Back from Covid-lots of Eds!!

Hi there.. welcome back.. the keen eyed, the mad and the enthusiastic amongst you, will have noticed my absence on the interweb. I Decided not to bore you with my ‘fantastic’ Lockdown exploits and concentrate on having them..

You won’t see them in this post either..no, instead you will be exposed to what was happening just as it all started and where we’ve got to since we opened up again at beginning of June…. the actual stuff I made during lockdown will be saved for you in the next post!!! Its very exciting I can tell you.

So we’ll start with the Biggest thing! The Colossus is coming together in bronze, after a myriad of structural difficulties, complicated welding exams and new cranes installations, we’ve finally got to the fun bit..Well Tom has..

Here he is …

Welding the feet together..

Here’s Tom showing new ‘Expert guy’ Eddy Triplow the ropes!

Eddy is getting the hang of it.. He’s a real nice guy ‘Nice guy Eddy’

Tom’s passed loads of difficult welding exams to do this bit.. he can now make an oil rig in the north sea… This is the start of the stainless steel framework going inside the feet and legs.

Solid as a rock….

You may be a fresh visitor to my blog. This is what the Yox-Man (Colossus) is going to look like.. you can see how far we’ve got to go!! Hope to be finished in the new year.

can you see me!

I thought i’d show you the destruction of this plaster beast, it actually influenced my covid work… the stuff i’m not showing you!

The other ED, (second of three featured tonight) hacked off the plaster outer skin to reveal the polystyrene core..stuff we hadn’t seen for two years.

Everything at this scale is an engineering problem!!

I’ve decided to leave the head hanging…

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Next Chapter.. yes they’ll be a couple more!

Third edition of the ‘Man Of Stones’.

Just a couple of ‘finishing’ shots to show, then him on a trailor and the Suffolk countryside..

Here he is, by the scruff..Thats Fred finishing him.

The Arty shot for this post..

The eagerly awaited trailer shot.. being delivered to a secret location..

Here we are overtaking him..

Here’s the traffic jam we caused..

And for those that don’t know the sculpture.. Here’s the posh photograph of him..He’s a favourite, the first cast is permanantly sited in the Sainsbury Centre Sculpture Park (UEA) Norwich.

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Next Chapter!

Walking Man.. 8 foot tall.

Here’s ED’s mould of him under construction..

Here’s wonderful happy Nhung touching up the wax head..

Two hands ..he is big..

Nhung keeping it togerher!

It’s horrible when months of work are reduced to 5 photographs.

I love these waxes, though the hot weather meant I found him on the floor, the morning the client came to view him…

I’m very fortunate to have been commissioned to make five walking men, 8 ft tall, this is really too exciting.. I’m still coming to terms with it.. this is how I’d like them to work together.. I’ll explain more as the project developes.

In the meantime here are some lovely moody daylight studio shots of the plaster studies about 18 inches high, taken by my old friend Tim Bowden..

I’m working with waxes of them too..in different schemes..

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So what have we learnt?

  • 8 foot is my new favourite size.. works in the landscape brilliantly, and i’ve got about 6 more of that size to make over the next two years..
  • There are two Eds in the studio, well actually I’ve been called Ed, Eddy, Steady even Teddy before so that makes three and at a push we could let Fred in the gang thats four!.

Please sign up, it helps on dark winter nights, and look out for the much awaited Covid blog coming in a few weeks..

Thankyou for hanging on..

love to you ..LXX

Portrait expedition to ‘Saami-land’

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OK, This follows on from the Doncaster miners post and project..

I have modelled and cast forty portaits of Miners for a large public art project in Doncaster, England.

Background to this Trip.

The realisation that I could do a portrait in two hours and interview someone at the same time, was a revelation to me, and did not go unnoticed by others.

Amongst them was Piers Vitebsky, Professor in Anthroplogy at Cambridge University who thought, like me, that this technique, might offer a novel way of recording the lives and experiences of peoples from around the world.

He suggested I take a trip to the Arctic circle with a group of Indigenous peoples and Anthroplogists.

And so it came to pass.

