A Siberian Journal. A personal chronicle of an expedition to visit the Reindeer Herders of Northern Siberia.

In October I was privilaged to join Piers Vitebsky  (Anthropologist) on an expedition to visit the ‘Eveny’ people of North Eastern Siberia. In the ‘Forbidden zone’ of Northern Russia on the Arctic coast. Few if any westerners had been there before. I had no idea what I had let myself in for.

I have written a journal in the first person, from the notes made along the way. The images below vaguely accompany it.

Click on this and all will be revealed.. It redefines travel writing!!!

Siberian Diary 2018

The Verkhoyansk Mountain range..

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Moscow Airport.. Vodka toast with Piers before the flight…

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Our first stop over the Urals and six hours of forest, is Yakutsk…. a town on Perma frost.. pavements buckle, The wooden posts of old houses are forced through tarmac, as the ice marls and twists this old fur trading outpost. Now a boom town dealing in Siberian diamonds ..

Yakustsia (the region) is the size of India with a million people in it. We have to fly over it northward over mountain ranges to get to Tiksi our next stop.

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The old quarter. Old wooden houses still occupied, though neglected and forgotten.

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The next day we fly three hours North to Tiksi, over the Verkhoyansk mountains, we leave the last tree’s on the Taiga, and fly over never ending mountains, in a school bus with wings.

 

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Meet Tolya, (big character) Pier’s great friend. A Deer Herder turned anthropologist. He can read the mountains. and points out villages and valley’s he and Piers have travelled.

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After three hours the Arctic ocean comes into view..

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Lakes reminding me of Narwal skin.

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We arrive in Tiksi, in the forbidden zone on a sensitive coast. As the ice retreats due to global warming the Arctic offers great potential as a trading route from East to West, avoiding the Suez and the South China seas, pirates wouldn’t survive up here. It’s also a long and lengthy border very close to the U S and Europe.

Mainly occupied by the military and sea men it once had a population of 20,000 now only 4000. meaning 4/5 ths of it is empty. It certainly feels like it..

The few shops  that exist don’t advertise themselves, no need to.. and the concrete blocks are crumbling, you can only tell they are inhabited when dim lights appear in windows at night.

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A Tiksi street.

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One of the docks.

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The off licence..

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The corridor where we had to report to the ‘Border Police’ office.

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We visited the Museum.

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The museum Gallery

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and a selection of local creatures, stuffed…

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Note the polystyrene sea

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A reconstructed Mammoth.. supported by welded electrical conduit and wire.

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Cast Iron radiators seemed to have a myriad of uses.

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walk back from the museum.

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We were kindly put up by a local administrator..this is the stairway to the flat.

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We rested the night and set off the next morning for the land trip to the tiny village of Naiba, which is the base for the Herding community in this region. We heard we were to travel in a ‘Tank’ an all terrain vehicle. These had a reputation, we were pensive.

 

Our hopes were not raised on arrival.

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We discovered we were to sit on top of the vehicle for the duration….

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Vlodjar steered the ‘Tank’ with two levers,each controlling a brake, burning brake fluid soon filled the cab.

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One of the many break downs, that hampered our progress..

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A hobby I took up..

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After 14 hours, we had made little progress. There was talk of a man in a hut at  a Goldmine an hour away, (the only refuge for hundreds of miles) we could stay the night there if we could get to it, or we could freeze….

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The Goldmine was empty for the winter, a man guarded it against bandits. He was lovely and made us supper, offered us beds in the Miners dorm.

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5o gallon drum, wood fired stove.

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Our dorm..

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Huts on skids for easy movement in the snow..

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The next morning we prepare to leave.. another gruelling day ahead..

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We break down many times, the caterpillar tracks coming off after 15 hours travelling.. It’s dark and it’s snowing.. I crawl into the back to sleep with the husky on a bag of onions as Vlodjar tells us the river between us and the village is to high to cross and we have to detour.. he then gets lost.. we are rescued in the early hours of the morning..

We wake to find ourselves in the tiny fishing village of Naiba.. population 400, this Eveny village is the only inhabited place in an area half the size of Wales.

The mountains at the rear of the village are the ones we were lost in the night before. You can just make out the river in the foreground, the Arctic beyond.

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We wake to find out we are still a day away from the Reinder Herders hut.. we have to get back on the machine early as we need to be there before nightfall…

Our lovely hosts bid us farewell

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Our tracks.

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Our third day travelling on a deafening bone crunching concrete mixer, in sub zero temperatures unfolds..

