Posts Tagged 'recycled sculpture'

The big reveal!

looking up at Mountain Ash in situThis year for Devon Open Studios I decided to have a change of scene and participate in a couple of sculpture trails. As a result, Yarner Wood has been the main focus of my work for a while now, its a English Nature reserve outside Bovey Tracey on the edge of Dartmoor and is being restored to a Western Oak Wood. The theme of the trail is man’s relationship with the environment and I have taken the history of the wood as inspiration for my pieces which combine cross sections of tree trunk from Yarner Wood (48ish year old Douglas Fir) with fused and mosaic glass. Speaking to the staff at the woods gave me the idea of the wood being at the heart of all the human activity in the woods and in turn human activity having shaped the woods use and appearance. This is turn led The bomb that saved the wood, detailto the idea of taking the core, or heart out of the discs of wood and fill them with glass pieces; the juxtaposition of the natural wood and the very modern man made glass is very appealing to me. There are 10 artists exhibiting on this fabulous trail from conceptual to sound artists and everything in between and I am very excited to be part of such an interesting project.

I picked the tree trunk up in 3 and 6 inch cross sections, with quite a lot of wild life attached and I must confess it was a bit daunting….but then my ever useful Dad arrived and looking up at Mountain Ash 2cut all the central cores out of the slabs of wood, many thanks to him, I would never get any sculptures made without his patience! Each of the sculptures is cast to the size of the individual holes and are made from recycled waste glass. This series of sculptures is my largest series of sculptures to date and I am very pleased with the results.

green man 2The first piece on the trail is my take on the age old Green Man ‘Welcome to the Woods’, it is right at the start of the trail and is there to welcome people to the woods, reflecting man’s symbiotic relationship with nature and the timeless cycle of life.  The first firing of this piece cast all the scraps of clear, green and yellow glass into a disc shape, then I painted the design on and fired it again.

Becoming Autumn is the second piece on the trail. Again I used recycled waste glass (this time Spectrum 96 series), and depicted oak leaves changing Becoming Autumn in situcolour as the season changes. The trail starts at the beginning of autumn and it seemed like a great reflection of human enjoyment of nature for leisure, a very modern use of the natural environment!

My third piece on the trail is also inspired by the modern use of woodland for peace and reflection. ‘ Looking up at Mountain Ash’ takes inspiration from the wonderful Rowan trees in the wood and the simple pleasure of looking up at the shapes and light of the woodland. As with the previous piece this one is fused with small scraps of Spectrum 96 glass. While I was installing this piece I had a fabulous interaction with a young male deer (whose antlers were still small and fuzzy) who came bounding through the wood, regarded me and then turned and bounded on through the undergrowth.

copper blue in situThe wood has not always been a tranquil retreat from the pressures of modern life and 150 years ago a very active copper mine was on the site, lots of charcoal burning and the lord of the manor owned the area and exercised his horses on the wood. The next piece ‘Copper Blue’ riffs on this history, the blue glass is copper bearing and the cast disc has copper sheet inclusions and is hung between two fence posts, a prolific sign of how humans have shaped the wood!

In World War II the wood was earmarked to be cut down to assist with timber for the war effort, however, when a German bomber discharged his last bombs after a raid on Plymouth (in order to get home faster) the wood was hit and many of the trees then grew twisted and damaged, no good for timber manufacturing. This has inspired the next piece ‘The Bomb that Saved the Wood’.  Here 2 pieces hang one above the other. The top one has 2 discs of glass bang! detailwithin it to give a sense of depth and fire and the one below has a fun Pop Art feel with the word BANG painted across it.

The trail now turns a corner and the piece of the woodland really encompasses you, this is where I have placed my last hollowed wood piece, ‘Tranquil’. Tranquil cast acorns detailI have used various pieces of blue and sea green scrap glass to create the disc and then cast a separate acorns and oak leaves from crushed cast glass which have then be attached to the disc.