I have to say at this point the enjoyment of this posting will be greatly enhanced by a read through of my ‘Saami Diary’.. A cup of tea or a coffee, for those of a nervous disposition, should now be prepared and a comfortable seat found.. it will take the length of time it takes drink this beveridge to read.  After this, you will know in detail how to take a Bow-Head Whale from a Walrus hide kayak and feed your village.  You will know what Musk ox tastes like and indeed what is like to snuzzle up to a drunken reindeer herder in a bunk made for one.

Here it is .. a finely honed and crafted text,

Laurence Sami diary EDITED

Voila!  Now we can begin…

 

We shall proceed with wonderful images, and brief captions.

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This is the map of the Arctic circle that greeted us on the wall at the Artikum, A Polar research academy in Roveniemmi (Father Christmas’s hometown in Lapland)

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Here we met our companions for the week.. a host of Indigenous people from the Arctic Circle. Whale Hunters from the Bering Straits, Polar Bear and Fisher people from Northern Greenland. Nenets, Khanty, Eveny, and Sakha join Inuit from Alaska, Kaslaallisut, Nanavut, Nuuk and other Greenland territories.

Shari Fox an Anthroplogist from Clyde River near Baffin Island, has organised this expedition in order that indeginous peoples can share and compare lives and experiences and discuss the best ways to research and promote the issues that concern them.

 

 

 

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But first you must witness Piers and I indulging in a customary Champagne Breakfast at the airport…Piers had set this trip up but was to leave us after the first day..here I am trying to get my head round that…

 

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And meet Bill Jackson, (Monarch of the Tundra) who will be photographing and filming the sessions.. indeed it is his imagery you will be enjoying in this blog.

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I was nervous it’s true.. to go into the middle of the Tundra with a load of people unnannounced, in cold and cramped conditions was not ideal. This was a scientific trip not an artisitic one, I was more or less a gate crasher.

So I decided to do a couple of portraits in the guest house before we left, at least then i’d have something..

 

First up was Tolya. An ebulliant showman. A Reindeer Herder from Sebyan in Siberia, who met Piers forty years ago, becoming his collaborator and an anthroplogist in his own right, indeed the only one with a Reindeer Heart inserted by a 106 year old Shaman!..

 

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I had to tell him to keep still in the end. he wasn’t too happy about that…I got a good head.. which would prove valuable later on….

 

Next was Rosa.. she was from a Nenet a Nomadic Herding community, and spoke of how the contents of the tents remained exact and in place, in contrast to the ever changing landscape outside..

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She is now an Anthropologist too, working in Holland, on the Folk stories and oral histories of her people.

 

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I think she was a little uncomfortable with the idea of being observed, she became elusive, which was fascinating, becoming very difficult sculpt!

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The next morning we set off for the hut up north. Near to the Arctic circle.

The roads were straight and as the tree’s got shorter the hats got bigger.

 

 

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No snow..

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Last stop for provisions and a meal

 

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We switched to All Terrain vehicles and bumped accross the Tundra for an afternoon..

 

 

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We rested on what seemed like the roof of the world.

 

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As the shadows were lengthening the hut came into view..

 

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It was obvious we weren’t all going to fit in, so some elected for the tent, a fun night at -6 degrees..

 

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The evening saw us getting to know each other, in candle light..Here I sit with George Noongwook, from St Lawrence island Alaska,  and Vassilly from Nayba, the tiny village I had visited on my trip last year to North East Siberia.

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Georges Whale hunting stories were captivating!!  or maybe we were hungry for his bread…

 

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The Leader of the Saami Herders, and our host.

I really didn’t know how I was going to create a time and find a space to do my work, The people here were perplexed as to why I an ‘artist’ was here at all, I wasn’t a scientist and apparenty not indigenous.. I was concerned..

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We made for our bunks my nose scraping the ceiling ,we sweated in bags as the wood burning stoves raged on.

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Early morning we rose to coffee and Reindeer meat.

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I look for models.. scraping up courage…though not enough to approach these two..

 

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I had thought about the enigmatic ‘George’ as I slept, and what an amazing story he would have to tell.. I was very excited and waited for a moment to approach..

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It was outside that I walked upto him and said ‘I’m a sculptor’  confused he returned my gaze, after a longwinded  explanation he conceded, sacrificing the talking and a trip to the border!

