We’ve just finished our first course for this year and it’s been really good fun. Sort of a cross between ‘Mr & Mrs’ and ‘The Generation Game’ because we had two couples as our students this time. None of them had ever welded before and only one of them had an idea of what they wanted to make yet they all went home with at least two pieces of sculpture they’d each made. Spring is definitely in the air and that seemed to be the inspiration for the weekend with our guests making flowers, garden ornaments and giant insects. Our next courses are May 25/26, June 22/23, July 20/21 and October 19/20, some of these dates are almost full now.
That’s what it felt like anyhow. My two benches and a noticeboard are now sited down at the duck feeding area off the coop car park in Holmfirth and they were officially opened yesterday. They feature the artwork of around 30 local schoolchildren ( i managed to include everyone) and there was even an outright winner, chosen by myself and Ashley Jackson. I made a bee sculpture for her based on her designs. Later on that same day it was the siting and opening of Hannah’s memorial bench in Hade Edge play park and my first ever mini bench for kids. Both benches feature kids drawings of meaningful images based on her life. A both poignant and lovely project to work on.
We held our first ever Sculpture Lounge Christmas Show last weekend and it was a real success. Loads of visitors came to visit over the weekend and spent plenty of money on original artwork, particularly in our pop up shop which we installed in one of the newly built studio units upstairs. With our 10 invited artists, drinks, demonstrations, kids workshop, cakes and pizzas courtesy of Allan, it was a great weekend.
We’ve just done our last metal sculpture weekend course for this year and as usual it’s been a success. All the participants surprised themselves with what they were capable of doing and went home with their very own piece(s) of sculpture. I run the course with fellow sculptor and longtime friend David Mayne from our studios in the creative mill that is Sculpture Lounge in Holmbridge. Some students come along with firm plans, others have no idea what they want to make and that’s fine. We take you through the various stages of making your own piece of sculpture, introducing you to and letting you loose with our equipment whilst providing your lunches and endless hot drinks & biscuits. The next course will be March 23rd and 24th 2019.
Well we’ve just finished another of our joint metal sculpture courses and it has been great fun again. This time we had an entirely female course, four women who’d never welded before. Their initial ideas ranged from not really knowing what to make at all through to having very ambitious ideas and templates with laminated instructions and jigs. Once we’d gone through the basics of how to weld and plasma cut and use various tools their plans altered a bit. Then by the end of the weekend after we’d made countless hot drinks and lunches on both days everyone went home with a finished piece of sculpture made entirely by themselves (with a bit of input / guidance from us). Our next course and the last one for this year is on November 10th and 11th and there are still places available. We’ll definitely be doing more dates for next year once we’ve got 2019 diaries.
I’ve just got back from doing the festival for the seventh time now, somewhat tired after talking about myself for two days but it has all been very worthwhile. The weather was a bit poor on the saturday afternoon but it didn’t deter people too much and the lovely sunny sunday more than made up for it. It was great to see returning customers and lots of new ones too. The interest this time seemed to be in my ‘metalheads’ and the octopuses on stones. I managed to finally sell a piece i’d made fourteen years ago and one i didn’t even have with me but that’s another story. Thanks must go to the organisers for making it another successful event and to Jane & John Kilpatrick at Roraima House (venue 4 this time) for their hospitality.
We’ve literally just finished our seventh weekend metal sculpture course and it’s been great fun as usual. The weather was lovely so it was great to be able to sit outside for our tea breaks and dinners. Our students this time had no real welding experience but that didn’t matter because once we’d been through the basics and showed them how to do it they were off. Luckily we’d borrowed a third welder which meant they were able to make two large garden sculptures, an owl weather vane, an intricate fire screen, a junk figure and various plants and flowers between them. The next date we’ve got available is September 15th / 16th and there’s one place still available on what is so far an all female course.
