7th September 2010
European Commission's Comenius Study says Dragon shows 'best practice'.
This week delegates from across Europe will visit the project that we've spent five years working on with the staff and pupils of St George's Special Needs School on the Isle of Wight. We named the project 'Dragon' and now it's being labelled as a 'Best Practice' project European wide.
The European study is a Comenius funded Life Long Learning Programme and the partners are from Sweden, Estonia, Cyprus, Italy and UK. The project title is 'Embedding a Culture of Enterprise and Creativity in the Curriculum' and they will be creating some resources and then holding a European Conference in Sweden in 2012. The target group are teachers and school managers in education settings across the pre school -20 year age range. At present they are searching for some 'Best Practice' schools to showcase and they are putting together some ideas for educational resources during a conference week in the UK this month, Dragon has been highlighted by them as a project to learn from and it will also host a meeting of EU delegates this week.
Needless to say we are particularly proud that one of our projects is receiving such major attention and we'd like to congratulate the pupils and staff of St George's for all their hard work on Dragon and for taking the chance to do something different with their school in the first place.
21st August 2010
Eccleston George at Vintage 2010
A weekend to remember!
Above: The Eccleston George camp.
We had a fantastic time a the brand new 'Vintage at Goodwood' festival. We travelled to the site on the South Downs with a huge gaggle of talented artists and musicians with the mission to lay on a series of workshops for the visitors to Vintage.
We arrived on the evening before the festival's Friday start, just enough time to get the Eccleston George campsite set up and ready for the array of artists and musicians that we had gathered for the three day event.
Above: Jules with young workshoper. Darren get ready for work. Lily works on the fashion doll workshop.
On the Friday the event opened and we took up our positions in the woodland and in the Butlins arena and waited for the crowds to descend......we didn't have to wait long as the thousands of Vintage festival goers quickly streamed through the gates and on to the site. Within minutes we were under way delivering various art and music workshops. All of our activities were free to visitors and judging from their reactions they certainly seemed to appreciate the effort we made to give them a fun and creative experience.
Above: Straw bird from Tim's workshop. Earth castings from Dave & Darren's workshop.
We put together a top-class team of artists and musicians all of whom worked their socks off over the weekend. Thankfully it wasn't all work though as we had plenty of time to enjoy the delights that Vintage had to offer. This was a summer festival like no other we've seen before and we really recomend going along next year if you didn't get there this time round.
With a team consisting of seven visual artist, eight musicians, four technicians and two runners this was a hugely ambitious project for us and we learnt a great deal from it, not everything went as we expected,some planned workshops were impossible to deliver and sadly our friends over at Goodleaf Tree Climbing were unable to take part as the tree they has selected and preped for climing had mistakenly been surrounded by food stands making it impossible to use. As with all first time events of this scale there are bound to be teething problems but if we're asked we'll almost certainly go again next year although our feeling is next time we'll probably do things a bit differently.
On the whole the event was a fantastic success for us, we met and worked with hundreds of really lovely people over the three days and we all thought the event had a wonderful aura of vintage magic.
Congratulations have to go to Wayne and Gerardine Hemmingway and the entire Goodwood team for the extraordinary effort they put in to making this magnificent event a reality.
11th August 2010
'VINTAGE AT GOODWOOD' HERE WE COME!
That's it the waiting is almost over, tomorrow we're off to 'Vintage at Goodwood' in Chichester. Billed as a modern day 'Festival of Britain', the three day event will celebrate 50 years of 'British Cool'. The festival is the Brainchild of designer Wayne Hemmingway and his wife Gerardine.
So at lunchtime tomorrow we set sail from the Isle of Wight to make the short journey to the UK mainland and then onward to the Vintage site. With us will be the largest group of freelance artists and musicians that we've ever assembled for a single project. Artists and Musicians from across the Isle of Wight will deliver three days of fantastic arts and crafts workshops as well as music writing and singing workshops. Our friends over at Goodleaf Tree Climbing are also joining us too, they'll be laying on some fantastic tree climbing fun for visitors to the festival.
If you'd like to go to Vintage we understand that there are still a few tickets available so hop over to the Vintage at Goodwood website and order your tickets now!
5th August 2010
Busy July and August.
We've been a bit slow updating the blog lately because we've been so bloomin' busy!
Lots of community workshops, installations and even a stint in a carnival have kept us a busy as we've ever been.
Above: Chinese carnival tiger and Nige works on a bas relief mural
We're off to 'Vintage at Goodwood' next week for four days and then we're hoping to have a bit of a lie down!
If yo want to see more photos of what we've been up to lately hope over to our Blog Photstream (top of this page next to where it says News Blog)
15th July 2010
WEST WIGHT LANDSCAPE PARTNERSHIP'S EVENT DAY 17TH JULY
Come and join us for a great afternoon of creative activities at 'One Horse Field' in Totland on the Isle of Wight. Take a look at the WWLP website to find out more.
15th July 2010
Our first ever Univeristy based project is due to take place this coming September in the form of a series of EG workshops at the Portsmouth University's School of Architecture. The workshops that will be delivered by Nigel George and Tim Johnson are part of a large colloborative project that involves the Isle of Wight Zoo, the University and ourselves.
This is going to be a fantastic opportunity for us to share our skills, initially with Third Year Interior Design Students and then later Architecture Diploma 2 students. Projects are being planned for later in the year when we will work with students on an Eccleston George build in the univeristy grounds itself.
The first workshops in September are entitled 'Habitats, Enclosures & Structures' and will look at our 'environmental enrichment' work in zoos and how aesthetics play an important roll in keeping captive animals happy and stimulated. We'll also look at the novel use of reclaimed and natural materials and draw comparisons between our own structural works and those of animals in the natural world.
7th July 2010
ECCLESTON GEORGE FAUX BOIS (FALSE WOOD) IN EFFECT.
EG sculptor Darren Brazer has been busy perfecting a nearly forgotten sculptural artform known as 'Faux Bois'.
Above Left Darren's false tree stump in progress & right a section of sea-worn timber.
Whilst we have worked on a couple of fasle wood projects in the past, notably the sunken galleon at the Sea Life Centre Brighton back in 2005 which featured sculpted faux timber sections, Darren is taking the technique to a new level of realism. We now expect to include the Faux Bois technique in our public realm and visitor attraction work in the future.
Faux Timber featured in the structure of the sunken galleon above.
