Design Proposals for Sundew: Corby: Northamptonshire

Sundew was successfully installed outside Corby Railway station earlier this year and although this news is a bit late in the day - I thought you would like to see some pictures of the installed sculpture.

Sundew on a foggy day: January 2017
   
  
 
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     Sundew  is a site-specific landmark sculpture located at the newly refurbished £8.3M Corby railway station, which connects Corby to St Pancras station in London. The sculpture is located within the plaza space on a prominent sight line that links the railway platform to the entrance of the station. The sculpture is therefore visible to more than 100,000 people who use the station each year.   Sundew  is fabricated from bespoke steel sourced at the TATA plant in Corby and utilised a local workforce to fabricate the sculpture to emphasise the sustainability agenda (Made in C associated with the sculpture. The steel has unique characteristics that permit the formability of the metal by using precise levels of alloy, copper, ferrite, magnesium alongside technologies associated with  hot rolled tube , which provide a structural integrity that allows rolling of surfaces not permitted by other methods of steel production, and essential to the elliptical forms of the sculpture. The process of welding the steel tube is also bespoke to the Corby Plant, obviating any weak points where the rolled surfaces meet. Routine production methods would mean that any acute rolling of metal surfaces (such as those associated with the forms of Sundew) would eventuate in the weld breaking.   Sundew  is an artwork that is specific to the community, history and heritage of Corby – reflecting the town’s renowned heritage as a major steel hub in the 20th Century. By working with local Heritage Societies, Community Groups, Poetry Society, etc. I could gather stories unique to the Corby Plant (such as immigration demographic histories, world leading technologies in excavating iron ore, original methods of formability) and embed these characteristics within the project.

Sundew is a site-specific landmark sculpture located at the newly refurbished £8.3M Corby railway station, which connects Corby to St Pancras station in London. The sculpture is located within the plaza space on a prominent sight line that links the railway platform to the entrance of the station. The sculpture is therefore visible to more than 100,000 people who use the station each year.

Sundew is fabricated from bespoke steel sourced at the TATA plant in Corby and utilised a local workforce to fabricate the sculpture to emphasise the sustainability agenda (Made in C associated with the sculpture. The steel has unique characteristics that permit the formability of the metal by using precise levels of alloy, copper, ferrite, magnesium alongside technologies associated with hot rolled tube, which provide a structural integrity that allows rolling of surfaces not permitted by other methods of steel production, and essential to the elliptical forms of the sculpture. The process of welding the steel tube is also bespoke to the Corby Plant, obviating any weak points where the rolled surfaces meet. Routine production methods would mean that any acute rolling of metal surfaces (such as those associated with the forms of Sundew) would eventuate in the weld breaking.

Sundew is an artwork that is specific to the community, history and heritage of Corby – reflecting the town’s renowned heritage as a major steel hub in the 20th Century. By working with local Heritage Societies, Community Groups, Poetry Society, etc. I could gather stories unique to the Corby Plant (such as immigration demographic histories, world leading technologies in excavating iron ore, original methods of formability) and embed these characteristics within the project.

   
  
 
  
    
  
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    The aim of the sculpture is to connect all generations of Corbyites to their heritage via a sculpture that explores the metamorphosis of “liquid metal” into solid form. The location for the sculpture is the railway station, which links Corby to London, and will therefore be visible to commuters as well as passengers who are travelling to other destinations through Corby. The railway station has only recently re-opened after extensive refurbishment and the idea is to have a landmark sculpture that successfully marks Corby as a place, linked to its history, but successfully re-imagined after the collapse of its once significant steel industry.

The aim of the sculpture is to connect all generations of Corbyites to their heritage via a sculpture that explores the metamorphosis of “liquid metal” into solid form. The location for the sculpture is the railway station, which links Corby to London, and will therefore be visible to commuters as well as passengers who are travelling to other destinations through Corby. The railway station has only recently re-opened after extensive refurbishment and the idea is to have a landmark sculpture that successfully marks Corby as a place, linked to its history, but successfully re-imagined after the collapse of its once significant steel industry.