Artweek has just finished for another year and it’s been another success. The hot weather and the world cup haven’t helped but there were certainly enough people visiting to make it all worthwhile. In the main exhibition at the Civic Hall a steady stream of visitors came to look round whilst at Sculpture Lounge we put on another fringe exhibition featuring most of the studio holders and the preview evening went really well. Music was provided by ‘Renegade’ who played an acoustic set which the audience really loved, drinks were provided by the ‘pop up drinks company’ and ‘road bloc’ and this year we installed Allan and his famous pizza oven indoors. Over the week we had the added attraction of open studios where the public could walk round the various studios and see where and how the artists work too.
I’ve had a busy time recently working on the Arts Festival. After making the metal frames for three fish and a heron i worked initially with Hepworth Junior School to bring them to life by adding a colourful coating of knitted supermarket carrier bags, wire and plastic bottle tops. Next i worked with local artist Sarah Branson to site twelve different artworks along the river through the centre of Holmfirth making the ‘River of Art’. Then i got to perform as part of the weekends festivities alongside Andy Burton of Satellites Theatre as a musical chancer with the ‘Funky Junk’ instruments we made many years ago. Initially the instruments were made from junk fetched out of the River Colne after a clean up and they’ve gradually been added to over the years. It was great fun hearing all the different sounds people made using the various instruments. Once that was over it was the de-rig of both ‘Funky Junk’ and then the “River of Art’. Needless to say i was quite knackered by the end of it all. Next weekend – the start of the preparations for artweek’ !
I’ve just got back from doing my annual pilgrimage / exhibition to Aldeburgh. It was a really warm bank holiday weekend as you can tell from the flip flops and it really brought the crowds out. Rob and i both sold well and it was nice to talk to people about the work we do. I finally sold a clock after all these years of doing the exhibition, who knows, maybe a giraffe next time?
We’ve just finished another of our weekend sculpture courses and had a great time. The three students were quite handy but had never done any welding before and certainly didn’t consider themselves as capable sculptors. After an introduction to the various equipment and techniques we took them through the various stages of creating their own piece of work and i think we can confidently say the results speak for themselves.
This is the 19th year i’ve done the trophies, it doesn’t seem five minutes since i was first asked to make them. I obviously know all the winners because i make each trophy specific to the winner, so for example say it’s a group who play bagpipes, didgeridoo, glockenspiel and a penny whistle, it’ll be either 4 figures stood with those instruments or maybe the instruments themselves strategically placed together. They’re a really nice commission to do every year – a test of just how fiddly i can push myself with a MIG welder ! I can’t give anything away until after the awards ceremony on April 4th hence the before and after photos above of the various bits cut out in preparation and the final stage of the engraved discs covering the fixing holes on the underneath of the bases.
I’ve just finished doing a bit of work for the Literature Festival which was a nice little insight into a world i honestly don’t know much about. It’s 50 years since the publication of ‘The Iron Man’ by Ted Hughes, so i brought the figure i made ten years ago with six different schools to the launch party along with the recent commission ‘Mr Dragon’. Then on saturday afternoon i led a childrens sculpture workshop in Huddersfield Library where we all made iron men from various bits of cardboard and plastic then used tape to finish them off – good fun as always.
It’s been a busy start to the year and i’ve just finished my second large commission. It’s a dragon, sat reading a book. ‘Is that something you could make Mick ?’ i was asked, ‘Yes of course’ i replied then thought, how the hell do i do this ! It turned out ok in the end though. Being a figure on a chair and mostly made from plate steel it reminded me of making ‘Don – man of mystery’ at college a bit. The client has yet to see the piece so fingers crossed he likes it !
My latest commission is a pair of trees for the Forget Me Not charity. They’re fund raising trees so that donors will get their name engraved onto special leaves which will then be attached to the trees. One is for the Huddersfield site and one for Bury. I’ve enjoyed turning what is essentially a hard material into something quite organic looking. My friend Sarah Branson has helped bend all those branches and twigs which end in 140 individually shaped washers – not that we’re counting.