The technique was pioneered in Mexico during the 1920's by an artist called Dionicio Rodriguez, although not widely known, his large-scale Faux Bois installations, known as "El Trabajo Rustico" have been listed on Mexico's National Register of Historic Places.
4th July 2010
Now it's Casper the White Lion in his home!
Take a look at this very short video of the Isle of Wight Zoo's white lion 'Casper'.
The keepers at the zoo tell us Casper loves his Eccleston George rock outcrop and spends much of his time relaxing at the very top where he can spy on all the goings on around the zoo and indeed far beyond. We know from when we worked on the enclosure that from Casper's rocktop vantage point you can see right over Sandown Bay to the South and to the North you can see over the golf course (full of tasty golfers) and beyond to Brading Down. No wonder Casper loves it up there so much!
30th June 2010
Palmeston makes his way home.
After spending time in our own care, the Isle of Wight Zoo's iconic tiger sculpture, that normally sits atop the zoo's impressive Napoleonic fort facade, is back in his rightful place.
We where commissioned by the zoo to give the sculpture a brand new coat of paint with the brief that it's new livery should celebrate the Chinese year of the Tiger.
So our own Hannah George set to work on some research and then based on what she found designed a fancy new coat to adorn the nine foot long sculpture. Hannah's take on a traditional Chinese design certainly is eye-catching so when a team of Firemen from the local Fire Brigade lifted the Tiger back in to his resting place, plenty of heads were turned.
An open competition to rename the tiger for 2010 was won by a local lady who chose the name Palmeston after the 3rd Viscount Palmeston under who's instruction the Isle of Wight zoo's own fort was built in the late 1800's.
28th June 2010
Hamble project comes to a very successful end.
After three weeks in residence working alongside the students and staff of Hamble Community Sports College our latest Creative Partnerships project has come to an end. Students from the school have designed and made a completely new outdoor learning/performance & relaxation area. The project has gone fantastically well and we'd like to thank the students for the amazing amount of hard work they've put in to the project. The area, that was previously used for little more than a dumping area, now features a large stage, a themed relaxation zone and seating for around fifty people to view performances and other events.
Our work at Hamble School has been a truly inspirational collaborative project and has benefited from the help of local businesses, Red Funnel Ferries, Jewsons and The Southern Daily Echo. We are really grateful to them all for helping to make this project such a great success.
The project ended last Friday with a celebration event in which several school bands played, a barbeque was enjoyed by all and finally a music performance from our own musicians brought the project to a perfect close.
Take a look at our Image Gallery for lots more photos.
21st June 2010
Hamble Community Sports College rises to the challenge.
We've raised the benchmark considerably for the students of Hamble Community Sports College and we're please to report that they have risen to the challenge we've set them by producing some of the best work we've seen in a school project that we've been involved with.
The beginings of a new Gaudi style sculpture
This latest outdoor grounds school project is being carried out as part of the national Creative Partnerships scheme.
The brief that the students have set themselves is to create a multi-functional outdoor learning/relaxing/performance area. The ambitious scheme will take three weeks to complete and will involve up to two hundred students in the design and make process.
Spike works with students on a sculpted seat
A huge thank you to Red Funnel Ferrys who have helped us out enormously by sponsoring our ferry journeys to and from the Isle of Wight, also thank you to Jewons for their help with materials for the project....with out help from these two companies this project would have been very difficult to do indeed. More photos can be seen on our Image Gallery.
5th June 2010
MAGPIE JOINS THE ECCLESTON GEORGE COLLECTIVE.
'Magpie' is an open project all about recycling things. Hannah set up 'Magpie' whilst working for the wonderful Island 2000 Trust. Now she's brought it with her to EG and we'll use it to highlight the work we do with reclaimed materials and 'upcycling' making projects. Look out for the Magpie logo on our future projects. The Magpie logo was designed by Nicola Winsland who, we hear, has just written and illustrated a children's book. We can't wait to see it and we'll let you know more about it when it's published.
4th June 2010
Hurrah The Nutshell Seats are done!
After a shaky start with a bit of vandalism slowing us down we're pleased to announce that everything is looking lovely in the Hive garden.
All the nutshell seats are in their proper places in the Hive area at the Isle of Wight Festival site and they've been joined by some rather odd looking invertebrate friends!
28th May 2010
In a Nutshell we're back on target to get stuff done for Festival.
After yesterday's shock discovery that several newly made Nutshell Seats had been vandalised at the Sea Close site, we're pleased to report that we're back in business at the Dragon Centre where we've recamped. Work restarted today to make the sculptural seats and other bits and bobs for the IW Festival's 'Hive' area. It's always great to have an excuse to return to our favorite place, Dragon, we've been working with the students there for five years on and off so in many ways it's like working from home.
Thank you to everyone whose been in touch offering their best wishes and those who have run stories on our little mishap, we really appreciate your support and interest. You'll be pleased to know that we've managed to replace all the broken Nutshell Seats today and now have ten new ones curing on their sand moulds....hopefully they'll be ready for lifting after the long weekend and we'll be able to start the fancy sculpting part of them on Tuesday.
What the finished Nutshell Seats will look like when finished.
So it's all's well that ends well as far as we're concerned!
27th May 2010
Vandals wreck our first days work at the Isle of Wight Festival site.
Half of the eighteen nutshell seats we had curing on sand moulds have been destroyed by vandals at the Isle of Wight Festival site. It was really sad to find that our work to create a fun relaxation area for 'The Hive' had been vandalised in this way. Hopefully some enjoyment was had by the culpitts who were kind enought to leave their trainer prints in some of our work!
One of the vandals trainer prints.
In the light of what's happened we've decided to move the making of our sculptural stuff for 'The Hive' to the Dragon centre at St George's School and the transport the finshed pieces to the festival site nearer the time of the Festival itself.
It's very rare that this kind of thing happens to us so when it does it comes as a bit of a shock. Anyone that knows us will know that we do quite a bit of community work with difficult teenagers and young offenders and have always found that once they are given a creative task to work on and the tools and skills to work with to complete the task, they are often great to work with and always eager and enthusiastic. The sad fact is that whoever did this could very easily have worked with us to make the Nutshell seats in the first place and then would have felt very differently about destroying them as a result.
26th May 2010
Taking Goodleaf to Goodwood.
