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Studio Portrait

Tags: Studio Practice

17th July

Simon Hitchens studio portrait

Always good to have an up to date image in the workplace. This one taken by Neil White hits the spot entirely I feel.

 

RWA Academician

Tags: Press, Studio Practice
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Monday 11th January

I'm delighted to say that I have been elected an Academician at the RWA.

I was selected on the strength of the four works above, plus supporting documents and images.

Founded in 1844, it is one of the five Royal Academies of Art in the UK.

 

Studio Open!

Tags: Studio Practice, Exhibition
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21st September
Really enjoying have time and space to view new work in an uncluttered studio - allowing me to see where it will go next, materially, conceptually and commercially.
Please come and visit whilst the studio is hung like this:
Croft Studio, Pound Lane, Buckland St Mary, Chard, Somerset, TA20 3SN
Open 11am - 6pm on the following dates:
19 - 21 September, 23 - 27 September, 30 September - 2 October and by apponitment until 15th October.

 

Open Studio

Tags: Exhibition, Studio Practice

I am opening my studio for a couple of weeks, to show some new work I have been experimenting with over the past year. I would be delighted if you were able to visit during this time.

The work continues my fascination with the interconnectedness between the human and the non-human, by making objects in wax which are undeniable inanimate, yet have a visceral, bodily quality that is uncanny. Rock and flesh in union? A new hybrid life form? A new understanding of Being? Come and see, to decide for yourself.

Croft Studio, Pound Lane, Buckland St Mary, Chard, Somerset, TA20 3SN
Open 11am - 6pm on the following dates:
19 - 21 September, 23 - 27 September, 30 September - 2 October.

 

How to Make a Desk: from Penmaenmawr to Piccadilly

Tags: Public Commission, Studio Practice, Indoor Sculpture, Private Commission
 

20 October 2015:
Today saw the opening of 21 Glasshouse Street, Piccadilly. This, together with 7 Air Street next door, is the latest transformation of the Regent Street public realm, owned by The Crown Estate. As a state of the art new office space, 21 Glasshouse Street required a significant and appropriate reception desk that is both unique and responsive to its location. Working in collaboration with designers Barr Gazetas, I opened up the idea of the responsive nature in the design, to source a boulder from a quarry owned by The Crown Estate. The concept was an exciting one and the journey of its making was, you could say, made for me but the challenge lay in sourcing the 'right' rock.

This was not an easy task as most dimensional stone quarries throughout the British Isles have now closed down, a casualty of cheaper foreign imports and changes in current building styles and materials. The rock itself is still in the ground, a latent reminder of Britain's proud and historic building materials as well as its varied geological make up. After searching the four corners of Britain, I finally sourced a suitable boulder at an aggregate quarry in North Wales. Actually, I almost didn't pay it a visit because I knew that aggregate quarries blast their material from the rock face, fracturing the boulders with internally hidden cracks. However, when I made that first visit to the top of the ancient quarry (Neolithic axe heads have been found in one section of the quarry) it was pretty clear that this was the right boulder, patiently waiting for me to come me along. In fact, the quarry couldn't move it to be crushed, as it weighed an estimated thirty tonnes.

Below is a set of images which take you through the making of the desk. From the wind swept mountain top at Penmaenmawr in North Wales where I drilled a split the boulder in two, to Fyfe Glenrock in Aberdeenshire where it was sawn and drilled to millimetre accuracy, tacking on the required dimensions of a fully functioning reception desk. Down to my Somerset studio where I cut, shaped, chiseled, ground and polished the finer details, and attached the necessary computer support structure. And finally up to London, where it took a team of six men to delicately site it in the required location and height. I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I did.

Click here to see further commission images and testimonial.