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What a lovely guy..

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Fascinating descriptions of life in the most fertile sea’s in the world.

 

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He pointed to the back of his wrist as he described the soft spot at the base of a Bowhead’s skull.  You need to know these things!

Tolya’s head was stationed on the table for the duration of the stay, much to the amusement of the Herders from Naybar, who passed him around laughing. I caught people looking and touching, they may be beginning to understand what I was trying to do…or as those from Yamal worried, felt I might be stealing their souls, this was disturbing, issues I never imagined were raising their heads (that wasn’t an intended pun)

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He kind of approved of his likeness…

 

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We broke for food and more discussion. As I plucked up the courage to approach my next model..

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I spied Heikki laughing he seemed to be the centre of attention, so I asked.. he agreed, and came to sit down at the only table in the hut,, a much sort after table …which I was hogging!

 

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Heikki proved quite a resistant model, I had asked Natasha an ex student of Piers  to translate, it was difficult finding converstaion and establishing eye contact when language was not shared.

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His friends were mildly amused…

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At one point he walked off, not wanting to answer questions,, I looked around rather awkwardly for 10 minutes whilst listening to him laughing and joking outside, eventually he came back with more of his favourite beer..

 

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The session ended early, though i feel I got a good likeness….

 

He was much happier outside with the others, practising  lassoeing techniques.. here he is on the left.

 

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That night we entertained each other, Here George plays his seal hide drum and sings Inuit songs..some funny!

 

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Next morning I spy Agrafena.. I fine strong woman from East of the Urals, a proud Khanty activist. Their lands stretch upto the Yamal penisula on the Arctic. I reckon I have a chance..

 

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A warm hearted wise person, her people herded reindeer in the forests, eating leaves and twigs from the lower branches. Their lands along the giant river Ob are now owned by Oil companies, It is they she is in constant conflict with, they even buy the roads so the  Khanty cannot get to their land.

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I was pleased at the end, Agrafena spotted her grandmothers nose, I was getting into character. I was concerned as Rosa told me that all I wanted was ‘Siberian cheekbones’  considering the context and the sensitivities of the people in the room I certainly didn’t want to reinfoce stereotypes!

 

Agrafenas ears pricked up as a commotion started outside.

 

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The Saami had returned with Tokuu our Greenlander fisher woman with a haul of fish liberated from nets they’d set in the lake the previous day. Kilo’s of fish were brought to shore.

 

The Sami have special rights to fish and hunt in the Tundra, there are particular sensitivities in the Saami community at the moment as the as Saami politicians and the Finnish government argue about who is really considered indigenous. With indigenous status come important fishing and herding rights.

 

Infact some of the Sami thought we might be working for the government, this would explain Heikki’s reluctance to talk..

 

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Large Pike, Trout and other fish were seized upon enthusiastically.

 

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Agrafena waits for her Pike, she will take it away and skin it in a second, like tights being pulled off a leg. In a pot within minutes bubbling and boiling away.

 

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Tokku de-scales and fillets fish at lightning speed.

 

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Sergei and his wife fish for half of their year, whilst the Reindeer graze off season, they deftly fillet Trout, fresh Roe dribbles down our chins.

 

We feast , there is no chance of finding models now as people relax.

 

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I leave my waxes around the Hut,

 

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A piece of my ‘everyday’ in a remote hut full of unsuspecting folk.

 

A strange alliance..

 

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The next day we pack up

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Leave the hut…

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and bump back across the Tundra.

 

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We return  to Rovaniemmi the next day , and witihn a day I am back in the uk.

 

We are now moulding the heads at the Foundry, and they will be added to the archive i’m slowly building . Bill will edit the film interviews.

 

Each sitter will be sent a plaster head , it will turn up unexpectedly at their door, they will hopefully be pleasantly surprised, and remember the incredible week we spent in the Hut in the Tundra..

 

Thankyou to everyone who  put up and looked after us.. their generosity and kindness was humbling.

 

Shame you didn’t read that diary!

 

Until next time.. Thankyou Piers!

 

Adieu..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Portraits of Miners: The Exhibition!