We had a lovely morning with our friends Abi and Paul from the wonderful Goodleaf Tree Climbing Company. We took the up to the Vintage at Goodwood site to find a tree good enough and big enough for them to do their fantastic tree climbing activity for visitors to the event. Thankfully Paul found a couple of trees that fitted the bill so the lucky punters at vintage are going to get some amazing tree climbing experiences coupled with an amazing view of the Vintage site and far beyond over the South Downs. Goodleaf will join the Eccleston George collective as we deliver a fantastic array of hands-on activities that will include music making, bush craft, earth casting, visual art and of course tree climbing.....we can't wait!
24th May 2010
No time to sit in the sun for us!
It doesn't seem that long ago we were digging our way out of the snow and suddenly today we found ourselves boiling in our shorts in record May temperatures!
Anyway this week we are mostly making stuff for the world famous Isle of Wight Rock Festival. No photos just yet I'm afraid as today has been a setting up day so not much worth photographing yet. We'll be on the Festival site for a couple of weeks of sculptural fun and decorative makings. We're working in an area called The Hive which is run by our lovely friends over at the Island 2000 Trust. We'll post some photos once things there are under way.
Part of the Mediterranean Garden at Dragon
Last week we spent a few great days at our favorite project 'Dragon', we spent time with students doing some repairs and renewals to some of the features that are now five years old and we also took a trip over to Isle of Wight Radio's Studio B to record a piece about the Dragon project.
Super Sparkle Toothpaste at St Mark's Junior School
Also last week we revisited St Mark's Junior School in Southampton to carry on with the final stages of our Creative Partnerships project there. This time we worked with year 4's on a shelter building project and year 3's on a project about teeth. We had a great couple of days at the school and amongst other things made a giant toothpaste tube and toothbrush as well a promotional jingle advertising the students very own toothpaste brand 'Super Sparkle Toothpaste'.
19th May 2010
Creative Partnerships projects for the Island, Deadline for sign up 31st May 2010.
If you are from a school on the Isle of Wight and you want to sign up for the Creative Partnership 'Enquiry programme' you need to move fast as the deadline is approaching fast. The Enquiry programme comes with about £3000 and you can work with a creative practitioner of your choice.Contact us by email and we'll refer your interest directly to the local CP agent who will then make contact with you....but remember you need to do it quick smart as time is running out!
18th May 2010
Sad day for Nodehill Centenary Mural
It was a strange and sad day for us today. We went to work with the intention of repairing the damage caused by the severe freezing conditions last winter to our Nodehill Centenary Mural only to find that the 'freeze thaw' damage was far worse than we thought. The bas relief mural at Church Litten Park was completed nearly three years ago as part of a collaborative project with the Newport based middle school where students designed the content for the 20 metre long work of art.
This morning, on closer inspection, it became clear that mural was a possible health and saftey risk and at that point we were faced with the very tough decision to decommission the piece completely. In all the years we've been going this is the first time we've had to dismantle our own work so during the process of taking it down we were interested to find out what had happened. We discovered that the severe and prolonged sub zero temperatures had damaged the bonding layer or 'scratch coat' that normally holds the piece in place and we now think that this happened because the wall is very damp which in turn made it vunerable during last winter's deep freeze.
We met with School Head David Morris first thing this morning before work to take the piece down began and as a result we're glad to say that it may not be the end for the Centenary Mural at Nodehill. We're now working together with David on a plan that could mean the mural will be reinstated in a freeze proof way in time for the schools closure in 2011.
The entire material made up the mural will now be recycled by us at our Dragon project at St George's Special Needs School.
We'll let you know more as soon as we know more.
15th May 2010
What's been happening this week?
This week has been a bit of a meetings and pen pushing week, yes even we have to do the boring stuff from time to time! However we did have a very nice trip back to St Marks Junior School in Southampton to meet head of Creative Partnerships Paul Collard. Whilst we were there we found out how the school is now using the tree sculpture we built with them back in March in their lessons and we were delighted to see so much imaginative stuff going on around it. Next week we'll go back to St Mark's for two final days of workshops, this time we'll be thinking on our feet by fitting in with the school's current curiculum subjects, should be fun...we'll let you know how it goes!
We also had a meeting just yesterday with staff and children of Niton Primary School on the Isle of Wight about a project with them later in the year. The school is set in the most beautiful position on the south coast of the Island and we're really looking forward to getting all inspired by the area in order to create something special in the outdoor grounds of the school.
Next week we're going to be all over the place! Starting with Monday at St Mark's in Southampton, then on Tuesday to Newport Isle of Wight and Nodehill School to do some repair work to the Centenary Mural that was damaged by the severe winter conditions this winter, on Weds we're off to Dragon to work with the Dragon team for a day, Thurs back to Nodehill to colour the completed repair work and finally Friday back to Southampton again for our final day with St Mark's Junior School. Should be fun all round!
10th May 2010
More Playbuilder projects on the way.
We've just heard that we're to be commissioned to produce another play feature as part of the national playbuilder scheme. Yet again it's on the Isle of Wight and in Newport this time in the Pan estate. This time round we're working with the Pan Neighbourhood Partnership and with landscape architects ACD who are the designers of the overall playground layout.
We've already run several community workshops relating to play area design in the Pan area and before we start any scuptural work we'll deliver two more days of design workshops in local schools and with community groups. This project will be a bit more hands on with the community than our last two Playbuider features, young people who live in the Pan estate will actually have an opportunity to work with us on some aspects of the sculptural play features.
We've also had an interesting meeting with play equipment suppliers Kompan who will be supplying the 'off the shelf' play equipment, Chris Dixon of Komplan recognised the unique nature of our play sculptures and seemed keen to work with us in the future.
The news about the Pan Playbuilder project came just after we'd been sent a copy of the design for yet another Playbuilder project on the Isle of Wight. The design by Mike Kemp of Groundwork Solent incorporates our own 'Jurassic Canyon' play sculpture design as a Phase 2 construction project. We're really hoping this one comes to fruition as it's a really exciting step on from our last two play sculpture features. Watch this space and we'll let you know if it works out!
5th May 2010 Updated 7th May
PLAYBUILDER 2010 VIDEO FOOTAGE.
Here's a slightly shakey look around our two latest Playbuilder projects. Two play areas are both interactive climbing sculptures, both in Newport on the Isle of Wight, the first 'Serpent Climb' is in Nelson Road and the second 'Jurassic Climb' is in Hookes Way.
