Storming the Town Hall

Well, not quite storming. Three of the sculptures will be on display in the foyer of Waltham Forest Town Hall from Wednesday 9th September for about a month, along with the Waiting story and some of the wonderful poetry from The Mill.

After that they’re all going to good homes. One is off to an allotment, Betty is going back to The Mill, one is going back to a sheltered housing reception area, one is going to live in the model’s garden and one has already been taken by the Street17 people who are going to do something creative with it. What a journey it’s been!


The Final Show

The sculptures are going to be displayed at The Mill, 7 – 11 Coppermill Lane, E17 7HA, from the 12th September – 6 October. All of them that is except for the man in the tube train, who had been thrown away without my knowledge. It will be great to see them all together, and local poets have been writing on the theme of ‘waiting’ so those will be on display too.

Waiting poster02 A5

The end of the Art Trail

The sculptures at The Mall and at The Firs waiting room are coming down over the next two days. The Mill, Mitre Studios and The Pumphouse Museum are all graciously continuing to host a figure for a while. So if you didn’t have the chance to see them during the Art Trail it’s not all over yet!

I’m going to mend the piece that was at the bus station, with the intention of exhibiting all six in the same space soon. I’ll update this site when I have more details of this. In the meantime, thanks for all your support and enthusiasm for the Waiting project. It’s been a wonderful experience for me.

another bad thing

The sculpture at the bus station has been vandalised. According to someone who saw it, a group of about 7 or 8 drunk young men were mucking about on friday night and managed to push it so hard that the ties underneath it broke. It smashed on the ground and the neck and legs are too damaged to be able to repair in situ.

I’m going to try and repair it and maybe exhibit it somewhere else, but the bus station is where it was built for. If you have any pictures please please get in touch. I’d really love to have a record of how people responded to the work.

They’re up!

After a flurry of activity, five of the sculptures are in situ now. The last one, outside Mitre Studios should be finished by Saturday for the start of the Art Trail. I’d like to thank all the people at the venues who have been so helpful and enthusiastic during the installations, and Duncan Cohen who was the best assistant I could have wished for.

here are some images:

I’m trying to work out how people can upload images in their feedback… If anyone knows how to do that in wordpress please let me know!

Here from There

When I set up this site, the intention was to give a running commentary on how the project was progressing. But then I didn’t, and now it’s in the advanced stages of being done. So, I’m now going to think my way back to how it went…

At the end of last year I spent some time putting together proposals and publicity, talking to various knowledgeable people, and getting venues onside. I was fairly timid, but because the response was so positive I was encouraged by the process. I had a wishlist of venues, and all the plan A sites agreed. I approached all the venues directly except the bus garage, and for that i contacted my MP Stella Creasy. I knew she had seen last year’s exhibition, and she very kindly endorsed me to people at Transport for London who have been extremely helpful.

In the new year I spent a prolonged time working out how to fill in funding forms. It’s no fun, but it does make you think about how you’re going to physically do what you’re planning, and who’s going to get something out of it. I’m thinking it’ll be easier next time. The Waltham Forest application wasn’t successful, but that didn’t surprise me. This series has nothing to do with the Olympics, and is only celebratory in a low-key sort of way. But in the process I met the people who work for the arts in WF, and that was good to know.

The Arts Council refusal was more of a blow. I spent ages on that, and put in a great application. It was a work of art in itself. I’d imagined it was refused because the budget was too high, or because there was no secured funding from elsewhere. But the feedback (which should be automatic. I don’t know why you have to request it) said it was lacking a risk assessment! It wasn’t something that was asked for in the application, and I hadn’t even thought of it. Their concern was that bad weather could damage the works. Only one piece is outside though, and it’s quite sheltered… At the time I was angry about this, but events since have chastened me (see a bad thing happened…).

At that point I took on work to make some money and so the Waiting project had to wait. During that time I should have been looking for models, but was quite depressed about it and happy to dive into other stuff. When I came back to it I floundered around looking for volunteers for some time. In fact I still don’t have the final model. If you know of an asian male, between 16 and 22-ish who has a day and a half spare, please let me know!

It was also around that time that the technological part of the project got ditched. The intention was to have small mobile phone screens embedded in the sculptures, running a film made with the model of what they thought about while they waited. Memories, people walking past, lists of things to do, traffic sounds, recent conversations, worries, pigeons etc. But in the end there were just too many things that could go wrong. How would I change the batteries? How could they be displayed so that only the film would run? How likely was it that they would be vandalised? I met another, very talented, local artist Sarah Hardy who demonstrated a free programme that runs films on your phone called aurasma. But it only works on smart phones, which is more exclusive than I wanted, and I just didn’t have the time to get it up and running. It’s an idea for the future though…

So the next thing to do was build, but I think I’ll explain that as an illustrated ‘how-to’ guide on another page.

The story so far…

two plaster figures of boys sitting on a wall

In 2011 I exhibited a couple of sculptures in public for the first time during the E17 Art Trail. The feedback was so overwhelmingly positive that I had to do something to build on it. Originally I wanted to build eight figures in a Victoria line train carriage at the Pumphouse Museum, and the people there were happy to go along with it, but began to feel I was putting all my eggs in one basket.

So, I’ve been working to put sculptures in various places around my local area. Everywhere I’ve approached has been enthusiastic about the idea. Walthamstow bus station, The Mall shopping centre, The Firs doctor’s surgery, The Pumphouse Museum, The Mill community centre and Mitre Studios are all hosting a piece over the summer.

Right now I’m recruiting volunteers to model for the sculptures. I’ll be measuring and building, and the work should be up in July and August.

figure leaning against the wall