 

Image credits: No. 10 & 12-17 Anne Purkiss

 
 

Long Distance Creativity

Tags: Public Commission, Studio Practice, Outdoor Sculpture

18th February, 2015:
Last week I was back in the Chinese granite carving capital - Huian, to oversee the 'almost finished' sculptures, for a commission to be sited in Reading this May. Whilst the two highly geometric forms looked pretty amazing, particularly because of their size and mass, the helical twists were not completely spot on. This degree of accuracy, I believe, is needed in order to transform these two carvings into something 'other'. To give them a sense that their form and energy could carry on twisting, and rising (at their final resting place in Reading) up into the air for hundred of meters. Its the difference between an impressive object, and something unexpected that continues to arrest your vision when first sighted.

In order to achieve this I had to show the chief mason what I meant, by looking down the long twisting arris of the edge, continually moving my eye, until I can spot where the inaccuracy lies, over the five and a half meter form: a few millimetres here to mark a slight depression, a few more millimetres there, in order to identify where a subtle lump in the form sits. It may sound like tiny 'tweaking', but it really does result in a form which has an incredibly tight, and believable, movement in all its surfaces and form. The chief mason was fascinated to learn this degree of accuracy, something which the factory managers don't normally aspire to.

 
 

A Ghost Made

Tags: Studio Practice, Group Exhibition, Public Space

22nd January, 2015:
Today I installed the rock half of Ghost: 4.5 tonnes of carboniferous limestone boulder. A tense time during the craning in of the boulder, incase vital measurements of the foundation pins didn't marry up with the rock's base plate, but all was well.

Carrying on from the news post A Ghost in the Making (10th December), here are a few more images of the finishing stages of the sculpture: I think the images speak for themselves.

Ghost can be seen at the exhibition:
Second Site
31st January - 12th April 2015
Open daily 11 - 4pm
Hestercombe Gallery, Hestercombe House, Cheddon Fitzpaine, Taunton, TA2 8LG
T: 01823 413923
www.hestercombe.com

 
 
 
 
 
 

Because that's just what I do....

Tags: Studio Practice

4:30 pm. 16th December 2014

Work continues on the desk.

 

A Ghost in the Making

Tags: Group Exhibition, Studio Practice, Public Space

10th December 2014:
The last few weeks have seen a manic degree of activity in the studio - many assistants helping me make a vast cast of a 4.5 tonnes boulder. The process I'm familiar with: take a silicone mould from a rock, back it up with a hard GRP shell, take a second silicone mould from the first, backed up, and then make the final cast. However, this time the boulder being cast was rather large. Its a strangely meditative process though, painting sticky silicone onto stone: the concentration level needs to be kept high, but the technique is the same from one square foot to the next. The intensity comes from having to apply the wet silicone evenly on the stone's surface, before it starts to gel and becomes like putty, when you can't move it around any more. Because the stone had many vertical, even overhanging, sides we decided to have a short pot life for the silicone. This meant that each batch had to be applied in under ten minutes.

This is a sculpture I will be exhibiting next month in a group exhibition called Second Site, held at Hestercombe Gallery, Taunton.

 
 
 
 
 
 

New Chelsea Sculpture

Tags: Public Commission, Outdoor Sculpture, Studio Practice
 

24nd November 2014:
I have recently been commissioned to make a sculpture for a new development in Chelsea. Taking the inspiration form a previous work called Positive Emptiness, I feel the size and form of these two 2.5 metre blocks of granite and bronze will resonate particularly well in this public location.

I sourced the granite block in Scotland, though it is actually from Dakota, USA - a beautiful dark mahogany colour. The first image shows me making a silicone mould of the rough rock surface. This was then backed up with a hard shell in glass fibre (GRP). A second silicone mould was then made from the first, at the foundry in Wales and the second image shows the wax cast that has been taken from that second silicone mould. The double mould technique, whilst labour and materials exhaustive, allows me to make a final cast object, this time in bronze, which will make a snug jigsaw fit into the rough textured surface of the rock. This wax will then be invested in a ceramic shel, oven fired, to bake the ceramic shell and melt the wax out, then it can have the bronze poured into it.

Commissioned by Native Land/Grosvenor, the project is being overseen by Art projects Ltd, a London based company well versed in overseeing commissions in the corporate world.

Installation of the sculpture is due mid April 2015.

 
 
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