Whilst the two play sculptures, commissioned by Medina Housing Association, have been designed and built by us, they and are each one part of a much bigger playground rebuild which has been designed and implemented by Mike Kemp of Groundwork Solent. We've really enjoyed getting involved with this project as it represents a strand of work that, although new to us, has much in common with our work in zoos where we design and build playgrounds for animals such as lions and tigers. It's been a lot of fun making interactive stuff for humans for a change!
Both sculptures are made using recycled parts of the old playgrounds reclaimed from the same site.
2nd May 2010
ROLL UP, ROLL UP. GET YOUR TICKETS FOR THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH......PROBABLY!
Eccleston George is pretty well known for not doing things by the book, we laugh at establishments and their funny established ways and we say bah to bureaucracy and then work with the bureaucrats to fashion something pretty out of their red tape.
That's why when something comes up that's so audacious as to be quite mad, so ambitious as to be very nearly impossible to do and so much fun that you can't bear to not to join in, we have to find out more. So when we heard about 'Vintage at Goodwood' we thought " crumbs, lets have some of that"!
The lovely and quite bonkers Mr and Mrs Wayne Hemmingway of Hemmingway Design have surpassed themselves with their latest project to re-write the summer festival rulebook. Vintage at Goodwood is a hugely ambitious project to put on a show celebrating British culture across the decades. Why's that so different? Well we've been up to the beautiful South Downs site where the event will take place this summer from the 13th - 15th August and listened to the husband and wife team enthusiastically hold forth about their three day vintage extravaganza featuring a high street with shops and a pub, a Butlins style holiday camp, lots of music venues (none of them in tents but instead in fancy buildingy things), camping on a scale and in a style never before witnessed by festival goers and all of that is just for starters.....and when it's all over everything will be returned to normal, high street gone, fancy buildings all gone, just birds, bees and sheep just as it should be.
Wayne & Gerardene explain Vintage at Goodwood to the EG team.
So how could we resist that kind of huge scale nuttiness?.....of course we couldn't and Eccleston George will be there to offer a mix of activities to human beings of all ages, from tree climbing to song writing and music making, from bug hunting to den building and doing all kinds of arty stuff we'll be there to show visitors a thing or two about good old fashioned fun and there definitely won't be an Xbox or a Playstation in sight.
So we say get your tickets to the first ever 'Vintage at Goodwood' now, in this its first year there are only 30,000 up for grabs and Wayne tells us they are selling fast. Take a look at their website where you can find out who's playing and what else is happening and of course buy your tickets......and as for us, well we look forward to seeing you there!
28th April 2010
Calling all Playbuilder projects in the UK!
Playground materials shortages? No Problem!
If you're one of the many County Councils, Borough Councils or housing associations working on Playbuilder projects we can help you. Currently there's a national shortage of many of the materials that are used in the making of playgrounds, Playbuilder projects across the country are running behind schedule because of this.....however, because of the way we work we're still creating bespoke unique features that perfectly fulfill the Playbulder brief and we're totally unaffected by the shortages.
Jurassic Climb by Eccleston George.
Take at look at the photos of two of our latest Playbuilder projects, both use recycled parts of the old playgrounds in order to make fantastic brand new features, and as Playbuilder requires community engagement we've done that too, in fact in some cases members of the community have been able to work with us right through the design and make process.
Snake Climb by Eccleston George.
Playbuilder is looking for councils and housing associations to produce something different to the usual playground design and for them to properly engage with the communities they're working in.....if your looking for something different that perfectly fits the brief look no further, we can to help you.
"Superb stuff!" said urban space design guru Wayne Hemmingway on seeing our 'Jurassic Climb' Playbuilder feature.
23rd April 2010
Check out this video of our own Spike Oatley performing one his own songs at the Quay Arts 'Accoustic Originals' night. Along with Rich Murphy Spike heads up the music workshop projects that we deliver for schools and other groups. Both Spike and Rich are well known on the gig circuits and festivals in the south of the UK. You can Check out one of Rich's bands songs here.
22nd April 2010
SECOND PLAYBUILDER PROJECT WELL UNDERWAY.
Above : The original plan and work so far.
The weather has been fantastic and as a result we've been able to forge ahead with the second of our Playbuilder projects on the Isle of Wight in the UK. Once again this project will see us recycle parts of the old decommisioned playground in order to create a lovely new and exiting play feature, in this case two giant serpents. We've called the project 'Serpent Climb' and already local kids are excited about getting their hands & feet on them. On day three we've completed all the armature work on one of the giant snakes, which now needs just the final sculpted coat to finish it, and the second snake isn't far behind. More news and pics soon.
20th April 2010
HELLO LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, HOW CAN WE HELP?
We couldn't help but notice that we've had quite a few web visits from what we believe to be Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in the United States of America. Now this could be incorrect as our stats engine has proven to be wrong before but if you are looking at us from Lincoln Uni please make contact as we're fascinated by your interest in us!
15th April 2010
That's it, our first Playbuilder project is finished
9 working days after it started our first ever Playbuilder project is complete. The project has gone fantastically well and we're really pleased with the end result. We've had quite a few local kids following our progress and have been informed that they think it's "well wicked".
Next other contracters will move into the playground space and install the standard play equipment around our 'rock climb' centrepiece. The rock area, we call 'Jurassic Climb', features Disney World style theming with an array of dinosaur fossils including a full size T Rex skull. Children will be able to climb and jump around on the fossils and rocks and make their way up to a stainless steel slide and wooden climbing apparatus.
Now we move on to our second Playbuilder project, 'Serpent Climb', which will be created at another playground on the Isle of Wight.
Check out our photostream for loads more photos of 'Jurassic Climb' from begining to end.
12th April 2010
Work continues on our Playbuilder project 'Jurassic Climb'
The whole team at work
Work on the finer detail of our latest project has started with some of the sculpted fossil work being created. Once completed the area will allow kids to explore the rock climbing area and discover a variety of sculpted fossils.
Once this play area is completed we'll move on to our second Playbuilder project on the Isle of Wight which will be based around a serpent theme.
4th April 2010
Creative Island - feature video
Look who's in this video about Creativity on the Isle of Wight! The video is made by the lovely people at Island Business Magazine and accompanies a feature in this months addition of their very fine publication. A better quality Quick Time version of the video can be seen here.
