cone by Andy Goldsworthy

What is your favourite piece of sculpture in Gateshead and why?

 

Once Upon a Time by Richard Deacon is a favourite work of mine, I love that the title of the work sets a scene for a story to unfold yet the somewhat awkwardness of the work located on the surviving abutment of the demolished Redheugh Bridge.  More recently I was ‘wowed’ by Stephen Newby’s work for the 2015 Enchanted Parks – an incredible heart shaped glitter ball which threw a magical quality of light across the Rose Garden in Saltwell Park – it was stunning!

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Once Upon a Time by  Richard Deacon

Well thank you Jen – it’s great to know in a little more in depth about Sculpture 30. Our new edition of Gateshead Live has just gone out and it is full to the brim with Sculpture 30 activities, so you can pick it up in Gateshead Libraries, cultural venues across Newcastle and Gateshead or drop me an email CBSArtsTeam@gateshead.gov.uk and I can send you a digital copy.

 

 

 

 

Throw Back Thursday – Gateshead Family Sculpture Day

This year’s Gateshead Family Sculpture Day celebrated it’s 30th year! As someone who has just turned 30, it is hard to comprehend an event that is the same age as me. Like most 30th birthdays, it went off with a bang! And before you ask, yes there was lots of cake!

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On 27th September 2015, well over a thousand people descended on The Grove in Saltwell Park for a beautiful day of making and creating with tonnes of wood and hammers and nails! It was a very sunny day – the perfect weather for some sculpture building.

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This year’s theme was home and we encouraged participants to show us what home meant to them and create a sculpture representing it. We saw attendees make all sorts – from tree houses, to ships, to the infamous Tyne Bridge, to beds, to dens, to castles!

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As always, we had sculptors and artists on hand, to help get those creative juices following, live music from local bands, Raku tiles and our Culture team crew were on hand chatting to makers and photographing the day.

The day was made even more special as it signified the launch and the beginning of Sculpture 30 Festival; our celebration of sculpture in and across Gateshead.

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I spoke to a little boy who had spent all summer planning his master creation and he’d even drawn out blue prints of his “garden sculpture”. Just shows, how important and valuable free events like this are for children (and adults) to explore their creative sides and to work with materials, they wouldn’t normally.

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That was my take away moment from this year’s sculpture day; seeing a field full of diverse people making, united under the common goal to create a sculpture! Something tangible and something fantastic!

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Sculpture Day for us takes about 4months worth of planning, lots of blood, sweat and tears – but this year, what I loved most, was after all of that work and the day was done, retreating to my home (just along the top of Saltwell Park) and looking at Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and seeing pictures of happy families, couples and groups of people making and proudly standing by their sculptures.

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(All photos credited to Dee Chaneva – Hillfield Photography Studio)