Sculptural Collaborations are an important part of the making of sculpture. Sculptors rely upon the skills, knowledge and experience of a wide range of specialists such as those found in foundries for bronze casting, specialists in the field of digital manipulation for such work as  laser scanning, 3D  printing and CNC machining. I am happy to recognise any such collaborative support provided to me by such skillful individuals and companies.

November 11, 2019

Collaboration with Revolutionary Coatings made possibe by Arts Council England

On the 1st November I received confirmation that my application for Arts Council funding in support of the replication of a sculpture had been successful. The news allowed me to move forward with a collaboration with Revolutionary Coatings.

For the past five years I have explored a range of materials and processes for the making of my sculpture that are more environmentally friendly. Until this year I did not feel in a position to seek support for my practice but the initial outlay for processes that I wished to employ made it more and more difficult to move forward. Despite this I had undertaken a good deal of research into materials and processes and specialists with the skills and knowledge who I knew would be in a position to collaborate with me. These factors were, I am quite sure, essential to my submission for an Arts Council grant.

Firstly the time had allowed me to produce full size maquettes of sculptures and to decide upon those that I thought I would replicate. The decision, based in part upon the reaction to the work by others. Having the work completed was important as it meant that I did not have to seek financial support for this stage of the process, as well as being able to make images of the works available to the Arts Council for their consideration. 

Given that the main thrust of my application related to the use of environmental considerations in the moulding, casting and replication of a work suited to being sited in the environment rather than indoors I was able to make my application much more focussed as a result. This was in large part due to being able to select two pieces of sculpture that could be used to gather quotations from specialists in the mould making and casting processes I wished to use. I purposely selected two pieces of work that would allow me to ascertain the difference in costs for their replication - one requiring a much more complex mould that the other. The difference between the two quotations for the mould making was £1000 and was the bulk of the cost. This was actually good news because I knew that in future the mould making process was something that I could undertake myself. The replication of the sculpture using polyurea, a material whose processes I would be not be able to undertake myself due to its costs being prohibitive, made each of the subsequent casts that might be pulled from the mould affordable to prospective purchasers. This allowed me to make clear in my submission that should my application be successful, that the grant had the potential to make my work self supporting as well as more environmentally friendly.

So it was that having my application for a grant accepted that I was able to deliver my full size maquette to Revolutionary Coating on Wednesday 13th November where I was able to discuss the moulding and possibilities for the cast utilising polyurea with the addition of bronze powder or sprayed 'Liquid Metal'.

 

I had been liaising with Jack Waite at Revolutionary Coatings in relation to the replication and casting of the sculpture since I first contacted them for initial quotations for the work and throughout the time it took me to complete my Arts Council submission forms. However due to a late night session in his workshop it was Seamus who greeted me when I arrived.

Collaboration with The Hospice in the Weald

On the 23rd April I had a meeting with Nick Farthing at The Hospice in the Weald after he had emailed me regarding the potential commission for a sculpture at the hospice.

 

Having seen images on my website of the Bud sculpture I had made for Borde Hill Gardens, Nick wondered whether I might be interested in making a sculpture of a 'Memory Tree' for the hospice . Nick, who is the Income Generator Director,  had been discussing with colleagues the possibility of commissioning a memory tree sculpture to be placed in the garden at the Hospice in Pembury. He explained that the idea was for it to be a tree on which people could hang leaves engraved with the names of their loved ones. They had seen a similar idea at Greenwich and Bexley Hospice, who already had something similar, and sent me a link to the image on their website.

Nick wondered whether the idea of a memory tree might be a 'good fit with my work', and I agreed to meet him to discuss the commission, to visit the hospice, to see potential sites for the sculpture and to discuss their requirements.

 

Since quite early in my teaching career, when I arranged for a fund-raiser working for another local hospice to visit the school and talk with students about the work of the hospice, I have considered  hospices to be invaluable in the work they do. However, Nick's email came at a time that provided me with an opportunity to do something for them, having had to say farewell at the funeral of my wonderful, talented, artistic mother-in-law, who died of cancer just a few weeks earlier.

As you can imagine, I was more than delighted to get Nick's email. Serendipity indeed! It allowed me to do something that I love, for a cause that I care about, to the memory of someone I loved and which I know would be something that my whole family would want to celebrate and add to. We are already looking forward to fixing a leaf onto the memory tree sculpture engraved with Pam's name and with a message from us all.

I explained my preference for a more sculptural form, so that it should look attractive, even when there are not any 'memory leaves' in place. I also explained the use of materials, processes and installation and how each would impact upon the eventual cost of the work, whilst informing Nick and Rachael that I would not be expecting any fee for the designing and making of the sculpture and that I would only be looking for the cost of materials and work by others to be covered. Nick was very surprised and quick to thank me but I explained that I could not, in all conscience, take money from a hospice, whose funds were needed for those they care for, or for something that would provide families the means to express their feelings for those they have lost.

I decided to generate several different ideas to present to the hospice, as the possibilities made available by the site suggested to me that the form the sculpture might take could be very different, depending upon where it might be situated and I did not want to tie them down at this stage. In the early stages of drawing and model making, I think it is important to allow the commissioning client to have the time to thoroughly consider all options, rather than narrowing them down. Likewise, it is necessary to make them feel comfortable with the notion that they make suggestions for alterations and additions to the brief at this early stage, should they feel it necessary. My thanks go to Zoli and  Mariah at Exhibit Printing in Brighton for their help with the laser cutting of the designs for the models and the creation of Vector drawings for the chosen design to be cut in water jet cut Corten steel.

A few of the initial drawings were made to show the client some of the possibilities followed by models which were finished on Saturday19th May, a day I lost another dear friend to Cancer and almost a month after Nick's initial contact. Images can be seen in my blog; simply sign up to read the blog and receive updates.

 

Click on the button to take a look at the model proposals and site representations for the memory tree screen to be installed at the hospice.

Collaboration with ICA Creation

Having searched for a company to assist in the enlargement of my small version of my sculpture ''Pod' I was fortunate to come across ICA Creation. From the very outset Lucy was extremely helpful throughout my initial enquiries and Kamil was quick to prepare and discuss a quotation for the work. 

Throughout the whole process Lucy fielded questions and facilitated excellent lines of communication until I could get to Penryn with the maquette and discuss the work in detail with Kamil.

In short, nothing was too much trouble and I receieved the carved, coated and primed EPS form in the time frame Kamil had promised in order that I could complete the piece in time for exhibiting in June.

Collaboration with Ferguson and Whyte

I am delighted to have been approached by Sharmayne Ferguson and Mark Whyte to exhibit my sculptures in their showroom in Hythe.

 

Mark contacted me through the website after looking at the work and arranged for us to meet at the premises on Hythe High Street.which is currently undergoing refurbishment. Mark proposed that he would like to have my work in the showroom and for it to be regularly changed with new pieces as they become available. The first sculptures should be in place before Mother's Day if the refit goes to plan and it will be nice to have work seen by the public on a daily basis.

Mark and Sharmayne are very much attuned to Fine Art (Sharmayne having studied Fine Art before becoming a landscape designer. I am sure that it was this that gave them the courage to create such a conceptual and thought provoking design at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The garden, 'Not for Sale' dealt with the ivory trade and the devastation caused to the elephant population. I am not a bit surprised that it earned them a Silver Medal.

I hope that the relationship that I am about to embark upon developing with these talented landscape designers will be a fruitful one for us all. I am most grateful to them for the opportunity to exhibit my work with them.

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Sculpture by Rob Leighton Sculptor Jesmonite Polyurea Expanded Polystyrene ICA Creation

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