National Trust Lettering Restoration Project

 

 

Pictures By Steven Haywood - Restoring the Alexander Pope inscription in the Grotto at Stourhead for the National trust, with Cliveden Conservation Workshops.

Pictures By Steven Haywood – Restoring the Alexander Pope inscription in the Grotto at Stourhead for the National trust, with Cliveden Conservation Workshops.

I recently completed a restoration project for the National Trust at Stourhead, working with Cliveden Conservation Workshops. The inscription in the grotto had become illegible as people had worn away the last line of the Alexander Pope poem as they approached the spring. The project involved re-cutting the letters and giving them a sensitive colour wash to aid legibility. I spent four days on my knees in the dark damp cave, carving into the white marble slab. The lettering is a quite unusual sans serif form with a big variation in weight; ‘V’ cut for the narrow forms and flat bottomed for the thicker forms.  The letters were the inspiration behind the National trust’s first bespoke typeface in 2009. On day three the photographer Steven Haywood took some publicity shots for the Trust. This involved me donning chest height waders and kneeling in the icy waters so Steven could get a shot of the carving with the statue of Ariadne as the backdrop. This has been a challenging and unusual project!

Pictures By Steven Haywood - Restoring the Alexander Pope inscription in the Grotto at Stourhead for the National trust, with Cliveden Conservation Workshops.

Pictures By Steven Haywood – Restoring the Alexander Pope inscription in the Grotto at Stourhead for the National trust, with Cliveden Conservation Workshops.

Pictures By Steven Haywood - Restoring the Alexander Pope inscription in the Grotto at Stourhead for the National Trust, with Cliveden Conservation Workshops.

Pictures By Steven Haywood – Restoring the Alexander Pope inscription in the Grotto at Stourhead for the National Trust, with Cliveden Conservation Workshops.

the Inscription is of Alexander Pope’s translation of a pseudo-classical poem and reads:

Nymph of the Grot these sacred spring I keep

And to the murmur of these water sleep

Ah spare my slumbers, gently tread the caveAnd drink in silence or in silence

And drink in silence or in silence lave.

Restoring the Alexander Pope inscription in the Grotto at Stourhead for the National trust, with Cliveden Conservation Workshops.

Restoring the Alexander Pope inscription in the Grotto at Stourhead for the National trust, with Cliveden Conservation Workshops.

 

 

 

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Sailing Stones at the Street Road Project Space

There is still time to see this exhibition which I have contributed to at the Street Road Project Space, USA, which closes on the 31st October.  I worked on a project earlier in the year with the Japanese artist Kaori Homma called the Meridian Stone Project, which is being shown as part of “Sailing Stones”.

Kaori Says about the project:
“This project is an extension of Homma Meridian Projects an ongoing work which re-sites the Greenwich Prime Meridian in different locations around the globe, invoking the power-centered nature of demarcated boundaries and space. Homma’s Meridian Stone Project is an ongoing collaborative work: a stone taken from Street Road, and carved with the longitudinal coordinates 0º0’0’’ is mailed from artist to artist.
The result of artists’ contemplation will be seen as an installation as a part of inaugural exhibition at the Annex Barn at Street Road Project Space, USA.”

The Meridian Stones have traveled to Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hungary, Ivory Coast, UK, USA, Taiwan and  New Zealand, and are still going to places handed from artists to artists around the world.
To find out more check out:
http://www.streetroad.org/sailing-stones.html

My contribution was to carve the longitude coordinates 0º 0’ 0’’on the stone and to take a photograph and write a text to accompany my image.

Meridian Stone
I was thinking about scale and placement. Where is this stone’s prime meridian? What are the right coordinates for these zero’s? How big should their footprint be? I was thinking about ellipses within ellipses, and figure/ground relationships, and little upside down right angled triangles connecting time and space. I was thinking about the clockwise and counter clockwise orbits of 3 mm of sharp tungsten. The rhythm of hammer on chisel. Breathing and being precise. I was thinking about hours, minutes and seconds. Not thinking about the time but remembering to count it. Carving time from my other deadline.

 

Garden sculpture

Image

Spring is springing and the Easter holiday is nearly here – It is the season when people’s thoughts turn to their gardens. I am having a little publicity push on Garden sculpture commissions. I have been working on headstones all winter and although I like making memorials, as the sun begins to warm the earth, I feel the need to make some celebratory work. As we approach Good Friday, I reflect that my work through the winter has been focused on the theme of death. Easter Sunday is nearly here and I am looking forward to making some work which celebrates life.

If you would like to commission a sculpture or inscriptional art work for you garden please get in touch.

Garden_Sculpture_postcard_US

CW2. Painting and finishing touches.

This week’s progress report has seen me painting the letters, and inlaying the brass acorns. Why paint those beautiful letters I hear you ask?

Painting

Painting!

Well, when the sunlight falls across v inscribed letters they stand out really nicely, but this is England and on a dull day in November the contrast can be a little too low to reveal the letters at their best. So I have painted them the same colour as the stone, but a tone darker than the stone when it is dry and a tone lighter than the stone when it’s wet, adding just enough contrast to help with legibility when the light is rubbish. The paint is made by the German manufacturer Keim, and it is micro-porous, very hard wearing and has a sympathetic mat finish. This sensitive choice of colour should weather sympathetically as the marker ages too. A big thank you to Theresa Llewellyn who helped me paint 3 coats into 409 letters, thus keeping me sane!

Finally finished and ready to go.

Finally finished and ready to go.

The Marker is finished and ready for installation on Thursday. I don’t feel like I can fully relax until it is safely installed. I am looking forward to seeing it in position in its wonderful site in front of the historic Market Hall in Chipping Campden. It really is a lovely intimate space..

The brass acorn glinting in the sun.

The brass acorn glinting in the sun.

CW2. Counting Letters

There are 409 letters to carve. The seven letters of T S Eliot are half sized making them  a lot quicker to cut. 402 two inch letters. My target is to carve the inscription in four weeks. More or less 100 letters per week. 20 letters a day. It should be easy, but they just wont go any faster than 4 in an hour. Sometimes only 3 in an hour. 7 every 2 hours. 21 in 6 hours which is a typical daily hit rate, because there is always other stuff that needs doing when your running a business. 6 uninterrupted, whole focused hours is pretty good going in a day. Today I saw a new client and I carved 9 letters and I fixed the alternator belt on the car. So this week I am 11 letters behind already and I have a couple of school run days when I will be lucky to carve 18 letters, that leaves 2 days when I need to carve 22 letters plus another 5 to catch up the 11, so I make that 18 + 18 + 27 + 27 and I am still a letter down!

How did I do last week? 91. visually nearly a quarter. Not too bad. Plus an eighth short of a  couple of concentric circles. I was getting up to speed and lots of things subverted my time. so I think there is still some better performance to find. I will still need to find those 9 letters though…

Cotswold Way Marker Stone. Letter Cutting

At the end of week 1 carving

Cotswold Way Marker Stone. Letter cutting detailCotswold Way Marker Stone. Letter cutting detail

Tomorrow is another day. everything might flow and I might carve 20 letters in 5 hours. Now I must go to bed and when I close my eyes I will see letters!