Day 48 – mewing

2019-07-23 13.15.4330 degrees in the shade. Continuing to make progress into the end of the stone where much removal is required. Taking a break to ‘find’ another bird head at the very top, I added a hooked beak and within 5 minutes I had a pair of raptors mewing overhead. I’m pretty sure it was a coincidence…2019-07-23 13.14.37

I’ve started chalking bits that need attention, if I cannot be bothered to address them immediately. 12 days left now and it is not just these ‘improvements’ in form that need attention – there is major resolving of several areas still to do.

Next carving:

Sat 27th July, Thurs 1st August, Sunday 4th, Thurs 8th, Sunday 11th, Bank Holiday Monday 26th

We will finish during mid September, so don’t miss out on contributing to the stone before then.

Day 41 – heart of the community

I arrived to find the route to the Village’s square (and the stone’s final resting place) is now open – a new community beyond the Arun waiting for its inhabitants. I was also honoured to have the first of these pioneer dwellers coming to visit me this morning.

A super-hot Saturday morning led me to keep in the stone’s shadow, working on the “water surface” at the base and considering forms which might accentuate viewer’s recognition there. These are “ways in” to seeing and making a relationship with the sculpture in your own eyes.

The progress of the stone is being well documented by photographers and video artists for posterity. Another nice piece here:

Another visit too by one of our regular younger carvers, dressed for going out but anxious to find out what had happened since his last mallet and chisel session.

The stone will be fresh cultural heritage at the heart of a new community and is one vector for making common ties with those within, those on the other side of the river, those from wider Horsham, and those tourists who will pay homage to a stone once carved next to the upper Arun in West Sussex.

Next carving: Thurs 4th, Sat 6th (10-4)

Day 14 – and a visit to High Wood

Hot sunshine saw several new visitors; one remembered using a mallet and chisel in the dockyards, another gloried in what he could see in the ambiguities of the stone’s surface, telling me that it was something which has come with age. It was powerful stuff for me, as “my” forms link to a story which I decide “works”, however we should not prevent large sculptures like this from allowing their forms to imprint on new viewers in ways quite unforeseen. It is sufficient that a block of stone can arrest the movement of the passer-by and contain their energies in viewing for a while, perhaps returning again. But from our conversations – that band of folk who chat regularly and are helping me resolve some of the considerable problems ahead in resolving the block – there is a common underlying vision developing now that does have a foot in the natural heritage of the landscape. Just as the river valley provides that lifeblood pulsing through the new area of residences, a green lung, a corridor for countryside air, animals and plants – hopefully the sculpture will provide a cultural uplift in its final central location in Highwood Village, channelling or referencing some of those things.

We also had our youngest participant, who (at 6 months) loves Simba in the Lion King. His mum identified the Simba head high up in the corner of the block.  And I met Ted, a cute and otherworldly dog who calmly surveyed proceedings while humans were deep in talk.

I’d been encouraged to go and see the view from the top of High Wood and on finishing the session, I parked in Wickhurst Lane to follow the footpath to the summit. In time, you will be able to cross the Hill and back down into Highwood Village beyond the A24 underpass, when construction is complete.

Wickhurst Lane from the junction with the footpath to High Wood, looking back to the main road between A24 Highwood junction and the garden centre

the public footpath to the summit of High Wood

you can just see the landscape of Horsham beyond the trees on the ridge


the view of the new Highwood Village construction, with the sculpture just behind the trees along the Arun in the centre. The BMX pumptrack is this side of the river

And a short film of the emergent forms so far:

Next on site: Mothers’ Day – Sunday 31st, Tuesday 2nd, Sunday 7th April


Day 12 – a first breakage

Another cold blowy day with few of you out. Carving the tough shelly inclusions in the Portland broke a hard tungsten carbide-tipped chisel today, but it will soldier on a little longer with aid of a diamond file.

Lisa from Horsham District’s Culture 2019 team came out to see progress and spread the word via a live feed selfie-stick interview. You can see it here on Facebook.

The vertical disc at the far end of the stone has increased in size and I’ve started to angle this into the stone and add some form linking to a fulling mill wheel. An upper layer of water is also starting to be conveyed. A corner now needs to be cleared so it can seen from two sides of the stone.

I’ve had no answers back about more Red Kites locally. Do any of you see them? – like a buzzard but thinner and with a forked tail.

Next dates on site: Sunday 24th, Thurs 28th and Sunday 31st – a mallet for Mother’s Day!