Last week I had a wonderful experience - Randwick parent and artist Simon Packard has been working on pieces for a brand new sculpture trail set to open in October this year. Well I was fortunate to get a preview when I met Simon and a photographer recording the first three pieces that have been installed.
These are no ordinary pieces of sculpture - and my photos here do not begin to do them justice - I strongly urge folk to get along to see them - yes I know the official opening is in October when more work will be put up but Simon has said he doesn't mind if I advertise it early! Indeed I reckon get there before the crowds of national arts press folk descend! I am sure this will cement Simons' reputation - the pieces are very wonderful indeed.
The three works are situation in the water at Ruskin Mill near Nailsworth - you can gain access via a permissable path from the old Horsley fishery. I think it is worth viewing in daytime as well as at night - they are lit to around 11pm by renewable energy - and look amazing lit up. The stainless steel sculptures sit great in the natural environment with reflections and patterns playing on the water...hey I can't write this stuff - just go and see it!!
Born in Sunderland Co Durham in 1960 he saw the last ship being launched on the River Wear in 1970 from the slipway whilst holding his Grandfathers hand, himself a foreman shipwright. Leaving the North for Brighton Polytechnic in 1980 for a Fine Art Printmaking degree, he stayed on the south coast for five years. The Royal College followed on being awarded a Henry Moore Bursary. His Masters degree show featured massive woodcuts of birds and animals.
A fellowship in Fine Art Printmaking at Gloscat in Cheltenham in 1987 offered studio space in the ornate Museum of Art and Science in Stroud Gloucestershire. It was during this research period he accepted his first Artist in Residence position in schools. This workshop provision continues to this day across many counties in the UK. He has remained in Stroud and its surroundings since.
This creative and skilled engineering area has in turn triggered his artistic endeavour in areas of metalwork, ceramics, film, interior design and new media. In many of the commissions for large scale Public Artworks he attempts to in still in them a sense of awe similar to that experienced on the slipway on the River Wear.
See more re Simon Packard and more of his art :
See website which has just begun re the trail - lots more coming later:
They have used a quote from me on the front page: "The Daily Telegraph once said, Stroud is to art what Hay-on-Wye is to books. Indeed there is a wonderful creative energy here that is inspiring and exhilarating. However while we've celebrated painting, printing, photography and more, it is only fairly recently that we have started to honour sculpture more widely in the Five Valleys. This sculpture trail project is a wonderfully positive addition to our local arts calendar that goes beyond just sculpture to link with festivals, landscape and local communities. It is a chance for us to ponder, enjoy, connect, learn, be inspired or challenged through the year. I hope it will be the impetus for many more such celebrations locally.”
See also a video of Simon on BBC from 2004 about damage to public art here. See here a pic on my blog re Chelsea Flower Show piece.