Fourth Commission: WIND August-October 2015


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.



Using the spoke shave to remove the bark from a tall pole Welding the metal base to hold the flagpole Raising the flagpole 2 people needed to safely raise the tall oak flagpole.




weathervane on a tall pole showing a hare fleeing the flamesWooden cut out of a deer fleeing the flames

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.



girl holding an elaborate brass weathervane with delicate cut out shapes Aluminium cut out weathervane with leaping deer silhouetted on top John Fox holds the new aluminium weathervane with coins hanging below from chains




Third Commission: WATER 22nd - 28th April 2015



Peter Wilshaw arrives at the Beach HousePeter Wilshaw, inventor with a civil engineering background, created a temporary waterfall Richard Redwin working on the beach Checking out the flow of the waterfall Sculptural shapes split and engineer the flow of water


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.


Testing the waterfall wire gabions filled with cobbles from the beach Making the elk's antlers for the waterfall Waterfall installation enhanced by Jamie Proud and Dan Fox


small cups fill with water to drive the wheel At the bottom a bamboo tube fills with water and tilts Peter Wilshaw surveys the finished work



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.


Lofe sized deer woven from willow and hazel stands on the beach.




Second Commission: STONE 5th - 27th September 2014


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.




Duncan Copley artist Carved Dragon as prow of the ghost ship Close up carved dgagon's head


With a Dragon at the prow, a locker for storage, seating for visitors and a jetty alongside. In the spirit ogroup of 30 hikers stop to admire the sitef 'build it and they will come' ........ they came, they stayed, they are using it!



mediaeval woodcut of a sailing shipArtist at work building a jetty/ breakwater from timbers



Young child dancing on the jetty visitors using the seating on the site3 girls using the jetty for a dance performance


Shadow theatre screen and light rigged above the jetty for evening performance



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.






children helping adults carry the firewood



Industrial strimmer to cut brambles and undergrowth burning the offcuts in a bonfire







First Commission: WOOD 25th - 30th June 2014

Stage 3 - Installing the POSTER POEMS


WHAT REMAINS? Final image from JOHN FOX installed in the gap.

.painting of a demented Mr Punch astride skeletom elk


 6 large Artists' poster poems displayed outdoors near the sea

5 Prints on waterproof art paper from original paintings by John Fox and Martin Brockman, mounted on pallet tops.

No. 6 due shortly.



Stage 2 - follow on - studio work


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. John Fox works in his studio by the sea.




close up of hand painting the lettering on a poster poemphotos Heather Naylor



A dance unfolds - title of a poster poem

Horse drwing a wooden cart thet contains the sun





They follow a sequence:

At the Rising of the Sun

What Remains?

At Midday

A Dance Unfolds

On Top of the Hill

Darkness Falls


First Artist's Commission: WOOD - MARTIN BROCKMAN


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'



beginner learning to make hazel woven sculpture working on a woven deer sculptureWoman smiles as she holds up deer she has madeweaving and twisting the willow carrying the deer out into the bay



last wolf in england runs along the shorefather and son carrying their sculpture back to the beachgroup of deer temporarily installed on the beachBBC Radio Cumbria reporter with the Ghost Elk


COME & SEE: Martin Brockman the sculptor at work


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.



Ghost elk made from hazel ans willow installed out in Morecambe Bay 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!!



arts council logoFor travel directions and parking information email Sue Gill foxandgill@btinternet.com Parking strictly limited. Registered disabled only. The site is a cobble beach, which is difficult underfoot.




Philosophy and Practice, Books and Courses



                                                                               ceremonial gathering to celebrate the Pride of Place workshop




Independent Celebrants & Practitioners for Ceremonies

   trained fully or partly with Dead Good Guides



Ongoing research: WILDERNEST at the BEACH HOUSE

WILDERNEST PROJECT, Baycliff, Ulverston


close up head of life sized deer woven from hazel



Martin Brockman creates sculpture of a deer from hazel






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

THIRD STEPS: 1st September 6pm - 9pm PUTTING a PEG IN THE GROUND




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.



wildernest beach gathering with campfires




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. mueeum of flotsam and jetsam displayed on the beach





mussels shells plastic debris washed up broken plastic doll rusty iron from a ring binder



old cigarette lighters and a bird's skull old lipstick case and doll's boot baby's dummy washed up blue tape from clocking on machine at work red fabric, yellow twine from fishing net




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 .......




Giant critters filmed through microscope outdoor film projection at the Beach House

photos Dan Fox








FOURTH STEPS: October 2013 PLANTING Winter Wildernest onions and potatoes on the beach in the LAZY BEDS




young visitors prepare the soil young visitors prepare the soil



winter potatoes pushing through the soilbanked up into 'Lazy Beds' for winter potatoes