As I mentioned in my last blog, I’m currently doing a residency project. This is at Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet in Sheffield, a working industrial museum that was donated to the city in 1935, and opened as a museum in 1970. I am there 2 to 3 times a week for most weeks until October 9th, and during my stay aim to produce 14 paintings. The works will mainly attempt to show the site as it was in its working heyday, engaging viewers with the working conditions prevelant at the height of the industrial revolution, though some will be drawn from the life of the Hamlet as a museum, and one or two will be my response to the various artefacts scattered around the place.
The plan is to hold an exhibition of the works during November/December 2016, subject to being able to mount the works securely without damaging the fabric of the buildings.
The site is a fascinating place to work, and I have been greatly enjoying working outdoors in the gaze of the visiting public. Capturing the place has been a challenge in many ways; I’ve been engrossed in historical research to establish missing architectural details and get a sense of the lives of the workers, and as an artist I’ve had to move away from my usual style and into the realms of realism – of which more in the next blog 🙂 The response from the public has been gratifyingly positive, with many visitors taking an interest in what I’m doing, and admiring the result.
One of the exhibits is the Jessops Tilt Hammer, which was donated to the site in 1939. This behemoth sits at the entrance to the Hamlet, and is a complex mix of curves, lines and shapes formed in iron and wood, and painted black. The work in progress is the result of 3 days of sketching in pencil, charcoal and paint as I grappled with trying to capture the essence of the hammer. This is the first attempt I have had at depicting it on canvas, and I have chosen the colours of rust and the chaos of steam to express the shapes and vitality of this truly impressive relic of Victorian industrial technology. I hope you like the results so far 🙂