Tuesday 8 November 2011

Installation photos

Our technicans used a scissor lift (see above) to install the artwork on the 8m high wall of the Old Fire Station's atrium. When we had originally planned the installation we were expecting to put the work up after the builder's had moved out. Unfortunately there were many problems and delays with the build, so we  installed in the middle of a very busy building site. 
There was no thought of delaying installation as invitations had been sent out to the opening event, and the unveiling of our commission was to be part of the opening ceremony!
We worked in a cloud of dust with all the related difficulties (nowhere to lay out the panels and white gloves seemed pointless!), but the technicians did a sterling job and our work was up within a couple of days.

This is a view of the top section of the atrium wall. 

And a view looking right up. 

Emma and Adam polishing the panels with baby oil (recommended to us by the site manager and it creates a fabulous sheen on stainless steel).

The atrium space is quite shallow, and it is only possible to see the whole artwork by standing quite close to the wall and looking up. The upper sections can be seen more easily from walkways which  run across the space.

Emma reflected in a panel whose design came from rubbings of bark.

The Old Fire Station opened last Friday, and on Saturday the public could enter for the first time.  It was fantastic to see the building being used, and to see children, actors and dancers, and the general public exploring the building and enjoying it's wonderful spaces. 
For Emma and I it was special to see people reflected in the artwork, and to see children interacting with it. This was an important part of our vision for this work, as we wanted the work to reflect the life of the building, and to be changed by it.

Sunday 6 November 2011

The designs

 This is the overall design of the main atrium wall. There are 40 panels, most of which were designed by the 10 participants in our workshops. Some of the designs were repeated at different scales to create a 'scatter' effect. 

The lighter grey panels were to be finished in mirror-polished steel. We wanted to contrast  the very industrial look of the building with a shiny reflective finish. We also wanted the work to reflect the people and the life of the building and to respond to changing light throughout the day.
The darker panels are finished in brushed steel to create contrast where panels are layered.

Panels are fixed at different depths - some flat to the wall, and others floating up to 5cm in front of it, creating shadows and a feeling of depth.

See below for details of these panels.

Saturday 29 October 2011


We have just installed the exhibition which will act as an evaluation for the project but will also create the link between the laser cut artwork and initial drawings and ideas.

Looking back at what the participants achieved during the 6 days of workshops is very inspiring. There are such a wide range of processes and techniques evident in the work. We had to select just a sample of the works created and we hope it illustrates the story of how we came to design and create the final work.

The exhibition can be seen in The Art Room / Crisis at The Old Fire Station on Saturday 5th November.

Thursday 13 October 2011

Installation week

This week we had Adam and Matt working with us to install the artwork. It was a daunting job but with all out co-operation we finally finished it today!

We are all totally exhausted, but very pleased and proud of how the work looks on the wall.
Photos to follow (after 4th November)

Saturday 8 October 2011

TITLE of the artwork

After much deliberation and thinking, we have finally all agreed on the title for the artwork


When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge

We all feel that this title not only sums up what the artwork and process was/is about but also defines the purpose of Crisis and Arts at The Old Fire Station.

Many of the new clients will experience change in their lives and hopefully will be inspired to go on to create new and exciting things with their lives.

Rachel and I always wanted the artwork not to act as a 'finished piece' but the beginnings of new and inspiring opportunities for all involved. We feel confident that this is something that will really happen.

Friday 7 October 2011

Delivery of the artwork!

Today was a big day as our artwork was getting delivered to the Old Fire Station. It arrived on time on a truck,  bubble wrapped and packaged up in card. We have stored all the panels in the shop area as the Gallery space was being used to store the furniture from the reception area whilst the floor resin was drying.

We called 2 Cousins to check the situation with the scissor lift so that is all in order too.

At this stage we are checking the fixings and may have to return a few of the screw coverings as the measurements we were advised upon weren't correct. We will source the screws tomorrow and go back to the OFS to unwrap the artwork and position them, ready for installation on Monday!

                                          Stainless steel mirrored chrome finish

Visit to Emsea

On Thursday 6th October we were given the opportunity to visit Emsea who are the fabricators we decided to go with to produce our laser cut artwork.

Rachel and I were really excited to see the work being cut. All the staff from Emsea were very accommodating and spent a lot of time explaining how the machines work. We also got a tour of the workshop and saw what other techniques they offered, this was good to keep in mind for potential future projects. Due to their experience and expertise they are able to offer advise and solutions with fixtures and fittings.

                                          The laser cutting machine at work

The laser cutting machine is in a vacuum as to eliminate any oxygen entering and causing burnishing to the cut edge. It was fascinating watching the laser create what seemed like a confident drawn line across the metal. As soon as the circuit was complete, sparks would fly up from the metal and the machine operator would release the chunk of metal.

                                          The sparks fly as the laser cuts through the metal

Removing the cut out piece of metal


The design files were imported into the computer and the reading illustrated where the laser was navigating across the metal.

                                                        Operating the machine

Whilst we were waiting for the machine to finish cutting, Chris showed us some samples of other cutting methods. One technique which we had considered for this project was water-jet cutting (using water and sand at an extremely high pressure) The advantage of this is that it can cut through metal of a huge depth although it is very time consuming. The finish was a lovely, textured sand blasted finish on the cut area.

                                          Water-jet cut aluminum, very light weight

                                          Laser cut glass sample 

                                          Welding part of another artwork

The panel of stainless steel is resting upon rows of teeth which support the panel as it is cut way. It was wonderful to watch the laser dart from one side of the panel to the other as it chased the line and drew out the shapes into the metal.

                                          One of the panels as it came off the machine

When all the pieces had been cut from the panel, each section was removed and piled up ready for delivery. It was beautiful to see the designs we have worked with from ideas - experimentation - textiles - printing and drawing to eventually come alive in the metal.

Even the negative spaces which were left in the panel were beautiful. This piece reminded me of a map!

                                          One of the pieces as it came out of the machine

We are very happy with the quality of work which Emsea have done for us and would definitely use them again in the future.