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We finally see a pin prick of light in the dark.. it takes another half hour to reach the tiny wooden hut, housing six men, who make up a ‘Brigade’ of Herders. The Deer are somewhere deep in the mountains.   Head torches strafing the dark and barking dogs greet us.. frozen we are ushered into the hut for boiled Reindeer.. and Tea.

Tonight we are curios, the Herders find our quirks most amusing, how we hold a fork, how we chew and our left handedness all raise mirth..

 

Anatloy the Brigadeer.. we sleep head to head on bunks that line the walls of this ancient hut..

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Tolya now totally at home , tells stories. Re-enacting scenes that have taken place in these hills for centuries..

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The wonderful stove , the heart of the hut, kettles constantly boiling. The wood is whittled into kindling for the dawn lighting.

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White Sausage, blood plasma in Intestine

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My bunk, Reindeer hide..very comfortable..

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The next morning we wake to find out where we are, and what we’re staying in!

 

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Numerous dogs emerge from tufts of grass their night-time lairs.

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My first Reindeer, tethered to a post, being broken in..hut in the rear.

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Piers examines a saddle, made of Reindeer.

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Anatoly saddles up  in preparation for going out to find the herd..

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The Larder.. high enough to avoid Wolves Bear and Wolverine..

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Nothing rots as it never thaws.. here are the left overs of months of meals..

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A skinned fox..

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The specialized hoof of a reindeer. It splayes out to maximise surface area on the snow and the hairs (unique to the reindeer) help with surface tension.

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The Hide clad door to the hut.

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At last, the climax of the whole trip! The herd appear in the valley. Ushered by Yuri and Anatoly on their deer.  They flow over the land like lava, their antlers like a coralline forest.. they settle in a swirl like a shoal of pilchard. the sudden presence of 3000 eyes and consciousness’ is intimidating.

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Lasso’s are made of twisted Reindeer gut and the toggle at the end is carved from Mountain sheep horn.

 

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After a day with the deer we retreat to the hut for more venison and tea.

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The next day we have to return. The time it took us to get here,and the uncertainty of safe passage back, means our stay is short.

We retrace our steps like a rewinding video tape…

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The river at Naiba is just low enough to cross..

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The next day I explore the Orthodox grave yard, distorted by the Perma frost..like an Expressionistic stage set..

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That night we experience the first Aurora Borealis of the year, the villagers whistle to it to encourage it….

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We travel for another two days. On arrival in Tiksi we discover the Airstrip is frozen and we are stranded for a week.. we nervously await news, and then Tolyas brother a herder some 700 miles south, phones on his satellite phone to tell us our plane is coming.. he’s seen it in the sky.. we pack and sure enough the plane arrives..

I think this is a good place to stop…

 

Exhausted?  try reading the text… you may find the pain worthwhile..let me know if you manage it..

Thankyou for staying with it.. back to sculpture next week.. you never know there may be a Siberian influence..

 

Thanks..Lxx

 

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STOP PRESS : Talk at the NPG

Hello.. this is an unusual posting..

 

I’m giving a talk at the National Portrait Gallery Next thurday.. lunchtime…15th November..

 

It would be vey nice to see you there.. yes you!!!

 

Check out the link for details and tickets.. and previous postings for an idea of content…

 

I’ve written my Siberian adventures up.. they are being read through and checked by those in the know and will be posted after my talk.. .I hope you’ll be able to contain yourself until then…a few images follow for a flavour……

 

https://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/event-root/november/lunchtime-lecture-15112018

 

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GOSH!

 

 

 

 

Giant bronze feet emerge… Rope tricks… and Siberian Reindeer herders….

Ok, after a long summer life kicks in .. we’ve been heavy into casting.. The Colossus has moved onto the next phase.. we now have two feet.. nearly a quarter of a tonne each.. this project is so big we can only take it a step at a time!

Prepare yourself for an epic posting.. only the casting nerds will survive this..

 

Here he is.. moulds beginning at his feet…

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Eva plastering over a heel.

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Tom pulling off rubber cases .. after the plaster cases have been removed..

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Rubbers safely back in the plaster jackets cleaned and ready for wax painting.

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Three layers of coloured wax applied.. trimmed then the sprueing system is attached.. channels through which the bronze will eventually pour..

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fine surface coat of grog and plaster is sprayed on for detail…

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More grog and plaster to create the core.

