Sarah’s blog: Update from the Cob Wall, Feb 16

Sarah Jane Hodge

An update on the land art sculpture being created by the trainees with artist-in-residence Sarah Jane Hodge, and how you can support future projects at LandWorks.


In the cabin where we eat lunch and have tea break, hangs the ‘Cob Blog’ (see picture) –  a scroll of canvas on which everyone can write their thoughts after a day working on the LandWorks Timeline.

Cob Blog at LandWorks (click to enlarge)
Cob Blog at LandWorks (click to enlarge)

Weather has been a challenge over the last few months, enough for  heavy rain clouds to be drawn on the blog twice, and painfully summarised by Simon the carpenter’s skull-and-bones-esque drawing of ‘muddy poles x rusty chisels’.

I write this as I look outside at the storm which has just travelled across the Atlantic from the States, threatening to blow our little cabin away.

Nevertheless, over 20 people have helped create the sculpture to date, and with a new group of men now on site this number is set to grow.

Neil, who has adapted his previous carpentry skills nicely to help chisel some joins for the green timber roof, thinks: “It will be a landmark for LandWorks – it’s an impressive structure”.

And I must admit, I hadn’t prepared myself for the moment the timber rounds – having been worked on the ground for weeks – suddenly spring up into a frame, within hours creating a very tangible space. Jakob’s frame design knowledge and Simon’s many years of carpentry experience speak volumes through this structure, you might have seen it from the road?

Trainees constructing the roof of the Cob Wall timeline
Trainees constructing the roof of the Cob Wall timeline

So, why are we doing this again?

There are two strands: firstly to include the trainees in a creative project which they can take ownership of, helping to rebuild confidence, or in Phil’s words: “Big experience day, well enjoyed and many more to come. Taken pride of what I’ve done today – it’s amazing!”.

Not only are we helping trainees build social skills, but the sculpture they are creating will begin to form a visitor space for you, our supporters, as well as the wider public, to give an idea of what is happening here. So the next stages are: getting the roof water tight, build up the cob a little more, and get everyone involved in making some ceramic tiles to hang on the wall. Eventually we’ll start making some tiles which, hopefully, you’d like to buy.

Looking further ahead, I’m putting in funding bids for a two year project, which focuses on taking the men’s creative ideas and developing them into artworks, to be displayed in a permanent exhibition at LandWorks. Alongside the practical making, I’ll be working with an evaluation team from Plymouth University, who will measure the impact of socially engaged art on well-being.

So this is the bit where I ask for your help… would you like to support the men at LandWorks in making their own art pieces? Would you like to see a document which provides evidence that art is  having a real and positive impact on our community (and therefore deserves to continue receiving funding)? Would you like to pledge a contribution to the arts at LandWorks?

£250 would cover the cost of a specialist arts workshop

£1,000 would contribute towards materials for the project

£1,500 would cover a catalogue for the exhibition

You can donate now by clicking here or, to speak to one of the LandWorks team please contact 01803 847289 or landworks@dartington.org.

Sarah

Arts Council England logo


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