The plan was to provide the local community with 2 new, up to date playgrounds, plant trees and lay paths for easy access across the green space, which was originally created 25 years earlier when a railway cutting was filled in to provide a flat, grassed recreation area.
In addition I was commissioned, by Kirklees Council, to work alongside the local community, and closely with the landscape architect, to design and make sculptural features and mosaics to create a unique identity for the green space.
A series of design and making workshops were undertaken at Cone various venues to come up with ideas and images for the various elements of the commission.
These comprised of; 2 nursery groups, 3 primary schools, a girls high school, a boys youth group, and an older mens group. The work generated by each group went towards the design of one particular area of the commission.
Collaged images created by nursery and key stage 1 groups focussed on pathway mosaics. Key stage 2 and the high school groups made models or maquettes for what the sculptural elements could look like.
The teenage boys group looked at designs for the seating area mosaics. While the older mens group gave a verbal overview to the recent history and developments within the area.
The Theme and Content of the Artwork
Dewsbury has a history since the industrial revolution as a textile manufacturing town and over the last decades of the 20th century the workforce for the trade came increasingly from immigrant communities out the UK, mostly Pakistan, India and East Africa.
Subsequently much of the starting point for the workshops included textile themed objects and geometric patterns.
An exhibition of high quality visuals of the the proposals was held in one of the primary schools so that the local residents could comment and give their feedback.
The project was completed in spring 2011 and the design of the final sculptural features and mosaics were a direct result of the community input and reflected the recent history and cultural ties of the residents.
With these sculptures I strived to make forms that were modern and contemporary but were based on recognisable shapes and forms that the park users could appreciate as representing the textile industry.
The artwork features are the ‘icing on the cake’ for a very busy and popular outdoor leisure space in the neighbourhood.
The stainless steel archway was fabricated by S&O Fabrications and the Button Seats were cast by H Downs in Huddersfield. All pieces were installed by contractors with whom I worked closely towards the end of the to achieve a successful installation.