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pouring cup in the base is where the bronze will eventually enter the mould.. so much of this is thinking 8 stages ahead…

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Eva pulls off the rubber for the ‘reveal’  the wax is lovely.. she will now touch up the casting seams and repair any surface defects.. this new spay on blue rubber is fantastic for detail..

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Craig adds the vents which will take the air out when the bronze goes in..

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Then spends days applying the plaster and grog mould surface.. chain is wrapped on the inner surfaces to mitigate some of the immense pressure the ‘investment’ will be subject to when 250 kg of bronze is poured into it at high velocity..

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Haven’t got a picture of the finished investment, you’ll have to use your imagination…

The investments have been in the kiln for a week, now out, Craig inspects the pouring cups to make sure they are cooked and clean…

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Fred blows air through them to clean out dust and detritus .

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Nuhng is applying plaster and scrim very carefully , to strengthen the ‘investments’.. a lot of work has gone into these we don’t want them to burst…

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Fred and Tom skillfully pour in the bronze.. a whole crucible for one foot.!.the  temperature is around 1070 degrees centigrade

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Crowds gather.. this lot are the ‘Suffolk Art Fund’ visiting for the day….

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Nuhng in the gear…

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The break out starts.. this will take a day!

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Finally we have bronze feet..what a bloody palarva!IMG_0227IMG_0246

the surfaces are great we are very happy…. its the ankles next  two years of casting and we might get there!!  one step at a time eh..

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Elsewhere in the studio

I have finished the final Figure for the Heveningham Hall  Niches.. this is the ‘Artisan’ he stands on a pile of broken mouldings, these are from the hall. The East wing of the Hall burnt down years ago and the restoration project has been ongoing.. this guy represents that work.. he contemplates a ‘Wyatt’ ceiling and dwells upon it and many other things i’m sure..

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The fragments of mouldings, covered in the first layer of blue rubber..

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The Tutu is the mould seam, plastic shim is suspended and kept in place with wire and paper clips.. wonderful solutions to fiddly problems..

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Tom with the new spray gun.. this sprays a fine layer of rubber onto the surface, built up again and again, its comparatively fast and saves a lot of man hours.. It’s technology developed for casting the vast blades of wind turbines.

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Other moulds are being made.. using pink rubber.. what a lovely colourful process this is.. Louis is getting good at this..

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Nuhng is just starting..

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New guy Jamie has previous experience , so is let loose on making moulds for some Christopher LeBrun sculptures we’ve agreed to cast.. large-scale works…

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This is the sculpture Louis is making the mould of.. he’s called ‘EEK!’

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Other sculptures developing at the Fire Station..

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Early days , but I’m enjoying rope and twine… Bought 250 metres from a chandlers.

Fantastic!

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Imagine casting this!!  sorely tempted..

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The fifth Niche figure is now in bronze.. being welded together.. the detail on the base is incredible.. bronze really is amazing stuff!

SIBERIA….

I’m travelling with Anthropologist and writer Piers Vitebsky to a remote region rarely visited.  North Eastern Siberia is the home to the ‘Eveny’ nomadic reindeer herders, a people Piers has been studying for over thirty years.. I am visiting as a guest of the University of Yakutsk. Piers’s great friend Tolya is to be our guide.. we arrive after three days travelling to a place called Tiksi way above the Arctic circle, (next stop the North pole) to a land of permafrost and vast herds of Reindeer, wolves, bears and amazing bird life of the Elena Delta. We will travel for 80 miles on sledges to the herding settlements, and from there reach out into the Taiga to find the herders.. A privilege and a very exciting prospect..

look out for the next blog, for less casting and more herding..

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This is a wonderful book written buy Piers about the Eveny, their way of life and the Shamanism they practice, a practice fading fast.. he has recorded it for posterity!!

His book Living ‘Without the Dead’ about the Indian tribes of Soraland in Orissa, has just been published, its wonderful too, already winning international awards..

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You’ve done well to get through this one, pat yourself on the back.. see you when I get back!!!

 

Sculpture for the miners, more than just bronze portraits.. heads in Wiltshire……

We’ve finally got a show up presenting the idea for the Mining Sculpture for Doncaster.. Frenchgate Shopping centre kindly gave us a shop space, and we’ve put on a show..

It’s called a ‘A Rich Seam’

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Had pods booths and posters all over the shopping Mall.. felt quite important..

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Here’s some of the plaster heads being prepared for the show.. each miner who sat for one, received a head.