I continued with cast glass objects for the next piece, ‘Which came first?’. Here I have mosaic waste white and cream scraps of glass to the shape of the central core of the wood, which is happily egg shaped and then attached my cast glass bird. I am very pleased with both my cast pieces and this is a skill I am very much still learning this complicated area of glass art! which came first

cogs in situMy final serious sculpture on the trail is ‘Cogs’ made to express how we are all part of the great machine of life I have taken 3 of the cores my Dad removed from the wood and created different coloured bands which match up with the tree rings below.

All this serious art work is all well and good, but we all need a bit of fun and to add this to my trail I have made a child side bird house from recycled marine ply, which I got from the fabulous Bristol Wood Recycling Project. Permanent markers will be available for visitors to decorate the bird house as the pass it and lots of colourful material will be inside for children to make their own birds nest.

The trail opens on Saturday 7th September and is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until the 22nd September, refreshments are available in the woodland centre and the trail is free and only 2.5 km, so a child friendly distance! click on the link for more details http://www.artecology.co.uk/page2.php

Our preview is Saturday 7th September and all the artists will be on hand to talk about their work and show people round the trail.

 

 

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Sculpture Trail marks the start of the Summer Holidays

Recycled Crochet carrier bag sculpture

Recycled Crochet carrier bag sculpture

Every year I take part in TRAIL this is a sculpture trail along the sea front in Teignmouth, Devon with sculptures made entirely from recycled materials. Professional artists, community groups and local schools all take part and it is a fun and colourful display with a strong underlying environmental message.

I love taking part in this exhibition, I have exhibited yearly since 2009 and it really heralds the start of the summer holidays for me!

This year I have crocheted a giant squid out of recycled carrier bags (from supermarket recycling bins and friends cupboards), it stands 3m or so in the air suspended on the end of 2 old, broken fishing rods and has a couple of charity shop Barbie victims dangling from its tentacles, about to be eaten.

The trail is totally free and runs from 22nd July 2013 to 1st September 2013 along the beautiful Teignmouth seafront, please come and have a look if you are in the area, I am in the flower bed outside the Beachcomber cafe.

My tree has turned into a monster, but you can still add your wishes to it!

I had to go and take my Wishing Tree down today from its sea front home in Teignmouth as the TRAIL exhibition has ended . I had no idea that it would be so popular and we estimate it has around 2,500 wishes (based on the number of rags we put in the bins) I could not keep up with demand and many thanks to Liz Lockyear, the organiser of the event for endlessly filling the bin for me and to Roger Smith (founders of TAAG ) for mending my sculpture when it got so heavy with wet wishes in the rain that it fell over! TRAIL had to run without funding from anywhere this summer and it is in danger of having to stop running, which seems very sad when the public enjoy the exhibition so much.

Anyway, it really doesn’t look like a tree any more; more like a Fraggle Rock monster! But it is now safely erected in my garden, wishes intact and you are cordially invited to add your own wish to my tree/monster during Devon Open Studios which runs from the 8th – 23rd September.

recycled bath and glass sculpture My Kaleidoboat sculpture (which won TRAIL in 2010) will also be on display and I have moved it to my front garden so people can easily find my house!

The slide show takes you through the wishing tree from the start till now, who knows what will happen to it next!

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An awful lot of wishes

public sculpture on Teignmouth sea front 3 weeks have passed since I erected my sculpture on Teignmouth sea front and look how it has changed!!! I had no idea if anyone would want to join in with my interactive piece, but it turns out that they really, really have! Today’s photo is on the left, 3 weeks ago on the right. See my previous post to see how and why I made it.

Literally hundreds of wishes have been tied to my tree, at least 4 pairs of curtains, an old double duvet cover and goodness knows what else; I am really chuffed that now people have started bringing their own strange trinkets and special bits to add to the tree. Thanks to unknown members of the public who have refilled the bin with scraps of material in between my visits!