2nd April 2010
PLAYBUILDER PROJECTS UNDER WAY
Rich, Spike and Cam working hard.
This week has seen us start the first of our Playbuilder projects. This one is in Newport on the Isle of Wight and is centred in a small playground owned by the Medina Housing Association. We've gone for a Jurassic themed rock climb in this playground, the rock climb will lead to a wooden fort-like construction with a slide and climbing frame. You can see more photos of this project in action on our photostream. As with all our work this project involves lots of recycling....so far we've recycled ten tones of brick and concrete rubble, old wire and newspaper. Watch this space to find out how things progess over the next couple of weeks.
28 March 2010
What's been happening this week?
It's been a very busy week with lots of variety and fun stuff going on.....just how we like it in fact!
Here's a break down of the week.
- Monday we visited St Francis special needs school in Fareham Hampshire. We had a great day with staff looking around the school grounds and we started cooking up plans for a long term school grounds project with students and staff.
- Tuesday we had a running around day, picking up materials and sketching plans for our forth coming Playbuilder projects.
- Wednesday it was over to Hamble Le Rice in Hampshire with the whole EG team to lay on a day workshop with staff and students of Hamble Community Sports College. This was an introduction to the workings of Eccleston George in preparation for a three week outdoor grounds project at the school in June. Students and staff worked with us on some earth casting and Nigelite workshops.
- Thursday it was great to be back at the Isle of Wight Zoo, albeit a flying visit. This time we worked on some theming in a large indoor enclosure for some small Gerbil-like rodents called Degu. Degu come from Chile where they live in the mountainous regions of the Andes. It was our task to create a little bit of the Andes for the Degu at the zoo and all in just one day!
- Friday Was spent working on some sculptural stuff for this years Isle of Wight Music Festival. Our friends at the Island 2000 Trust run a wonderful eco area at the Festival called 'The Hive' and they've asked us if we can help to make the area interesting with arty stuff.....of course we're only too happy to obliged.
Above: Earth casting at Hamble, in the Degu enclosure and making things for the Festival.
Next week starts on our five week long Playbuilder project.
22nd March 2010
Trip to St Francis leads to second annual James Pulham pilgrimage.
Today we had a meeting at a special needs school in Fareham in Hampshire called St Francis'. We had a very nice time at the school looking around the school grounds and meeting staff and children. Plans for us to work with the school will soon be on the table and we're looking forward to introducing them to St George's School, home of our Dragon project and Victoria Special Needs School in Poole in Dorset who we'll also be working with very soon.
Left: Cam point out to Dave and Spike where they are! Right: Pulhamite heaven.
So once the meeting was over at St Francis', I (Nige) took Spike, Dave & Cam to pay homage to our rock making and landscape guru, James Pulham on what was mine and Spikes second and Dave and Cams first annual pilgrimage to Holly Hill Park.
Once again we we're blown away by the masterful work of the Victorian naturalistic landscape maker and rockwork faker. We marvelled at his 120 year old waterfalls and rock outcrops and we admired the astonishing workmanship and engineering of the beautiful cave-like boat grotto.
The team study the 120 year old Pulhamite features, waterfall, rock outcrop and grotto.
It's now 30 years since I first discovered this amazing place as a boy, you can find out more about that here.
21th March 2010
PRISON PROJECT COMPLETED ON TIME.
We've just finished a landscape design and build project for HMP Isle of Wight. This unusual project saw us work alongside prisoners to create fantastic relaxation garden in the prison's own hospital grounds.The garden features an extraordinary array of sculptural work and at it centre stands an amazing geodesic dome. We're hoping that once they've been cleared for us to use, we'll have some photos of the project to show you.
We'd like to thank the garden staff and prisoners at HMP Isle of Wight for all their hard work with designing and then making what's turned out to be an amazing and unique landscaped space.
15th March 2010
St George's Dragon in Portsmouth
The EG team were recently in Portsmouth working in a School called St George's Beneficial Junior School. It was the second week of a Creative Partnership with the school which set out to design and build a dragon sculpture in the school grounds. Over the two weeks pupils and teachers work with us on the complete process of design and build, children worked on schematic plans, sketches, made models in plaster, cardboard, marzipan and chocolate in the classroom then outside worked on the full size sculpture, giant footprints and dragon egg seats. During the second week we were joined by education team 'Growing Ideas' who worked with the children on willow sculptures and made the body section for the life size dragon sculpture.
Huge amounts of artistic work were generated by the children for this project and we think that they should be congratulated for the incredible hard work they put in during our collaboration with them.
A big big thanks must go out to Jewsons who provided lots of free materials for the outside sculpture and a massive thank you to Wightlink who very kindly sponsored our travel to and from the Isle of Wight.....thanks guys!
March 4th 2010
PHASE TWO OF EAST MEETS WEST COMPLETE
Students work on their designs in Cowes
We've been back in Cowes on the Isle of Wight working with the A level art students from the local high school on our on-going public art project called East meets West.. This time we've been working on three bas-relief murals each designed by the students themselves and then sculpted directly on site in a fantastic location given to us by the wonderful people at Red Funnel Ferries. Now anyone coming to or leaving the Island via Red Funnel's Passenger service will see the three sculptures in all their glory.
Eccleston George team in action
We'd like to thank the staff and students of Cowes High School, Red Funnel and our project funders, The Youth Opportunities Fund for making this amazing project possible and also to say that we're really looking forward to phase three of the East meets West which will be an ambitious music and film project planned for next year.
One of the finished designs
Feb 16th 2010
SEED TO A TREE CD SINGLE RELEASED!
Listen to it here
The Treezemics aka Spike Oatley, Rich Murphy and pupils from St Mark’s School in Shirley, Southampton as part of Eccleston George’s Creative Partnership’s project at the school. With nothing prepared before hand, Spike and Rich started from scratch to produce two songs, one, ‘Faraway Tree’ written and perfomed by the children themselves and the other, ‘Seed to a Tree’ written and performed by Spike with the help of 150 Year 3 and 4 pupils. Rich provided the music theory and recording production as well as instumentation tuition and all the post production work. The music workshop took place as a five day art’s residency in which Spike and Rich worked all day every day with ten Year 3 and 4 students to go through the complete process of thinking up lyrics, making up tunes to go with their lyrics, recording tracks and finally producing a CD. The music project was part of a bigger Eccleston George week long residencey at St Mark’s that covered Film/photgraphy and sculpture.