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Fantastic photo portraits of the miners were taken by Danny Heaton and the students of film and photography at Doncaster College, they looked heroic!

 

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The proposed sculpture will feature a myriad of bronze Miners portraits, presented in small niches in a rock, as though they were a seam of coal.. each head will be connected to a film made during the portrait session. These will be  digitally accessed at the sculpture, so you’ll scan a code and get the film of the head you’re looking at..

A digital archive as well as a piece of art!

Set into the paving around the sculpture will be a glossary of words and mining terms particular to Doncaster, each Pit and there were a lot surrounding Doncaster, had its own particular language and terminology. some of these will be etched into the pavement, alongside the names of the Pits and Colliery’s and we hope names of miners who have been sponsored to feature in the scheme.

So you’ll walk over the language as you approach the sculpture , meet the miners the users of the language, listen and watch them on your phone and then on the otherside meet the big listening miner.. what a treat.

You can see the mock-up of the rock in the shop.. with a few of the heads in plaster in their niches….

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Apparently its very ‘Game of thrones’ which is cool.. though I wouldn’t know.

Its going to be much bigger.. this is the other side of it.. A listening miner stands in a shaft, listening to the settling mine (the sounds of the geology of the mine settling was something that came up frequently in the sessions)  He is also listening to the voices on the other side.

 

Imagine the Miner is six-foot high to get an idea of the scale..

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And to make it all perfect.. I had a massive printed wall of a load of the sketches made in the research and development of the project.. it was printed and pasted up like wallpaper. You can see another maquette of the miner here.. I like the fact that he engages with the drawings.

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Here’s some shots of the heads being prepped.

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The opening was like a reunion, I was stunned at the positivity. There were times when I thought it would be impossible to get an idea that would satisfy all parts of this incredibly proud community, worse than Brexit.. But the miners were very supportive, and the feedback from visitors has been emotional in some cases. I think we are tapping into something , creating a new community around the rock..We are still looking for miners and those related to mining in the area, to come and offer their heads! Have a photographic portrait done and then go forward to be selected to be in the sculpture, get in touch with Jo Mcquade at  jo.mcquade@doncaster.gov.uk to put your or a friend’s name forward and for the dates of the photo session s at Frenchgate. (It will be in the first week of August.)

The show continues at Frenchgate Shopping centre until the 4th of August. below is the invitation..

A rich seam invitation

Its being ‘crowd funded’.. please support the project by clicking on the link and making a donation.. tell all your friends and Networks.

http://www.doncastersminingstatue.org.uk/

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The wax heads were also being exhibited as part of the ‘Revelation of the Head’ show at Messum’s Wiltshire.

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Heres the rather fine catalogue for the show.

Heads Catalogue 23.5.18

 

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Also finished and installed the first four Niche figures for Heveningham Hall in Suffolk, a fantastic opportunity. Here’s a taster- shots from the install..

better shots in the next blog..

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You are still able to see this very large plaster head (‘Time out of mind’ is its name)  at Jason Gaythorne Hardy’s, White House Farm,in Glemham, Suffolk. Where it had its first outing at the ‘Alde Valley Spring Festival’ ,if you want to visit it or indeed Jason at the farm where lots of art is available to be seen throughout the year, email him at enquiries@aldevalleyspringfestival.co.uk . It will stay here until it’s needed for a big show I have coming up at Messums Wilts in September 2019.

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Excuse the moody look.. I should have listened to Doug the photographer and said ‘cheese’, anyway I’m only there to give you an idea of the scale of this thing.

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On top of all that visits to my studio and foundry go on, here are the ‘Norfolk Contemporary Arts society’ on a visit earlier this month.. ‘The society of British Portrait sculptors’, and the ‘Suffolk Art fund’ will have visited before the summers out.. if you want to organise a group just get in touch.. edwards.bronze@gmail.com

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Last but not least I’m opening a show at the Diss Corn Hall this friday the 20th.. 6pm all welcome. Writer and Broadcaster, Malcom Donay will be a Q&A’ing me in the theatre there on the same evening and we will be showing the ‘Creek Man’ and ‘Thousand tides’ films .. the show will continue until September the 1st..

OPEN EVENING – Laurence EdwardsPOSTER – Laurence Edwards July – Aug 2018

After all that the team deserve a good rest.

  Tom, Nhung, Louis, Ed, Fred, Eva and Rowan!

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….till the next time!

 

 

SCULPTURE, sculpture, more sculpture…Australia, dead horses and the odd fox….