APOLOGY!

This blog was written in January.. I’ve sat back for a month and a half happy in the knowledge that wonderful news of the miners exhibition has been disseminating accross cyberspace..I didn’t press the publish button….

Alas.. woe is me.. you’ll now get two postings in rapid succession.. both interestingly enough related.. the next is about my portrait expedition in Samiland!!

Enjoy this it’s a great one ……and  hold onto your seats for the fascinating one thats round the corner….blimey I wish I was you …

 

 

We reached an important stage in the Doncaster Mining project. For those of you who aren’t aware, I was asked to create a piece of public art to celebrate the history of mining in Doncaster, this was back in 2017. The short introduction in this link will outline the plan and ambition of the project… ..miners exhibit intro

Messums – London are hosted an Exhibition of over 40 portraits of miners created in the last two years.. The response so far has been profound, much to my surprise!

Each head has a two hour film attached which will feature in the final scheme, adding an important social dimension to the sculpture.  I am busy editing these films at the moment, they will be uploaded to Doncaster councils website throughout the first half of this year, together with general information about progress. (I’ll post the web address when its created)

This post provides a visual journey through the project, ending with the glossy Catalogue containing a piece of writing by my favourite writer Robert Macfarlane..enjoy the ride..

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The Consultations.. and the sittings..   After exhaustive consultations, I decided the only way to get to know the communities was to work literally face to face. So I embarked on an extensive period of portraiture, turning up at Doncaster every month  with modelling wax over a two year period, making 6 portraits a visit.. spending two hours observing and talking to the subjects knee to knee.. It was a fascinating and enlightening experience.

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I came  away with buckets of heads and stories..

 

I ended up with over 40,  all now sitting on shelves in the studio. I am surprised that I know all their names and can remember and tell stories about each one. I must have been in  hyper receptive mode!

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The casting marathon that ensued illustrated how wonderful my team are…

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We are going to show them as a collection in Messums, Cork Street, from the 15th of January to the 15th of February. Together with a short film by Bill Jackson and the proposals for the final scheme which involves two giant 20 tonne blocks of York Stone and a 6 ft bronze miner, All explained in the introduction and Macfarlanes writing.  (so i’ll spare you another description)

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Though having said that I have to say that the miner i’m making is a ‘Listening Miner’, the following slides chronicle his journey so far.

 

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The initial idea was to set the heads in niches  in a giant the block of stone, like this..

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The Mayor was keen that a miner should be depicted, so the idea evolved into a miner listening to the voices between two blocks.

 

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It was very hard to find an english quarry that could supply  stone at this scale, let alone a local stone.. luckily we met Duncan Reynolds, who researched on our behalf and found Johnsons Wellfield in Huddersfield, who were prepared to take the job on..

Here we are choosing the York stone, it’s a beautiful yellow, (you’ll have to imagine it) this quarry has paved areas of london, which is where the term ‘the streets are paved with gold’ comes from…

 

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All the black and white images are by Bill Jackson.

 

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I modified the idea after the visit, this is where its at ..at the moment..

 

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So here’s the PDF of th catalogue.. containing the essays and lovely images by Doug Atfield, Bill Jackson and Danny Heaton..

Lawrence Edwards Miners Cat 11.12.19 09.43

 

Finally, this is Bill Rose.  Originally from Jamaica, he was part of the ‘Windrush’ generation… BBC Sheffield are making a documentary about this project,  focusing on Bill’s story, it will be aired in the spring.

Bill Rose, Markham Main, 'Winder'

 

 

 

 

 

cheers L

Man of Stones with cranes

 

 

HI.

Well we managed to install the ‘Man of Stones’ at the Sainsbury Centre (UEA) last week. A nervy and exciting day, with a crane nearly lost in the mud..

Here is a short photo essay .. Images By Bill Jackson..

 

‘M -Tech’  the Art movers and installers turned up at the crack of dawn.

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Man of Stones was teleported through the sculpture park, Tatlins tower and Norman Fosters great building look on!

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A slow march.  It seemed funerial at times!

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The base had to be lowered into position first.  This was to be dug into the earth .

 

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Next the Man himself..

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The first pilgrim!