   
  
 
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     Sundew  was the subject of my lecture at the International Sculpture Centre (ISC) conference Pittsburgh, USA,  “  Sculpture in Context – Tradition & Innovation 2016”,  where I’d been invited to disseminate information regarding my landmark artwork, against the backdrop of shared industrial & societal histories of these two 20th century global hubs for steel production.

Sundew was the subject of my lecture at the International Sculpture Centre (ISC) conference Pittsburgh, USA, Sculpture in Context – Tradition & Innovation 2016”, where I’d been invited to disseminate information regarding my landmark artwork, against the backdrop of shared industrial & societal histories of these two 20th century global hubs for steel production.

Background Info

Many aspects of my output over the past twenty years have been influenced by the history and heritage of the site destined for my landmark sculptures. The culture of a community is vital to the realisation of Public Art, and this is one significant difference between what can be seen in the rarified environment of a gallery or museum, and a public space, which everyone uses on a daily basis.

Many people still feel that a gallery or museum space is not for them, despite the efforts of curators and museum directors to break down these barriers to accessing culture. So the use of public space has become an important way of integrating culture into a community and at the same time reinforce the histories and ambitions of the populace.

The working method of producing steel has been a significant influence on the development of all three concepts ideas shown here at the Cube. The fluidity and malleability of white hot metal has prompted the idea of flowing movement, as shown here in these three maquettes.

Part of the artwork designs relate to the construction techniques used in the manufacture of the Great Jib, where wire ropes were used to take equal shares of holding a Jib in the air. This method was later surpassed by a rigid box section for the suspension member of the Great Jib, but the use of tensioning ropes in my sculptures relate to this procedure of industrial construction of heavy machinery.

The use of tensioning wires also alludes to musical instruments and the prominence that music has played within the various communities of Corbyites. The eminence of music within the Corby community is varied and spans decades. It has been used to celebrate distinctiveness and has also written as a requiem to hopes dashed and once great industries brought to an abrupt halt, such as “Steeltown” by the band, Big County 1984, formed originally in Scotland.

 

“Out of the yards and run dry dock The call of the steel that would never stop Here was a refuge for those who dared”

 

Corby also boasts a number of creative writers and in particular poets, who have used the heritage and culture of Corby as a cultural barometer for their poetry. The technical structure of poetry with iambic pentameters, assonance, timbre and rhythm, are also a significant influence on the formal language of all three sculptures.

 

“Now the town is so different From when I arrived
I’ve learned of the steel And how people survived There’s the cube and the theatre All the wildlife to see
I grew with the town
Now the town grows in me”

The Journey: Michael John Pike

 

D.H. Lawrence describes the “boom of the tingling strings” as his mother played the piano, mimicking the volume and resonance of the sound (“boom”) as well as the fine, high-pitched vibration of the strings that produced it (“tingling strings”) and in the same way my sculptures explore the visual onomatopoeia of molten steel being captured in a cascading rhythm of abstract form.

My intention is to fabricate the large-scale artwork in stainless steel in order to capture the modern environment to of the railway station, and to use polished surfaces to reflect the movement of passengers and visitors to the station. I also want the sculpture to be a celebration of Corby’s renewal over the many decades of rebuilding since the 1980’s, when its industry and identity were brought to an abrupt halt.

The railway is an important location for the sculpture because of notions of connectivity, but also because Corby can now boast a cultural iconic gateway into the town that celebrates its present and future aspirations, with only a glance to its ironstone past that once made it a worldwide hub for steel production.

 

Corby Town

She’s having a makeover that’s long overdue Promised for years now but how the time flew She’s suffered the comments that left her cold ‘Not much to look at, but a heart of gold!’

Pared back to foundations, back to the bones Such transformation is making her groan Armies of workmen they chisel away Rebuilding her shape, a new piece each day

It’ll all be worth it, when she’s done
She can stand with the rest; take her place in the sun

Donna Vizma

Sundew: evening picture
Sundew in glorious sunshine