Everyone’s Always Somewhere

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‘Everyone’s Always Somewhere’ is now the official title of our now completed Old Railway Line project. It’s the first line of the poem written by poet John Clarke in response to discussions with users of the old railway line. The phrase is actually a direct quote from one of the first young people we chatted to. I’m pleased it has now become the title.
The picture with the blue strip shows the glass strips which are silvered on 3 sides and inserted between the flags to add detail, depth and luminosity to the design. And I quite like the one showing the workmen reading the poem and coming over all contemplative!
Here are a few photos of the complete project. I’ll add some wider shots ones we’ve scrubbed the tarmac and the surrounding green areas have been tidied!
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Railway project installation starts!

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Yesterday was the first time I actually saw the etched paving, and I must say it looks great! I really like how the etched area shows the curvy bmps of the glass chips which is a nice contrast to the smoothness of the rest of the surface. They glint beautifully in the sunlight too. There have been lots of delays and hitches with this project – sometimes useful (giving a little extra time to do some silvering), sometimes frustrating (waiting for pay day). It is the groundwork preparation that has been slow, which was completely beyond our control. I think the extended snowy winter has had something to do with it. Luckily the health and safety specification problems turned out fine. As the glass strips ae so small no information about load bearing capacity was needed afterall. Saint Gobain Glass, who supplied the glass were extremely helpful though, and can work out load bearing specifications from a drawing. Very impressive.

Anyway, now it is finally happening. We’ve been assembling the recycled glass slabs (supplied by Enviroglass) like a giant jigsaw, which was both fun and good for the biceps! we’re on call all this week for jigsawing the next batch. Of course little hitches are still occuring. Today we found that the top section of the ‘U’ didn’t line up with the bottom section slightly, and there was a bit of a tense moment while we decided if it was far enough out to be worth replacing. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and was in the yes camp, but a broken slab meant we were ordering another one anyway so that was the clincher. We’re re-etching the misaligned U.

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Railway project silvering

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The railway public art project is being installed! see the project’s own blog for a full pictorial archive.

Silvering the glass strips that are to be inserted between etched paving slabs proved a little tricky. In the end, it was the rather low temperature of my studio (10 degrees C) that was the problem. A cosy 21 degrees was needed to make the chemical reactions work. A god excuse to whack up the heating! Angel Gilding supplied the silvering kit – it came all the way from the USA!

I could seriously get into this silvering idea. Attempting to silver very thin strips with not much in the way of time or materials to spare was rather stressful but it worked out ok. Square foot coverage of several thin strips is not the same as if they were all one sheet though, so I got through a lot of chemicals! It was fun though, and now they’re being cemented in place as I type. The long thin strips are silvered on 2 sides then embedded in the ground with only 1 clear edge visible. The intention is that the light enters and bounces around giving little strips of luminosity and depth in amongst recycled glass paving etched with signage text and a poem.

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Old Railway Line public art project

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A public art project on the Scarborough – Whitby Old Railway Line is my most recent project. Commissioned by Scarborough Borough Council and the Friends of the Old Railway Line this is a joint project with Adrian Riley of Electric Angel Design. The finished artwork will be ground based and will act as both signage and waymarker. Visually the artwork is inpsired by period railway typography with giant lettering and subtle glass inserts within paving made from recycled glass. Poetry by John Wedgewood Clarke is being etched into the surface. We went to the site with John and talked to users of the track in order to generate words and phrases that formed the raw material from which John has written the poem. Progress can be seen on the projects own blog http://www.railwayart.com/ This images shows the scale mock-up in progress.

The project has been a complicated one particularly regarding costings and sourcing materials and services and has taken many hours of sorting! It’s been a steep learning curve but fun nevertheless. It’s also been great working with Electric Angel. It has made me realise I much prefer working with other people. Partnership working here I come!

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