‘Utopian Realism’ is an exploration of rural utopianism, idealism and industrialism in the North East of England and Mid Wales by the artists Mair Hughes and Bridget Kennedy.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

layers of information, layers of time

The sculpture I am making will be the word STRATA constructed in three dimensions, so naturally I've been pondering the meaning of this word. Whilst looking round the mining institute, I was struck by the amount of information there is in that one room, layer upon layer of it.

I took several photos of the book spines on the shelves, particularly liked the title "The Granite Controversy" conjures up images of political scandals and infidelities all documented through grainy black and white photos shot with telescopic lenses. I didn't look inside but I have a feeling it isn't like that ....

Sopwith table

The sculptural work I am making for the Mining Institute centres round one of the two fantastic tables in the library. They are twelve foot long and take up the majority of the floor space. They were designed and made in Sopwith's Newcastle based furniture / cabinet making workshops. See image above.

I have spent quite some time sitting at these tables and recently a fair bit of time underneath them taking measurements so that the sculptures I am making fit together on top and underneath the table.

The sculptures are taking shape (slowly), overall I feel like I am about half way with them. With 6 weeks to go before Mair and I install our works this is a reasonably comfortable place to be......

Friday, 9 March 2012

Poetic Mr Sopwith

I have also been busy in my studio, but the results aren't quite worthy of a photo just yet. Like to keep you in suspense......

I'm making a sculpture that will work with one of the beautiful Sopwith designed tables in the Mining Institute library.

As well as being up to my elbows in plaster, I have been looking back into my research notes and scrolling back through the blog.

I keep returning to his bit of writing from Richardson's biography of Thomas Sopwith.

Richardson writes that Sopwith once told him:

"that his mental life rested at first on three supports:

the mountain led him towards the skies and made him familiar with the stars;

the earth kept him from being too aspiring, and, in return made him familiar with the treasures of old which lie on her

and the mine took him under the earth, a still humbler sphere, to seek out knowledge in darkness, and the goods that are
held in secret."

I've always found literature a source of inspiration for my work and throughout this project Thomas Sopwith's diary's have provided much food for thought.

I have posted this quote before, way back at the beginning of the project, but it seems like a good time to ponder over it again.