John Fox had spent 2 or 3 years prototyping a series of wooden painted whirlygigs, installing them on poles on the beach. These were mainly clusters of oystercatchers to honour the vast migratory flocks which visit the site annually and are now on the RSPB list of endangered birds.
This commission allowed him to create SPINDLEVANES - weathervanes which are larger images with no moving parts. A hare and a deer, cut out from plywood and painted, seen fleeing from the flames. He also designed and researched new materials - aluminium, brass, copper - and had these images cut by the local engraver. How these metals will weather is going to reveal itself through the seasons. The tall poles need to pivot and be lowered to the ground in stormy weather. Their metal bases are firmly cemented in and are known as tabernacles.
Three coppiced poles - 2 oak and 1 beech - were cut in the Rusland Valley and brought to the shore. Their bark needed to be removed using the spoke shave to avoid trapping moisture which would rot the wood. The spindlevane is placed on a strong metal spike inserted into he top of the pole, to permit rotation in the wind.
Peter Wilshaw, inventor with a civil engineering background, created a temporary waterfall
installation on the shore below the Beach House to enhance the seasonal fresh water run-off from the land above. He was assisted by Richard Redwin, Martin Gooding and Daniel Higgs from Stoke on Trent. Wire gabions hold cobbles from the beach to secure the centre of the construction. Small cups fill with water and drive the wheel at the top to start the flow.
Waterfall installation enhanced by Jamie Proud and Dan Fox
Have a look at this short film on YouTube Wildernest Water
The pivoting bamboo tube - shishi-odoshi in Japanese - fills with water and when it is full, tilts to release it. In Japan they were installed so that the empty tube clattered against a rock before the whole cycle began again. This was intended to scare away the deer who might eat the vegetation. We preferred to leave it with the gentle sound of flowing water. Our deer seem pleased.
Duncan Copley is considering the concept for Commission 2: STONE. He proposes to explore the orientation of the site with regard to scale, distance and cardinal points. Using weathered timbers emerging from the raised cobbles on the shore he will subtly mark out the suggestion of a massive 40m. long land art 'drawing', a Ghost Ship.
With a Dragon at the prow, a locker for storage, seating for visitors and a jetty alongside. In the spirit of 'build it and they will come' ........ they came, they stayed, they are using it!
We noticed that after these were installed, visitors felt able to occupy the space to pause, rest, picnic ....
This articulation of the site offers new possibilities to artists on our workshops for installation and performance. These fixtures have been used variously as bandstand, performance platform, shadow theatre, seating for coastal walkers and display areas for assorted whirlygigs and temporary weathervanes.
WHAT REMAINS? Final image from JOHN FOX installed in the gap.
5 Prints on waterproof art paper from original paintings by John Fox and Martin Brockman, mounted on pallet tops.
No. 6 due shortly.
Creating a series of 6 images - large poster poems - which link with the animals on the beach and their stories, created in ink and paint by Martin Brockman and John Fox working in collaboration. They will be hung outdoors on the garden wall by the path leading down to the beach.
photos Heather Naylor
They follow a sequence:
At the Rising of the Sun
A Dance Unfolds
On Top of the Hill
Making woven animals from locally coppiced hazel and willow.
Martin made a magnificent Ghost Elk and the Last Wolf in England.
On Sunday 29th June we had a Community Day when - under Martin's expert guidance - beginners with little or no prevous experience made 4 life sized deer, working mostly in family groups, over 6 hours. These are now installed temporarily on the shore, tucked in under the cherry trees, where they will remain during July and August, close to the Cumbria Coastal Way and its many walkers. Over the weekend we had 105 visitors to the site, and now the word has got out, through live radio interviews, many are heading this way to see for themselves.
"As soon as I saw it I immediately thought 'Warhorse'
Professional Development opportunity for artists, staff and volunteers working in wildlife, permaculture, community gardens, conservation, environmental heritage and nature networks.