 

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Then a second. I saw her with my own eyes..not at all self conscious!

 

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The surroundings are rather trampled.. the spring will see a new surge..

 

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I am thrilled.. and apparently lots of people are stopping and taking photos..

 

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Here he is a week earlier in the Exhibition at Messum’s Wiltshire…another incredible experience…its been quite a month.

 

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Incredible space, acres long,

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Love this shot… These photo’s are by Steve Russell.

 

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Very Sadly my Mentor the Sculptor and Master founder at the Royal College of Art 

TISSA RANASINGHE

Died last weekend  at age of 94, finally succumbing to Parkinsons.

He taught me the Italian lost wax casting method of casting, which he learnt from the Angeloni brothers who were brought to the RCA by Bernard Meadows. They were part of a communty of Italian casters who moved to London from Rome, bringing lost wax casting to this country, influencing a whole generation of British sculptors.  Tissa  mastered the foundry art and taught for many years in the ‘Sheds’ on Queensgate, when the RCA Sculpture schools were  behind the Natural History Museum. He not only imparted us with the ‘knowledge’, he imbued us with a philosophy for life and made us keenly aware of our history.

He showed us how to ‘enjoy’ our work. The congratulatory bottle(s) of wine after bronze pours, fuelling the telling of the tales of his life which grew ever more elaborate,  is a ritual we carry on to this day.  The Donatello dinners, cooking in kilns and the openess by which everyone was welcome especially on pouring days, were great lessons in life. He created and welcomed us in to his casting ‘family’.

I would not have been able to live the life I lead without him, he was my casting father.

His funeral is at 2pm on the 19th of November, at Mortlake Cremetorium.

Here he is on a pouring day in the foundry at the RCA.  In his element!!   The foundry  was sadly demolished a few years later.

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We were privileged to cast the work of the great sculptors of the day, here I am in 1988 finishing a Paolozzi, a frequent visitor and friend of Tissa’a.

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I’ll end on that… Cheers to you Tissa.

We’ll raise a glass after the pour tomorrow…5ish at Unit 19 if anyone wants to join us ….

x

 

 

 

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Showtime!!

The Exhibitions are finally up!!

The small to medium sized works are in Messum’s London, until the end of this week, the 5th. The large scale works are at Messums Wiltshire..until the 20th October..

There follows a hotch potch of photographs of the opening night at The Barn, which was a fantastic evening.. my thanks to the Gallery, for the dinner (catering for a hundred people on a wonderful long table) and for providing such a spectacular venue! and team!

There follows a number of shots taken by the ‘Steve Russell studio’ of the opening night..an informal talk and tour was ‘conducted’..!!

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The gravitas the light leant to the work was amazing, I have to say it’s the most awe inspiring experience i’ve ever had with my work in a gallery space.,.. if you can call a 12th century Tithe barn a Gallery!

 

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Phil Cairney’s excellent film ‘A gatherig of uncertainties’ about the making and the ideas behind the work was also screened for the first time….

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Now the rest are my snaps taken on the phone.. so apologies all round.. except to Steve, who’s photo’s look even better now..  Here are the Sculptures on installation day ,with the strops still round their necks, perched on pallettes.

 

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‘Arbour’ looked great.

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Here are some shots of the London show, woefull I know, but you might get an inkling as to the atmosphere in the space, again this looked very special, the reconditioned floor, new wall colour  (off white incase you can’t tell!! ) and the lighting really helped the work..

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Notice my steel plinths.. It took a long time to design them..excuse the polystyrene on the floor, we’d just installed and hadn’t yet swept..

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Its all been very well received, Thankyou all those that came to the opening and later to see the shows, apparently they’ve been coming in their hundreds over the weekends at the Barn!

This work joins the larger works at the barn after the 5th. It will be displayed in the long gallery and on the deck..

There is a final night event….a premiere, first screening of Bill Jacksons film ‘Man of Stones’ which tracks, traces and follows the making of the Man of Stones from clay to bronze.. its very poetic! followed by a dinner, so book ahead if you’d like to attend.

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OTHER NEWS

I’m off to North Lapland (Samiland) to work with Reindeer Herders tomorrow, Packing my bags tonight. I’m taking Bill Jackson (filmaker) and being led by Prof  Piers Vitebsky,  staying in tents in the snow.

