I was commissioned Kirklees Councils’ Dewsbury Neighbourhoods Programme to work with 2 local primary schools to design a landmark sculpture that would help create an identity for the recently refurbished ‘Thornvilles’ terraces, a housing area in Scout Hill between Dewsbury and Ravensthorpe in West Yorkshire.
I led design workshops with the year 5 classes from two primary schools that were within 200m of the site. I gave the students a similar brief that I was working on in designing a landmark sculpture for the site. They initially sketched out their designs onto a photo of the site and then made scale models of the ‘triangle’ onto which they constructed maquettes for their proposals.
These sessions started with a visit to the site which was just 2 minutes walk from the schools. Being a 3 sided piece of land it was given the working title of the ‘Thornville Triangle’. After a discussion we decided to work with the theme of nature which allowed them to work in an imaginative way, and in addition to the creative input they also pointed out that there wasn’t enough paved area at the corner of the main road to make pedestrians feel safe. This was rectified in the final landscaped design.
The childrens models and my own three design proposals were put on display at a local community building where residents were invited to see the ideas and vote on their favourite of the three proposals. It would also give people a chance to see how the final proposals had been worked up from the students ideas.
This was also the time when the feasibility of each design was fully explored with the landscape architect so that it would fit with the overall landscaping plan.
The resulting piece is based on a leaf or tree pattern and the three stainless steel forms reflect the 3 sided geometry of the site and the 3 existing trees in place.
The coloured diamonds reflect the decorative nature of the children’s work and the colour of the rosehips in the surrounding planted area.
The sculptures were fabricated by S&O Fabrications of Brighouse with whom I have built up a good working relationship after working with them on several projects over the last five years. They are able to solve the engineering and fabrication details of my outline designs to a high standard of finish.
Throughout the project I had close communication with council representatives from Regeneration and Landscape.
The sculpture has been in place for a couple of years now and has become a local landmark along a stretch of road that was previously fairly anonymous to passers by.
Due to it’s abstract nature it receives various interpretations, the most common of which is that it represents the ace of diamonds from a pack of cards!
I am happy with this ambiguity with which the work is viewed as the audience can be kept constantly intruiged by the feature.