Back from the other side of the planet, a successful exhibition was had at 12 Mary’s Place Paddington Sydney,  A historic gallery in Sydney recently re-opened by the ‘Defiance Gallery’ we virtually sold out with orders for editions..The show is now open in Melbourne at a brand new space .

 

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Heres the catalogue ..just a click away!  Lawrence Edwards Gatter 13.3.18

Got a chance to travel. We got to Orange over the Blue Mountains where we were hosted by amazing Wine and food growers and met up with my sculptor friend Harrie Fascher at her wonderful studio in Oberon…

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Get an idea of her work, studio and life, and the great person artist….she is…by watching this film…

she’s just won a $50,000 prize …

 

Lots of Horses at her studio…one was shot outside my bedroom window one bright morning.. it was old.  I have to say I’m disappointed to find my photography only recorded the grimmest of things… Here’s the aftermath after I’d had breakfast and brushed my teeth…

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Then we went to the ‘Bush’ to meet Stirling Dixon  (Farmer and ecologist) at Taralga , part of the Tarlo National Park.. where foxes are not wanted..

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Brought over by us Brits .. they wreak havoc with the indigenous mammal and bird population, small marsupials and ground nesting birds suffer terribly.. Stirling  and friends attempt to keep them under control.. a fine welcome…

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Here he is leading the way on a small expedition.. well across a stream….

 

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Eucalyptus where he pointed out striations on the bark where flying squirrels sucked sap at night.

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His house

 

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stunning interior built by himself sensous earth floor.

 

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From left Harrie, Stirling, Anne and Jan.. who told me tales of travelling, looking for rock art in the Kimberley’s (far north Aboriginal territory).. where a wasp nest covering a rock painting had been removed and carbon dated.. and was found to be 20,000 yrs old….painting could have been 40,000..

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Trees six months after a forest fire..Stirling got a new bush trained dog, that went missing on its first night.. so well-trained was it that in the morning 80 wild goats were herded at the front of the house (these and wild pigs are the scourge of the bush apparently) Stirling was able to sell them on to the local restaurants.. a lovely dish, one we delighted in that night.. good dog!

Apparently poor thing was gorged by a miffed Billy the next day…that was the end of him…

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The wonderful shower..water warmed by a fire .

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One of the many termite mounds reminding me of my ‘Sylvan man”

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The show continues in Melbourne 409 Malvern Way, South Yarra until the 13th of June..

 

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Saw a fantastic Patricia Pincinnini show at the Brisbane Museum of Modern Art.. a great new museum. Brisbane is developing fast.. I’ve liked this artists work from afar for years so pleased to see them in the flesh.. I think they’re very Australian.. in the way horn and nail penetrates flesh.. their marsupial type relations with a platypus type convergence of materials and imagery..

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anthropomorphized  courting Vespas,

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Ruminations on Artificial intelligence and machines ability to reproduce..

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Back in the UK, life had continued a pace.. the Niche figures for Heveningham hall being finished and moulds made and the 5th (of 6) now ready for casting. I’m learning a lot.  It will be 10 life-size figures modelled and cast in just over a year, and editions sold of some of them ….

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The team pouring a wax of figure number 4

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Under the watchful gaze!

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The fifth one is based on a figure I made in the early 1990’s which I’d always wanted to scale up..

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I attached small surveying figures on him, fused into the sprueing system. I called the sculpture ‘Standing upto Scrutiny’ Might try it again on a larger scale!

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Tobias Ford, was out kayaking at Butley Creek, and trying to beat the time home got these rare images of ‘The Thousand Tides’ sculpture emerging in the water…

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and these ghostly shots of him shot on the way out.

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Finally, The Alde Valley Spring festival opened when I was in Australia.. Tom managed to finish The massive head for it. It’s in plaster and terribly photographed but you’ll get the idea.. we’ll have professional shots of it next time.

 

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I’m delivering work to Messums Wiltshire for A Head show starting there on the 26th of May..

 

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EXHIBITION: The Revelation of the Head

Saturday 26 May – Sunday 8 July
Preview: Saturday 26 May, 6:30pm RSVP

Our 13th century barn is the setting for a carefully chosen selection of some of the best heads that history has to offer. Ranging from ancient to contemporary.
Artists include Gavin Turk, Jonathan Yeo, Elisabeth Frink and many more…read more

 

I’m doing a gallery talk there on the 16th of June.a saturday morning. contact gallery for details..