Martin will be in Cumbria for a short residency in June working on the beach creating life size images using local coppiced hazel and willow, clay and driftwood. Come along and see his techniques – from the essential strong armature to the weaving process using green shoots. He is still planning what to make – possibly a raggedy wolf? an elusive otter? a stag? The figures will be a temporary enhancement of Wildernest, a one year outdoor arts project in landscape using stone, wood, water and wind, led by John Fox and Sue Gill of Dead Good Guides.
Martin Brockman is based in East Sussex and has worked on many major commissions including Falkland Centre for Stewardship in Scotland; Ballycroy National Park Visitor Centre in Co. Mayo, Ireland; Clay Cargo Initiative on UK canal networks and Chelsea Flower Show 2014!!
For travel directions and parking information email Sue Gill email@example.com Parking strictly limited. Registered disabled only. The site is a cobble beach, which is difficult underfoot.
Philosophy and Practice, Books and Courses
At an unusual local auction where 30 acres of Morecambe Bay foreshore and woodland came under the hammer,
we managed to acquire a handkerchief sized plot of 2 acres running north from the Beach House. Labelled 'Manorial Waste'
its ownership goes back in time to the Middle Ages and currently the Crown Estates wish to sell the lot. A sure sign of the times ....
So, we have a patch of scrubland on an embankment of loose boulder clay, countless neglected small trees, loads of brambles and the foreshore up to the mean high tide mark. A public right of way - the Cumbria Coastal Way footpath runs along the tideline.
The strip contains a variety of trees: wild cherry, willow, ash, elder, hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel, alder, young sycamore and a couple of small oaks. In consultation with Natural
England, Greg Thompson, our local tree expert, began work, before the nesting season,
on pruning some of the trees, with a view to enhancing and conserving features of the site.
A few trees have canopies heavily weighted with ivy and were leaning towards the beach
and in danger of collapse due to the 'sail' effect of high winds which loosen their roots.
Some brambles are also being cleared to open up glades, others are being left as cover for
small mammals and birds.
Now, having legitimate access to more beach space we are planning installations, arts and environment workshops and gatherings. ICONS FOR AN UNKNOWN FAITH - enamelled plaques on the theme of 'Stations of Evolution' to be designed and fired in the studio kiln and set along the garden wall. Following in the well worn if unlauded traditions of vernacular Outsider Art. WHIRLYGIGS and WEATHERVANES - more animated wind sculptures, dubiously engineered, reflecting dreams and nightmares from the deep. BIO-DEGRADABLE FUNERAL URNS how to produce a casket for cremated remains that is beautiful, dignified, sacred and connected to what used to be called 'Nature' and holds together long enough before it dissolves rapidly in the sea.
'Whatever they have done ..... from bringing art onto the streets to creating green funerals ...... Sue and John have had a profound impact on those around them, creating prototypes that have gone on to influence both art and society. The Beach House is one of their most personal statements of intent and the start of something new'. Coast Magazine March 2012
Fires and Soups. Songs and Stories. Flags and Whirlygigs. Weather Vanes and Washed Up Sculptures. Friends and Conversation. Sounds and Music. Films and Fantasies. Icons for an Unknown Faith. First event in our new WILDERNEST project. The Mapping of Wildernest begins.
We had a great gathering on the beach with neighbours, friends and families, fish soup with local samphire. Many thanks to John and Christie, Heather and Andy, Bob, Jamie, and to Dan, our projectionist.
photo Heather Naylor
We made a MUSEUM of FLOTSAM AND JETSAM in a day,
displayed in a packing crate that had floated in on the tide.
We ended with an outdoor movie night. Critters and Oystercatcher films made as part of Weatherstation project, then an extract from Storm Boy, ending up with the song from MAMA MIA where the local Greek women in their black frocks abandon their chores for joyous singing on the jetty before leaping into the sea .......
photos Dan Fox
young visitors prepare the soil
banked up into 'Lazy Beds' for winter potatoes