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…
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..
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.
Here’s Keith and I on the live feed screen HQ!
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!..
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!
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.
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.
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 email@example.com and get your photo taken..we really want to hear from you..
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..
`This is the bronze maquette.
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.
Here are the bronze heads, called “Chthonic heads 1&2′
Here they are being modelled in clay, to give you a sense of scale.
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.
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 Catcher’ 14 ft wide..
“Hands on Hips’ life size bronze.
Man on steps. life size figure..
small study ‘`Long way down’
‘Feel the Heat 2’
‘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