Feb 10th 2010
Welcome, Cam Snudden joins Eccleston George Team
We'd like to introduce you to the latest addition to the Eccleston George team. Cam Snudden is a graduate from St George's School on the Isle of Wight and has been able to join us thanks to a brand new apprenticeship scheme that we've been instrumental in setting up and hope that if it's a success maybe rolled out nationally.
Cam is a talented young artist and musician and will work with us as part of an old fashioned style apprenticeship where he'll learn the skills to produce public art, deliver community workshops, work in visitor attractions as a themer and much much more. We're really pleased to have him on-board and we look forward to teaching him what we know and in turn him using his talents to help push the EG collective onwards.
Feb 6th 2010
VERY CREATIVE PARTNERSHIPS
Walking with Dragons at St George's School The Faraway Tree at St Mark's School
It's been quite a fortnight with two major Creative Partnerships projects taking place in two schools, both week long residencies and both very different from each other.
To give you some idea of stuff we've covered over the last two weeks here's a list of materials we've worked with - The usual wet cement of course as well as cardboard, marzipan, chocolate, sand, paper, plaster, straws, plastic bags, paint, wood, fabric, music, photography.
St Mark's Southampton
Last Monday we started a week long 'artists in residence' at St Mark's C of E Junior School in Southampton. This project stretched us in ways we didn't know we could be stretched! The main project theme was a tree sculpture that became known as 'The Faraway Tree'. Whilst the sculpture is the physical centrepiece, around it swirled three other major projects, two of which were delivered by our own team and third by a lovely chap that we'd not met before called James Byford. Amongst other very clever things, James is a corporate web designer and for the Faraway Tree project was given the task of working with a mix of Year 3 & 4 students to build a completely new school website!
What we've seen of it so far looks amazing. You can find out about James' own experience at St Mark's on his own blog.
For us, the first of the other two projects were about photography/film and for this our special friend and photographic genius Julian Winslow worked with a large group of Year 3 & 4 pupils. The second was an ambitious music project with our very own music maestro's, Spike Oatley and Rich Murphy, they were assisted by our apprentice Cam Snuddon. All these projects took place at the same time over the course of the week working with 150 Year 3 & 4 students in total!!! Our own Dave Badman led the making of the fantastic main tree sculpture and was helped by our technician Darren Brazer while Nigel George moved from classroom to classroom and project to project in order to keep the things running smoothly.
Thanks to the incredible effort from the teaching staff and all the children we worked with, the end result is really amazing. We're really impressed by the huge amounts of creativity generated by everyone involved, creative partners, teachers and students alike.
A special shout out to the Red Funnel ferry company for their help getting us across the Solent every day for the week at a seriously knocked down rate. We couldn't do these projects without their sponsorship so a huge thanks to them goes out from us at Eccleston George.
St George's Portsmouth
Two weeks ago we started a project at St George's Beneficial Junior School in Portsmouth, centred around a Dragon theme, the project set out to design and build a full size dragon sculpture in the school grounds. As we were keen to try and work within the schools Year 3 & 4 current curriculum topics, we incorporated the use of chocolate in to the project by using it to make dragon maquettes. Castles were also being studied in the school so we incorporated this into the project too by working with students to make scale representations of sections of a castle and then configuring those sections to make a complete castle complex.
With the main design groups from Year 1 & 2 we used earthcasting techniques to make dragon footprints and dragon eggs in plaster and in concrete indoors and out, the outdoor footprints will eventually lead to the dragon sculpture which will be started when we return to the school at the beginning of March.
We had a fantastic time at St Georges and we all thought the school had a wonderful creative vibe that was very infectious!
A massive thanks should go to ferry company Wightlink for sponsoring our ferry travel to and from the Island, with out their assistance we would seriously struggle to be able to deliver these kinds of project to mainland schools...thanks guys!
Jan 22nd 2010
And we're off!
The snow has long gone and our projects for 2010 are finally under way. We're due to start on our Creative Partnership project at St George's Junior school in Portsmouth on Monday 25th for the week and then We're off to St Marks Junior School in Southampton the following week for another Creative Partnership project. We had a fantastic day with the staff and pupils of St Marks this week when we ran a day of activities at the school as an introduction to our main project in just over a weeks time. The whole EG team were flat out at St Marks running workshops in six classes (160 pupils) simultaniously, a record for us we think!.
A design from the Playbuilder workshop
Today (Friday) we've been running consultation workshops in two schools in Newport on the Isle of Wight in preperation for one of the projects we're due to work on as part of the national Playbuilders scheme. We're really looking forward to the Playbuilder projects that wil take place in four parks on the Isle of Wight.
Jan 12th 2010
Project reshuffle sorts out our big project freeze
Thank goodness! it looks like we've been able to sort out the problems with our work schedule caused by the business freeze after a week of snow. Luckily for us one of our projects due to start later in the year has been postponed giving some much needed space to reshuffle our schedule into a much more healthy position. This all means that all our clients are happy......hurrah!! Who'd have thought that one week of snow could cause so many problems!! Anyway all sorted now and we've even got a couple of weeks spare to play with...Phew!
Jan 10th 2010
NO BUSINESS LIKE SNOW BUSINESS
IN FACT THERE'S NO BUSINESS AT ALL AT THE MOMENT!
Our snow covered ammonite seat.
Along with millions of other businesses, the snow is playing havoc with our project schedule. We've already lost all our planning days with schools in Southampton and Portsmouth and several meetings have had to be cancelled due to school closures. With more cancellations predicted for this coming week the knock-on effect is getting a bit daunting as project start dates draw closer and the weather shows no real sign of getting better. This unusual weather event coupled with our very busy schedule for the first five or six months of this year means that if it goes on much longer we're not entirely sure how we're going to reshedule projects so that everyone gets them completed on time.
We're going to try really hard to make sure all our clients get a slice of the Eccleston George action that they're expecting, we just hope things warm up a bit and quick, before the problem gets more difficult to manage.
December 31st 2009 Update 10th Jan 2010
EG baby boom continues.
Congratulations to Spike and his partner Catherine on the safe arrival of baby Ernie. Ernie joins Betty George as the second EG baby born during 2009. So that's two down and one to go as we wait with great excitement for Rich Murphy and Emma's baby to be born any day now.....we'll keep you posted!!