I’m hoping to take what i’ve learnt from the Doncaster Mining project, and make portraits in wax of Herders and their families, whilst doing so, i’ll be interviewing them and Bill will be recording their testimonies on camera. The aim is to secure a record of these people at a time when their livilehoods and way of life are under threat. The process of portraiture acting as a catalyst for their stories, as the heads evolve so do the life stories. Its a pilot project, the first of many anthropological trips I hope to make with the same idea in mind. I might, in the end,  have ammassed an archive of film of peoples stories and their likenesses in bronze.

 

Back at the studio, i’m working on orders for sculptures, really enjoying making a new ‘Borrowed Breath’ Here he is progressing over the week.

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Finally just received this shot of a wrapped ‘Catcher’ being installed on a roof top in the middle of Melbourne, can’t wait to see it unwrapped!

 

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Here he is on the ground, in Suffolk a couple of years ago.. last time I saw him!!

The Carrier..

 

I’m doing a talk on the 10th of October to the Colchester Art society at Firstsite in Colchester look at their website for info..

And Bill Jacksons film is being screened at the Flipside festival at Henham Barns in Suffolk, on the 16th of November here’s the link,

http://www.flipsideuk.org/flipside-festival

Looks like a great festival, Robert Macfarlane and Stanley Donwood, are launching their new collaborative book ‘Ness’. Julia Blackburn and Jayne Iveimey discuss their Redlist bird project, Ken Warpole, George Szirtes and many others are featured..

 

 

See you soon.. with a Laplandish report.

Two big shows !!!

Hi there,

It’s been a while.. just finishing the final preparations for two large shows, one at Messums, Cork Street, London, the other in the massive space at Messums Wiltshire.

New sexy catalogue has just come back from the printers.. here’s the PDF ..

 

Laurence Edwards Catalogue 5.8.19 11.36

 

 

The shows open one after the other, London is the 13th of September running to the 4th of October.

Wiltshire opens on the 14th of September to  the 20th of October.

 

There will be a screening of the  film ‘Colossus’ directed by Phil Cairney on the preview night at Wiltshire (13th of September at 6.30pm contact the gallery for more information)  This is a preview film of a three year project documenting the creation of the 26ft bronze colossus, I’ve been commissioned to make and cast! we’re half way through the project..Vast…..

 

On saturday the 19th of October there is a special premier / preview at Messums Wilts of Bill Jacksons film ‘Man of Stones- The story behind its making’.   again, contact the gallery for information.

Here’s a taster of the film, which is also opening the new Sainsbury centre website this Autumn! and being screened at the ‘Flipside’ festival this November

This will be followed by an ‘In conversation with Bill Jackson, Photographer film maker, Calvin Winner, Head curator at the Sainsbury centre and myself. Talking about the new figure which is  being launched at the Wiltshire show.

 

Seems strange not to put any images in this, even though there’s a whole catalogue behind the PDF.  Here then are a few shots of the Man of Stones, which aren’t in the catalogue and a few others for your delictation!

 

Man of stones

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Plagued by fly’s on a hot summers day in Suffolk… Bill had to photoshop out millions of the buggers for the catalogue.. indeed there is one image in the catalogue with fly’s .. see if you can spot it!!

 

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Colour reflecting the ‘ocherous’ cliffs of Suffolk and Norfolk

 

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After the flood

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‘Arbour’ , at dawn.. Bill was up all hours!

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Finaly this from the Eastern Daily Press.. who are running a vox pop come vote  campaign on the ‘Man of Stones’ .. I admit to feeling queezy  reading the comments of the public!!

Please vote.. click ‘like’.. save me!!  I am running a 49% majority at the moment… lets get it upto 50… tell all your friends to sign.. i’ll be checking!!!!!!!!

https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/politics/scva-laurence-edwards-sculpture-public-reaction-1-6219896

 

I hope you can get to the shows, maybe we’ll even meet..

take good care..

Lx

 

 

 

High’s – low’s – climax’s – carnege…..