 

coloThat’s it for now …next time I hope to have finished the plaster phase of the Colossus and may have even begun moulding with new equipment…bought especially.. don’t hold your breathe now..

and news on the show for the Mining sculpture we’re installing at the end of June in the French gate shopping centre..Doncaster.  Here’s a rock we’ve started to build in preparation.. tune in next time to see it finished!!!

Lx

From portraits in palms, to the heads of giants. Australian Exhibitions and an Irish poet…

Hello… where to start! Don’t worry I’ll keep it brief..

The Colossus (26ft High figure) has moved into the next phase. the bit where I start modelling.   Its taken 8 months so far and i’ve planned for a three year job.. I will be modelling the surface keeping it as fresh as possible ,keeping the surface active and alive without confusing the issue, making it readable from distance and interesting up close.  Marks made with the sweep of an arm now sit with thumb marks scaled up from the model, now the size of dustbin lids.  Fingers scratch and claw amidst dollops and squelch’s flung from distance.  The learning curve is immense..heres a brief evolution… firstly the finished polystyrene form.. lovingly carved by Tom,covered in plaster and skrim.

poly1

 

My first job was to effectively cover and corrupt the faithful reproduction of the maquette.

A hard thing to do considering Tom and Eva had spent 6 months creating it.

poly2

 

poly3

 

I needed to thicken the torso and find form, musculature and mass.

poly4

 

 

poly6plaster7

plastyer

I decided to use grog and plaster instead of plaster, giving me a softer and more open textured surface. This is the material we use to make the moulds over the waxes, (the Investments)  so I’ve manipulated and built forms with it for 30 years, its second nature to me now.

 

plaster3

The figure will progress from a side which is organic, ‘of the earth’. To a more figurative form, the forearm and hand are an example of the more figurative elements. I was surprised that I could model relatively easily on this scale, that the anatomical knowledge in me, was scaleable…and didn’t necessarily require a whole new approach.. phew!

plaster4plaster5

 

I want the gaze to look down to  a space about 15ft in front of the sculpture (the place where, disconcertingly now, we drink wine every friday night).  One eye  will hopefully  fix the viewer and the feeling evoked will be of reticence, inner resolve and submission to an energy or state bigger than itself. A kind of grumpy concession to the forces of nature and a steely almost judgmental questioning of the viewer who is, perhaps unknowingly, at this moment in time free of his constraints and commitment.  But who will some day rejoin, re-enter that vast geological cosmic swirl.

 

plaster10

 

View looking down from the access platform to Tom on the floor, its high and wobbly up there..

plaster8

 

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Meanwhile up in Doncaster  at the other end of the scale the palm held portraits continue. This gruelling exercise of two days of sittings creating six wax portraits and films is mentally and physically demanding. The Miners are fascinating and to have subjects walk in sit down, tell their life stories and leave, altering me and my experience in the process, is humbling .

The idea for the finished work is evolving fast, I think it will involve fifty or so heads.  made over a year.

I am having an exhibition of the work and ideas done so far in a vacant shop in The F’renchGate’  shopping centre toward to end of May into ~ June, this outing should help resolve the final plans and provide a gateway to creating the final piece.

 

Keith Marshall: Session 11keith2keithkeith waxc

 

 

Dave Allport : Session 12david bw

 

dave wax

 

Mr McQuade : Session 8

mquade

Mr Tempest: Session 7.

 

Tempest

 

Tom: Session 9

 

tom

 

Anthony Busell: Session 10wax

I’ve continued to deliver talks and presentations as part of the consultation. I think now after 6 months of this kind of exposure I’m beginning to understand the issues and sentiments of this unique community !!

I make a presentation to the Mayor next week.

 

Here’s the link to the films of the sessions.. if not on the main menu you’ll find the latter sessions on the side bar amidst usual You tube detritus.. A sparkling website is being built this is a holding page operating in the meantime, Doncaster college are fantastically helpful imaginative and enthusiastic!!

 

 

talktalk2talk3

 

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The `Heveningham Hall, Niche figures’ are evolving.

Two have now been cast into bronze and the third ‘The Patriarch’ is now in wax. I like them very much, an implicit narrative has developed, it’s a life cycle. Though where it starts and finishes is never determined.  The ‘Patriarch’ is a strong character, who can be looking at a new generation evolving, or his own past laid out.. the 4th and 5th figures are in clay. Six are needed to fill the 9ft Niches in this incredible 18th century Wyatt interior, its an incredible honour.  I’m hoping we’ll have installed the 6ft bronzes by the Summer.