Congratulations to Emma and Rich on the safe arrival of Baby Eddie...hurrah!
December 18th 2009
We met with the Head of Portsmouth University's School of Architecture and the Senior Lecturer, Interior Design and Admissions Tutor yesterday. We had a very interesting discussion with them and as a result we're looking forward to working with their students and staff in the near future......needless to say we're really looking forward to this particular university challlenge!
December 14th 2009
New medium for a New Year
This strange little sculpture of a Rhinoceros Beetle is made from yet another newly adapted sculpting medium. The exact ingredients of this one we're keeping to ourselves for the time being but suffice to say it's an unusual organic cementious composite that performs like no other mix we've developed so far.
Above Sewn detail on the beetle A reptile eye thing
The new mix handles much like any standard sculpture clay with the great advantage over standard clay being that this new medium, as with all our mixes, doesn't need firing to cure it, this gives us the opportunity to mix it with other media like glass, fabric and natural materials etc. It also goes unfeasably hard and appears to be completely scuff & scratch proof when fully cured. Also unlike air drying clays it doesn't crack and it has an incredible 24hr working time before it starts to properly cure.
We're really exicted about this one as it gives us the potential to create sculptures for the interior market as well as outdoor stuff and its improved sculptability makes very fine detailed work a real possibility for the first time.
December 14th 2009
You can dive on Eccleston George Reef.
Take a look at this video we've discovered on You Tube, it shows a diver's eye-view of our work at the ocean tank in the Brighton Sea Life Centre. The video was taken this year and we're really pleased to see that all the rocks, the coral reef sculptures and the galleon that we made are holding up fantastically well after five years of being submerged under three quarters of a million litres of sea water.
Work in progress five years ago
It seems that a company called Brighton Shark Dive provides a service for members of the public to dive in the giant size ocean tank. Should you choose to take them up on their offer, not only will you find yourself in amongst our work, you'll also share the waterscape with sharks, turtles and a miriad of tropical fish......lots of fun we reckon and if your stuck for a christmas present for someone, what a gift it would be!
December 4th 2009
New decade brings record bookings
After a pretty good year this year it seems that the 2010 is going to break all previous booking records. So far we're booked up until May and we expect to hear about two more projects very soon that will probably take us in to July/August. This is unprecedented for us and has taken us a bit by surprise!
Our team is expanding accordingly in order to respond to variety of projects we're getting involved with these days which is only adding to the excitement about the year ahead. With lots of bookings and interest coming from mainland UK schools, it looks as though we'll be crossing the Solent quite a bit during 2010.
We've also got some big plans to push into some new streams of work for 2011 which we'll announce next year.
We're really excited about plans to open a permanent Eccleston George base that will be open to the public during holiday periods, we haven't finalised details yet but it's hoped that it'll become a fantastic venue for Eccleston George style making, learning and fun.
We'll keep you updated as things progress further and don't forget to lookout for our new Project Diary on this website to see where we are and where we're going to be. Even if we look like we're booked up, still drop us a line if you're interested as we might still be able to send an EG team in your direction or recommend some very clever and creative friends of Eccleston George.
Friday 27th November 09
Scintillating Sycamore Seeds: National Tree Week
105 High Street
Celebrate National Tree Week with some creative tree fun at Boojum & Snark, Sandown.
Using the ancient Japanese paper folding art of Origami, community artists Eccleston George will be on hand to see if you can recreate nature by making Sycamore helicopter seeds – out of a square sheet of paper.
Goodleaf Tree Climbing are sponsoring the event and will be there to top up your tree and seed knowledge. They’re bringing their Big Shot catapult along and, if the weather’s good, there’ll be the chance to launch your seed and see if it will fly in the way that nature intended!
Origami needs concentration & dexterity and is suitable for older children accompanied by an adult.
This fun and creative event is free and runs between 1 – 3 pm.
Friday 20th November 09
Places to go, people to meet, things to do!
Wow what a week it's been this week. We've been dashing around all over the place following up leads and arranging projects for the new year. On Tuesday we visited two schools on the mainland, one in Southampton and one in Portsmouth.
In Southampton we had a lovely time at St Mark's Junior School where we were treated to a guided tour of the school by a group of pupils. This was followed up by us being interviewed by the school children and then an opportunity for us to show staff and pupils our work in a slideshow. St Mark's is a fantastic Victorian built school with a very modern approach to creative teaching....we loved it there and we're now really looking forward to working with them in the new year.
In Portsmouth we paid a flying visit to St George's Junior School. We didn't have much time to spare so we whizzed around the school grounds with the school caretaker and identified some spots for potential development. We'll be revisiting in the next couple of weeks to meet the schools head teacher, staff and children so we can talk about what kind of project they would like to work with us on.
Both schools are taking part in the national Creative Partnerships scheme, if you don't know about Creative Partnerships and the work they do click the link to find out more.
Thursday 12th November
EAST MEETS WEST PHASE 2 UNDERWAY
Yes we're back in Cowes for the community arts project we call East meets West. Earlier this year we worked with students from Cowes High School to design and sculpt a one off piece of public art in the town of East Cowes. Now we're working with students from Osbourne Middle School in East Cowes and students from Cowes High School to design and install an original piece of sculptural art in West Cowes.
The East meets West arts project has been created to try to find a way to address the social divide between the two towns of East and West Cowes. The project set up by Eccleston George will see us deliver a series of creative events and activities over a long period of time that will attempt to build a metaphorical bridge between the two towns.
Saturday 7th November 09
St Francis School visit lots of fun
We had a really lovely afternoon at St Francis special needs school in Fareham Hants yesterday. Nigel George met with Head Teacher Steve Hollinghurst to discuss the possiblity of an outdoor grounds project at the school and then attended a school assembley in order to meet some of the staff and pupils of the school. After the assembley Nigel met with teacher Gavin Hodson who showed him around the school grounds. With Mr Hollinghurst's support Nigel and Gavin will now work together to find funding for our Eccleston George team to begin an exciting creative project working with staff and pupils of the school.
We'll keep you posted on this project as we're pretty sure it's going to turn out to be a really exciting one.
Wednesday 4th November 09
Prison project underway
Left: The garden design based on a prisoners plan and right, the central 6 metre wide dome feature.
Sadly we can't show you any photos of our latest project because we're not allowed to take cameras in the prison, we can however report that the project is going extremely well and despite the bad weather work is currently ahead of schedule.