Hello there…

There follows some fantastic shots of the high moments of a career !!! (not taken by me)

and

Mediocre shots of studio disasters..(taken by me)

Let’s start with the high points..

 

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We installed the six, six foot figures into the 9 ft niches in the entrance hall of a private English Stately home..

The culmination of work that’s occupied me for over a year.. so exciting to finally see them in the place for which they were intended.

A neo classical James Wyatt  (Robert Adam’s rival) interior from the late 18th century.. What a privelage!!

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I’ll be showing these two ‘The Patriarch’

and

‘Canopy’ (working title – if you have a better one let me know)

At ‘Messum’s Wiltshire’ as part of a major one man show spread over two venues this September,

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Mould making started on this  8 ft  clay figure, which forms the basis of a commission for the Sainsbury centre in Norwich .   Bill Jackson is making a film of the whole project from conception to installation. Here a we have a short photoghraphic essay (using stills he’s taken whilst not filming)… for your delectation!

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Tom advising on the mould divisions..

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Ed applying the rubber , the first coat is sprayed on using a ultra modern spraying machine!

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Ed’s laying a mesh to make the rubber strong.

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Here’s the spray gun.. brutal!

 

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Nhung’s applying the super strong plaster coat..

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Cases are complete, Louis and Ed start to de – mould.

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Top case removed , head survives..

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An optical illusion

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Want to know what happens next..? you’ll have to wait till next time!

 

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Now for the carnage!

Easter sunday saw the hottest day of the year, and my Saxmundham studio wasn’t prepared.. the next day I found half the wax sculptures sagged, drooped and collapsed on the floor..

 

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As regular followers of my blog will know,  this is an all to familiar grim reality in my life.. a warning to anyone who wants to persue a career in wax..

 

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Here are some of the survivors .. .. now in the process of being cast in preparation for the shows in London and Wiltshire this September.

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‘Arbour’, a 16 ft high sculpture containing a life size figure.

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‘Hithe-stone’ from flints found on Cove Hithe beach, being used for the Sainsbuy centre sculpture, but objects in their own right I feel..

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‘Modern nature’, a sculpture of an oak modelled from life in the depths of Staverton Thicks, an ancient oak and Holly forest in deepest darkest Suffolk.

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Plaster and paint..

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Curio’s..

Presumably the bottom of a well?  Exposed by the eroding cliffs at Cove Hithe

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This is a ‘Paramoudra’ sent to me by Calvin Winner curator at the Sainsbury centre. These are strange flint circles found in the Norfolk chalk reefs, this one is at Sheringham seen at low tide.

The bone and vertebrae of ancient sea creatures transform over time into a gloopy, syrupy gel like substance that eventually turns into flint after millions of years . This protean flint gel, gets moved around by time and geological pressure and can find itself squzing into burrows and homes of long forgotten creatures in chalk. These phenomena are quite common along the Norfolk coastline. Apparently some of the nodules are similar in shape and style in different circles, reflecting the burrowing methods of the mysterious

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Blue tits nesting in our circuitry!

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someone loves you..

 

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Can anyone identify this bad boy..!

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Ancient sculptures at the British museum, this one from the Levant  (ancient Syria) all the gem stones have fallen out to reveal this wonderful matrixIMG_2641

This from the Levant too is the oldest sculpture ever found, 7 thousand years old…

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These are whats left of my bird colection after a moth attack!

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Goldfinch

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Kestrel

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BTW

I thoroughly enjoyed Juia Blackburns ‘Time-songs:  Searching for Doggerland’

Mildly eccentric chronicle of a womans search through geological time  for a lost land  – mirroring  grief for a loved husband.

A friend gifted me Daisy Johnson’s ‘Fen’ briliant surreal short stories immersing themsleves in disturbing goings on, often delving into female sexuality with quirky slants on creatures set amidst fennish worlds. Good stuff.

Saw too ‘Grief is a thing with Feathers’ at the Barbican,  the same friend gave me the book by Max Porter.. incredible one man show  starring Cillian Murphy bringing up two boys after the loss of his wife, whilst trying to compose a biography of Ted Hughes,, A giant crow coming to his aid..