 

patriarchpatclaypatwaxpatwaxes

Funny, you can see the big guy through the door in the open space….

patwaxt

 

Here’s the top half of the first one..

 

brood

A glimpse of the niches and the sculptures since removed..

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I’ve just opened a show of maquettes in London. ‘Messums’, Cork Street. The reception has been great. Here are exerts from the catalogue, it finishes in mid April.. I will be in Australia setting up exhibitions in Sydney and Melbourne at that time.

The first show opens at ‘Mary’s Place’, Paddington , Sydney on sunday the 15th of April, The second at ‘409 Malvern Road’, Melbourne, opens on the 13th of May ending 6th of June .

Look out too for the ‘Alde Valley Spring Festival’ in Glehman, Suffolk, this year. A new gallery is being built to house the large ‘Chthonic Head series ‘, very exciting.

I’ve also modelled a small head of the Roman Emperor ‘Claudius’. The Roman bronze of which was found in the River Alde near Glemham over a hundred years ago. It was discarded by one of `Bodica’s’ Mercian soldiers after  the sacking  of Colchester.

A copy of the head from the British Museum will act as a centre piece for the festival this year and my offering will be shown next to it. Bronzes and plasters of the head will be available to purchase through the festival. I’ll also have a range of new maquettes and studis on show beside rthe heads.

Laurence Edwards 2018 cover (2nd layout)-1

Installing this massive  ‘Chthonic Head’ in Mayfair was a challenge, he looks great in the gallery space. We’ll be showing him in Australia too.

Laurence Edwards 2018 text (2nd layout)-1

 

 

Opening pages featuring ‘Keep Breathing’pge1

 

‘Endless Game’

endless game

 

 

‘All Roads’

all roads

 

‘The Chase’chasecatchermounted headgroup

‘Boardwalker’

boardwalker

 

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Finally the great Irish Poet ‘Paddy Bushe’, who lives on an eroding cliff on the western coast of Southern Ireland, wrote this beautiful Poem about ‘The Carrier’.

The last edition of which sold this week.  He will be spending his days  in ‘Orange County’ Australia.  Which sounds a far cry from these snow filled Suffolk marshes…

69

 

Statuesque

for Laurence Edwards

The man bends under the weight of the cuttings

He will draw home. He has spent the day hewing

The small branches and shoots that he is allowed.

The leaves and shoots will feed the cow he tethers

Because he has no grazing. The branches will keep the fire

Smouldering another day. We will manage, he thinks.

His load is tied with bits and pieces of thin rope, knotted

And tightened beyond all measure. The pack solidifies,

Its outside branches scored by pressure from the rope.

When he heaves it onto his shoulders, sinews

And branches knot into each other, the man grows

Into his load, his load an impetus that lifts him up.

Seeing him against the light, you could imagine him

Bronzed, heroic. You could see something noble in this.

 

 

 

Thankyou paddy..

next posting will feature  a collection of poems by Caroline Maldonado about the ‘Creek Men’.

 

Well it wasn’t as short as I’d hoped, apologies for that.. see you in a month…Lx

 

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Portraits all shapes and sizes, Doncaster Miners, Colossi and Sculptures for Australia……

I’ve been in Doncaster all week, working on portraits of the Mining community, in preparation for the large commission I’ve received, to create a sculpture for the town celebrating the MIning culture, that’s sadly  no more . This is part of the ‘Consultation’ phase but I’m beginning to think it might be a bit more than that!!

Danny Heaton runs the photography department along with Liz (forgive me Liz you’ll have to tell me your surname one day) at Doncaster College. They are energized motivated and making things happen.

We’ve advertised on face book and other social networks for members of the mining community to come forward and have themselves photographed by Danny’s students. I then choose ‘Heads’ from them and then once a month (from now on) spend two days modelling them in wax, for two hours, the sitting is filmed and live streamed by film students, (brilliant!) The sitters tell their story, I listen and model in wax a small head, its strangely fascinating, even for me..

This all came out of a conversation with my son, who told me Rodin went to Calais to model the citizenry in preparation for the Burghers of Calais commission. This I thought was a lovely idea and a great way to get to know the community, and so it has proved.

 

Here are the heads still in wax transported in a bucket of water from Doncaster…

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steve

This is Steve, he was a ‘Fitter’ mechanic, often on his own deep underground. Now at 67 a keen cyclist and runner who did the Three peak challenge in 4hrs 50 minutes last year!!!

