We have successfully worked on one indoor wood installation and two large outdoor projects using wood: Louise House, a Shropshire Council community building in Shrewsbury; the Sunstone Centre at Hope House Childrens Hospice, Morda, and Four Rivers Nursing Home in Ludlow.
We were commissioned to produce a large exterior sculptural piece for the garden of the new Sunstone Centre at Hope House Children's Hospice in Morda, near Oswestry. It is made from green oak with glass inserts. We involved bereaved parents and siblings in the decision making, and in workshops, to create aspects of the sculpture.
The oak wood was carefully chosen, cut into large panels, and delivered to the garden at Hope House where a small group worked in the open air over the last few months. The 5 huge wood panels were raised onto trestles so they could be worked on more easily. The wood was first stripped of their bark. Holes, for the glass inserts, were then cut out using a chain saw, and the pieces carefully planed and sanded. The glass inserts were made in the studio by Project Group members and in workshops, supported by members, for bereaved families. Designs, inspired by nature, were first made in clay, then a plaster cast mould made, and glass laid on the moulds and fired in the kiln. These glass pieces have been secured into the wood panels. To help decide how to place the finished panels, as some are 12 foot long and very heavy, small to scale, wooden model panels were made in the studio, with perspex inserts. These were arranged and re-arranged on site until all were pleased, so that placing the huge panels in the garden would be a more straight forward task. A team spent 3 days on site with a digger, making holes for the 5 pieces, and securing metal shoes on each panel and carefully placing them in an upright position. The glass inserts were then fixed carefully in place in the panels. The sculptures were officially opened on 9th October 2012.
Preparing the panels of wood:
Workshops with bereaved families designing and making the plaster moulds ready for the glass inserts:
Preparing and firing the glass inserts:
Our first successful project using wood was for one of the Shropshire community building commissions in Ludlow, Four Rivers Nursing Home.
In discussion with the League of Friends of the Four Rivers Nursing Home, together we decided that a wood sculpture for the garden would be appreciated. At the initial workshop with the residents a theme of 'rivers and river life' emerged. Most of the residents were not able to be physically involved so involvement was through a story telling memory workshop. Ideas were gathered to incorporate into the piece. The first task for the Project Group was to find suitable wood to work with. A group of members spent an important and creative day with sculptor John Merrill, selecting sections from a fallen ash tree, which suggested movement and flow. A small dedicated group worked on the ash, carving into the wood to create a whole range of river animals, birds, fish and insects, bound together by the wave theme. The design process has been led by a Project Group member who has years of experience carving and working with wood. Elements of the sculpture are interactive, incorporating a seat and spaces for bird to feed. The sculpture was installed at the beginning of November.