There is still plenty of time to add your own wish to my tree, it will be on the sea front till September and if it is still in good shape, back at mine for Open Studios in September.

This sculpture is part of the TRAIL recycled sculpture trail on Teignmouth sea front. We also have an indoor gallery at TAAG in Teignmouth town centre.

Beautiful day for installing a wishing tree!

Installed my entry to this year’s TRAIL sculpture trail along the Teignmouth sea front in South Devon today. My children have helped me with it from the start and we have had great time making it from old chicken wire (a recycled previous sculpture), used wine corks, old material and jewellery recycled from  unsaleable donations to local charity shops. Many thanks to my friends and their families who have been saving me wine corks for months!

The idea behind the tree came from a real tree I saw whilst on honeymoon in Cyprus that was festooned with ribbons, rags, trinkets and tiny paper prayers which had been hung on the tree as prayers for the dead and sick.  The tree was striking, otherworldly and a bit magical and the image stayed with me and has finally bubbled out as a sculpture!

I invite passers by to come and collect a ribbon of material from the supply on the site and tie them to a tree whilst making a wish for someone or recycled sculpturethe future. I like the idea of the public being able to be involved with and to alter the sculpture, hopefully lots of them will want to join in! Lots of people got involved this morning while we were putting it up, I hope people enjoy it. Its in the shape of a palm tree as the local landmark tree is the Torquay Palm.

TRAIL is a free recycled sculpture trail that runs along Teignmouth Seafront for the summer holidays and the rule is that it must be made from recycled materials. All kinds of people take part from international artists to local schools and disabled groups. This may well be the last year of TRAIL as it has not received any funding this year and as it is a free walking trail there is no revenue unfortunately! My next post will be all about the other artists work, but its been a long day, so for now so long!

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2 months is a long time in blog land!

recycled bottle top brooches by Amy McCarthy Wow, my last post was 2 months ago! Where has the time gone?

Some of it has been taken up with joining the writing team at UKHandmade where I am now writing the craft profiles section, which is proving to be great fun, though I hope my outpourings wont be too sporadic for them!

I have also taken on another voluntary role, by joining the board of the Devon Artist Network and its great to be involved with an organisation

kiln fused recycled boat mobiles which has helped me so much in the last couple of years (I received a bursary from them last year).

Things in the world of glass have been moving on nicely too! I have been furiously making boat mobiles and my other recycled seaside wares for Inspirations in Salcombe and Atelier in Barnstaple, who have put in their big summer orders. Summer is a really busy time for me as so much of my work is in galleries by the sea and the summer holidays are galloping towards us now!

A gorgeous local chain of shops Insideout  came to see me and I am working towards a launch type event with them at the end of the month, including some new designs just for them!

All my plans and activity stopped last weekend, our eldest daughter had a virus which made her very poorly and she ended up in hospital, thankfully only for a day. This experience made me especially glad that my work is part of the Devon Artist Network’s  Art and Health Programme at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital . This initiative allows artists to display work to brighten up the corridors and waiting rooms of the stained glass panel, seaside landscape local hospital, hopefully bringing a small distraction to the time spent waiting for appointments or news of loved ones.

Baby bird is recovering well and thankfully self employment means I could drop everything to be with my children….but if you dont work you dont get paid! So I have been doing what I can in the house whilst she sleeps and the younger monkey is at nursery and thankfully I managed to deliver all my planned pieces today (which really was the last minute) for  Gloss Gallery Summer Show: Coast and Country which opens Thursday 19th July. Phew!

Now its onto the next project, my submission for the annual recycled sculpture trail in Teignmouth which starts next week, but I have only just started constructing! I was lucky enough to win this a couple of years ago and its a highlight of my working year;  so I have been assembling junk to turn into my new sculpture….more on that soon but for now I need to get back to making it!


I am a stained glass artist working in Exeter and a busy mum of 2; trying to carve a path through the tide of washing and children's toys that stands between me and making beautiful things.

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