I love this kindly head..

steve bw72

 

steve 2

 

steve 72

 

steve 4

 

 

steve smiles72

 

 

steve 5

 

Keith gold

 

This is Keith a proud ‘Goldthorpe’ miner, He brought me a ‘Nadge’ (A beautiful axe cum lump hammer for striking through the corrugated lining of the tunnels to make manholes in the sides) Married to Lyn a policewoman, who served throughout the strikes. Lovliest of couples and warm kind people.

keith gol

 

Here’s Keith and I on the live feed screen HQ!

 

screens72

 

keith gld2

 

 

joan2

This Joan Hart a famous ‘Pit Nurse’,  85 now, she has written a book of her experiences, nervous to start with, soon started to tell me what she thought of me and my oral wax. habits!..

 

joan Hart72

 

joan

 

keith allsopp

Keith Allsopp  big character came with his  lovely wife Suzanne, hilarious stories of mining folk, vivid depictions of Pit Ponie racing miles underground with only the lights on their helmets to show the way.  Finger missing, lover of Dimple Whiskey!

 

modeeling keith72keith alssopp72keith allsopp72keith allsopp fini 72

 

keilth alssopp

 

conner2

10 year old Conner Hughes was Mick Lanaghan’s grandson, Mick’s a pillar and font of knowledge of the mining community, He mined at Hatfield, the only Pit Head still standing. told of migrant communities and Gypsies.

 

Conner hughes72

conner

 

rachrek2

 

Rachel Horne, a ‘Strike baby’, now an activist and editor of ‘Doncapolitan’, a magazine serving Doncaster dealing with social issues, serving as a mouthpiece and platform for the vibrant culture in the area.

rachel

We’re going to cast the heads and the next 6, and show them together with the photographic portraits in an empty shop in ‘Frenchgate’ the main shopping centre of th e town, i’ll also be showing the proposals for the finished work.. at the moment i’m thinking it may feature many many portraits.. i’m really quite escitied..

Here are the links to the films made during the sittings…

 

I’m returning in Feb to do another 6…so if you area miner  in the Doncaster area get in touch with Danny  daniel.heaton@don.ac.uk and get your photo taken..we really want to hear from you..

 

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Meanwhile back at the foundry The  26ft Colossus is nearing the end of his first phase in the foundry.. next he has to be covered in plaster, then I start modelling the plaster.. here are some of the team at his feet..photographed by Bill Jackson..

yox

yox2

 

`This is the bronze maquette.

Little_red_man

 

This is a plaster head over six-foot high, I’ve made him in order to practice the modelling and surfacing work, but can’t resist ‘caring’ so now I quite like him and will be showing him alongside the large bronze heads I’ve made. Firstly at ‘The Alde Valley Spring Festival” in Glemham Suffolk, in April – May, then at Messums Wiltshire in May  -June as part of a show all about the ‘Head’ freaturing heads from antiquity to now.

IMG_8259IMG_8253IMG_8254

 

Here are the bronze heads, called “Chthonic heads 1&2′

Chthonic heads 1&2Chthonic head 3Q_Chtnoic head side view

 

Here they are being modelled in clay, to give you a sense of scale.

 

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Bill spent a few frosty mornings photographing in the Suffolk landscape, for the catalogues promoting the upcoming show in Messum’s ,Cork St, starting March 14th. and the Sydney show. We were trying to make it look a bit Australian, wide flat horizons and big sky’s.. frost gives it away a bit though, too good to ignore.

 

Chthonic Head 1head2heads2heads

 

Here are some of the other pieces Sydney bound, by no means all the works going, i’ll show you the others when the show starts..  Its taken a while to cast and collate them, i’m excited to see how they feel in Sydney..

The Carrier..

 

‘The Catcher’  14 ft wide..

 

The CarrierThe Carrier,,

 

Sylvan man(hev)

 

‘Sylvan Man’

 

sylv

 

Hands on Hips L

“Hands on Hips’ life size bronze.

Hands on Hips

 

'Top Step' oz one

Man on steps. life size figure..

'Top step' (verdigree oz one)

small study ‘`Long way down’

Crouching man5 (Long way down)

 

‘Feel the Heat 2’Feel The Heat 2

 

‘Feel the Heat 1’

Feel the heat 1

 

There are lots more but I fear I may bore you!!! I’ll update soon with Danny’s portraits of the miners , and of them sitting for me..scrollo n for earlier postings…speak soon..

 

be safe be good…Lx