134…An exciting collaboration!

by frances doherty on February 25, 2015

A couple of years ago I exhibited in the Botanic Gardens, IOW with Alan Williams. While we were there we came across these amazing, huge blue flowers called Echiums. They are enormous and towered above us. We fell in love with them and decided to see if we could make one.

This proved to be a bit of a mission as Alan lives in Brighton and my workshop is in Normandy…and I was not quite sure how he was going to build his bit, and he wasn’t quite sure what size pieces he needed from me…..and so on. So I threw hundreds of pieces, as did several of my students…..a great thing to practice their skills on, and everytime I had another glazed box of components I cycled them back over to Alan’s workshop. At one point there was a huge glaze melt down in my kiln, and I lost around 60 pieces and 3 kiln shelves! However, finally this week to my great excitiment, everything was finished and ready for assembly and we all went down to the beach with our photographer Royston to see what it looked like once it was all put together.

Alan starting assembly

Alan starting assembly

Alan made the armature in two pieces for ease of handling and transport. Each flower part had to be assembled onto rod with two nuts and washers. and to fix them in place he devised a system by using a ratchedy thing on the end of a drill to tighten the nuts as there were so many pieces to do.

half way there

half way there

After an hour or so we had got the bottom part completed and  were able to lift the top on.

Assembling the top

Assembling the top

This was all happening in a gale force wind, and by now some very moody sky was coming up behind us. We had to take a break to warm our fingers up.

Finished

Finished

But two hours later we finished and here it is in all its glory. Alan has constructed the leaves from copper cut from a water tank. This had a verdigris coating on one side where the water has been sitting, and the other side is varnished copper.

These photo’s were all taken by Royston from RJM photography, and when we had finished he shot us carrying away the sculpture,

careful

careful

with all the pieces left on it. Alan has devised stands for both parts so that they do not have to be un-assembled each time they are transported. Genius. I love working large, and if this sculpture is a success, Alan and I will be able to continue our collaboration….there is already another in the pipeline and I have plenty of ideas for more.

In the garden there is a hint of spring and primroses are starting to bloom.

spring on it's way

spring on it’s way

and last week we found a lovely fire salamander upsidedown in our pond.

Fire Salamander

Fire Salamander

She had been there for over 24 hours as when I first saw her I thought she was a leaf floating on the pond. However we got her out and sat her in the sun for a while, and she gradually came to and wandered off thank goodness. These creatures are quite large…this one was around 10 inches long, and it is always a treat to see them.

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133…Building a wallpiece

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132…Dealing with a disaster

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I arrived back in France raring to get going in the studio, but I was met with an awful sight. My shelving system had pulled out of the wall and not a single thing was left unbroken. This was about two months work and was drying out ready for the first of the spring shows. […]

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