Add to that the sublime ‘Bonnard ‘at the Tate and Victor Wynd’s  alarming ‘Museum of Curiosity’ just north of Bethnal Green and you’ve got a hell of a time ahead of you!!!

Thats all folks… have a lovely May see you next month…

 

 

 

 

 

 

World in wax.

HI there..

Its been a while since the last post from Siberia.. its taken a while to settle back into a routine, the fierce pace of work has meant the employment of more people and the advancement of all projects.

I’m going to ignore most of them for this post and concentrate on the work evolving in the studio, in preparation for two shows this september at ‘Messum’s’ in Cork St London and ‘Messum’s Wiltshire’ (the massive and beautiful Barn at Tisbury  which Johnny Messum has developed in the last two years to become a major arts centre with an international reputation.) The barn will host the large works and London the smaller studio bronzes. This will be the first time ‘Messum’s have shown the same artist at both venues at the same time and represents a large amount of work for me and the team.

Two films are also being made, both to be previewde at the barn in September.

Messums Wiltshire – Gallery and Arts Centre – Tisbury, Wiltshire

The Barn will be the location for the launch of a major sculpture commission which i’m undertaking for the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich, funded by the ‘Paul and Louise Cook Foundation’, it’s a development of ‘The Man of Stones’ and will be an 8ft figure adorned with rock and material from the site and surrounding countryside.

The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

So….I’ll stop talking and start the imagery they’ll be the odd caption…
This is the ‘Man of stones’ study.. He’s adorned with his stones and detritus of his environment, like a Caddis fly larva, building an environment from his surroundings.
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The 9 ft figure in clay  will shrink to about 8ft through the casting process.
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This is a wax flint cast from a flint from Covehythe .. a constant source of inspiration for me. This will form the basis of a collection of stones from Norfolk and Suffolk beaches which will adorn this giant.
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Here he is earlier on with Bill Jackson implanted for scale, Bills been filming the whole process of modelling and is making a ‘poetic’ filmic response to the work. the rushes look amazing and like the miners project films I’m learning a lot from the viewing.
In fact you can see some of the miners heads in the background, I’ve modelled around forty so far, one more session to go and then we start on the next phase of the project . more on that in a later posting .
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Covehythe beach…
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Heads from the mining community of Doncaster..
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Here is the new ‘Catcher’, this development is called ‘After the flood’ a new figure over 6ft high now supports 14ft flanks, a few shots of his cutting up and casting follow..
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Covehythe inspiration…
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The severed sections (with the pouring channels and air vents applied) are hung from frames and boxes are built around them, in which we pour the casting materials.. up to 80 buckets of plaster and grog a time.. taking three people two days to fill!
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Couldn’t resist a vbit of Reindeer antler..
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Freddy master box builder!
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Nhung next to one of the ‘investements’ beautiful in of themselves.  See the Colossus mould progressing in the background..on a bronze shin to the right…
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Ok so here’s a run through of work in various states of completion mainly wax and a few unfinished bronzes.. it’s all very exciting for me.  I start days not knowing which direction to face…  this batch are at Halesworth, all taken by the photographer Bill Jackson..and a few by me you can tell those as the quality is somewhat lacking!
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Her’s a bunch from the Fire Station studio.. chaotic isn’t the word! the studio is changing every day at the moment as my mind try’s to reconcile a myriad of ideas… long may it last eh!  can you spot the dog?1

 

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In bronze….

 

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Rope and string….being cast next week.. major challenge…

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These Siberian fish traps really left an impression, I think you’ll see them filtering through.. in fact the Reindeer Herders traps and snares have stayed with me, though i failed to take good photos of them!!

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Leaf man on a frosty morning

Bill took these at White House Farm in Glemham (Suffolk), before we moved the sculpture to Salisbury Museum overlooking the Cathedral, where it will live for a year or so..

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My awful photograph….

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Finally for the lovers of studio and foundry activity here are some Bill Jackson shots of everyday life…

Art as Film | United Kingdom | Bill Jackson Photography and Art FIlm

 

 

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and a couple of mine..

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Goodby from us.. more treats in store soon… get in touch and comment –like me!! .. it’s a lonely cyber world I inhabit…

 

take good care ……Lx

 

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

 

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!