Personal Memorial Commissions

’A thing of beauty is a joy forever’
Ann Kale, quoting John Keats

 

I make memorial sculptures that are a layered map of both a person and their favourite place, designed to convey the significance of a person’s life through the sculpture in relationship to living on the land.

 

I have been sculpting for 32 years and in that time I have been concerned with returning art to an every day context, out of a gallery setting and over the years I have been encouraged to do this by being asked to make sculptures in memory of someone who has died.

 

From these experiences I have developed my art practise into a sensitive relationship between the forming of matter that makes reference to the uniqueness of an individual.

 

I make each sculpture with the specific memory of someone in mind, informed by their friends and next of kin of the qualities of their character and life presence. The work incorporates aspects of their favourite walks and places, deepening the significance of the sculpture.

 

Because of this, each sculpture then not only evokes the memory of the person but also links them into the landscape giving their life a deeper connection and significance.

 

The sculpture becomes a symbolic map that evokes the memory of the person in a context of a specific place.

 

The sculpture allows the person to not be forgotten because it links the person to a place creating a deeper memory each time the close friends and family rewalks the walk and/or looks at the sculpture.

Commissions

 

The image above shows an example of my latest commission.

A middle aged man died and I was approached by his partner to create a sculpture in memory of him. The commission started by me travelling to where he lived. I then met with his partner and allowed the person to talk to me about the person; wherby I made mental notes. We then went to a favourite place of the deceased and walked a two-hour hike through the landscape, which he frequently visited.

 

Along the walk his partner told me the stories about his relationship to the place and specific qualities he loved about unique aspects of the walk. Given the context of loss it is appropriate that I spend most of my time on a walk looking for something on the ground, searching for fragments, waiting for something to catch my eye. I find objects I share a resonance with - it is these that I borrow from their location, make a mould from and then return to their specific place.

 

I then went away and allowed the images and information about the person to absorb into me.

 

Soon I was having images reccurring from the walk and conversation coming into my imagination.

 

I also laid out on the workbench the things I had collected from the walk and precede to make moulds of each piece.

 

I then started to work with the images and construct the sculpture.

 

 

On completion of the sculpture I liased with the partner to present the sculpture within a ceremonial context. This specific memorial was erected in a London college where the deceaced was once a tutor.

 

The cast sculpture also gives a sense of longevity to a person through weight and permanence.

 

The commission can be personalised to suit the individual's needs, one can go for a complete package which includes interviews and ceremonies or one could limit the commission to just one small token memorial.

 

I have been asked to do a memorial to people who died in a concentration camp in Bosnia. I am also willing to be commissioned by a third party who wishes a memorial for an atrocity in their home land in order for it not to be forgotten and remind others who live on distant shores.

Testimonials

I had seen James' wooden sculptures in his mother's garden and admired them immensely for their sensitivity and creativity. When my mother died in 2005 I wanted a wooden sculpture in my garden overlooking Devon where I spend so much time, to commemorate both my parents and their time together. James listened to my account of my parents meeting in Devon when they were both working at the RD and E in Exeter. My father was a doctor from Australia, my mother a radiographer from Dartmoor. I told him about their marriage in Exeter before the war then their long ocean journey back to Australia after the war. The sculpture that James made as a result of my accounts is truly a wonderful depiction of their lives and is a solace to me now that they are no longer here on earth but together again.

 

Some years after my eldest daughter died I was still searching for a way to create a meaningful memorial to her. I had planted trees and written poems over the years, but still felt the need to do something more. Then, having seen his work, I thought of asking James to create a memorial sculpture for her, something that would act as a focus for both grief and healing. James and I collaborated closely in the making of this sculpture, its form evolving through James’ acutely sensitive listening to my shared memories, thoughts, feelings and associations. In the process of these discussions images emerged, images that, with James artistic vision, were transformed into this very precious memorial to my daughter.

 

 

Gallery

Below are a few recent examples of my memorial work.

Please click on an image to show it full size.

 

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