The project is an ambitious engagement project that sees us working with prisoners to create an unusual prison garden using sculpting techniques and recycling.
Wednesday 21st October
16 years old and still going strong!
A Rhinoceros Hornbill investigates one of our trees with a view to nesting in it.
No not the Rhinoceros Hornbill but the tree its making its nest in! This tree, made from an early 'Nigelite' mix is still going strong at Chester Zoo after 16 years of continuous use. The tree was made By Nigel and his father Derry George back in 1993 along with two others, one of which, pictured below, was for a pair of Rare Wrinkled Hornbills. The birds had been kept at Chester Zoo for four years without out successfully rearing young. Once the father and son duo had completed the sculpted nesting tree the following season the pair of Wrinkled Hornbills produced four chicks. This was a first captive breeding for the species in the UK and one of the teams early successes with positive environmental enrichment.
One of the Wrinkled Hornbill with our tree behind.
Tuesday 20th October
Nigel George speaks at the Times Education Suppliment's Special Needs Conference in London
Our team leader Nigel George was invited to speak at the TES Special Needs Conference about the Dragon project at St George's School last Saturday. Nigel spoke for an hour about their involvement in the education centre on the Isle of Wight and afterwards had some very positive feed back from delegates.
Tuesday 20th October
New seat planter sponsored by the British Lions
Dave Badman tries out our seat
Our new seat planter complete with a 150 year Olive Tree is now finished and in place.
The seat/planter features sculpted 'Nigelite' stone walls and central pot with wooden seating. Whilst we had to use new timber for the seating part, the rest is made from recycled materials including the metal bike racks we removed from the Foyer garden project a few weeks ago.
Dave recycles stuff to make the armature
A big thanks the British Lions who sponsored the sculpted seat for St George's School.
Friday 9th October
MEDINA HOUSING ASSOCIATION 'ART PARK' CONSULTATIONS UNDERWAY
It's one down two to go with our latest round of public consultation events working with Medina Housing Association. Community members came to see us last week so that we could sqeeze out their creative juices during a design workshop centred around the first of three unique 'Art Parks' being planned for the Isle of Wight. Some amazing interactive sculptures where conceived during the consultation session held at the Carnival Centre in Ryde on the Isle of Wight. Tomorrows session will be at the Riverside centre in Newport also on the Island, a third public consultation will be held in East Cowes next week.
We're really excited about this project as it appears to be a first in the UK for this kind of scheme. Not only will residence help to design the interactive artworks but they'll also help us to make them as well.
"A lot hinges on a funding bid that we've applied for, if successful we'll enable us to deliver the three projects in their entirity, so we've got everything crossed that they like our plan" Said EG sculptor Spike Oatley today.
Friday 2th October
DRAGON JETTY PROJECT WELL UNDERWAY
As part of the latest zone at our Dragon project we're building a wooden jetty that will enable students and visitors of all abilities to view the local countryside and spot birds and other wildlife. The Jetty is being built with help from the Awards For All funding initiative and sponsorship from Isle of Wight Zoo. The birdwathing Jetty is part of our latest development in the Dragon grounds, this new zone is called the Mediteranean Garden.
The Med Garden under construction
Tuesday 29th September
FOYER GARDEN OFFICIALLY OPENED
Today we saw our landscape project at the Ryde Foyer officially opened by High Sherrif Gay Edwards.
Monday 28th September
Mediterranean Garden starts to take shape
The plot at St George's School before and during work
We're back at St George's School working with students and staff on the latest zone at the Dragon project, this time we're creating a mediterranean garden. Watch this space for updates on how thing are coming along. For more about Dragon click on the link http://www.stgeorgesdragon.com/
Monday 28th September
Experimental mix seems to be a success
Left iron rich spoil sand and right tradional builders sand.
Once again we seem to have found a use for something that no-one else wants!
This time it's 'spoil sand', the sand is tradionally cast aside as it has no value to the building trade....we managed to get our hands on some and have developed a sculpting medium that involves its use. EG technician Rich Murphy said " It makes a fantastic mix and the colour is amazing".
Friday 18th September
NATIONAL PLAYBUILDER PROGRAMME
Young Chester George leaps from our hand made rocks.
Things are hotting up nicely with interest coming from the Isle of Wight and Hampshire for our input into the national PlayBuilder scheme. We're really excited by this new strand of work as it has so much in common with our established zoological enrichment work. The PlayBuilder strategy puts an emphasis on more risky and natural play and this is of course right up our street.
Nigel George said " We're looking forward to using our twenty years plus of experience in creating stimulating playgrounds for animals like tigers and sharks to now do the same for the cleverest of the apes, the human beings"
Friday 11th September
OUR DRAGON IS 'INSPIRATIONAL' SAYS OFSTED.
Take a look at St George's School's latest Ofsted report to see what they say about our on going creative education project called Dragon. We'd like to congratulate everyone at St George's on their 'Oustanding' inspection grade.
Thursday 10th September
Lovely new make-over for our old ammonite seat.
After five years of being outside the Isle of Wights Dinosaur Isle Museum and getting jumped on, climbed on, sat on and blasted by salty sea winds, we decided it was time to give our old ammonite site a lovely new sculpted skin. It's now as good as new again and ready to be jumped on, climbed on, sat on and blasted by the salty sea wind all over again.
Monday 7th September
The East meets West team who created the stone piece in East Cowes.
A PROJECT to build a metaphorical bridge between Cowes and East Cowes has started with a new piece of sculptural art.
It was created in Well Road, East Cowes, by A-level art students from Cowes High School.
Public artists Eccleston George (EG) are delivering the project, working with students from East and West Cowes on two pieces of permanent public art.
"People said east and west Cowes were divided by more than just a river, it seems there is a social divide, bigger than the river, that separates the two towns. We thought it would be interesting to find out what’s going on and use public art as a tool to do that," said team leader Nigel George.
Students Charlie Day, Meganne Hale, Tim Scott, Caroline Thorn, Kirsti Watts, Anna Willis and art teacher Liza O’Shea worked alongside professional artists from EG to conceive, design and sculpt the original artwork, which can now be seen near the Red Funnel terminal.
"Phase two is very ambitious, as it involves the students from Cowes High delivering a similar project to students of Osborne Middle School," said EG technician Darren Brazer.
"We’ll be on hand to help but it’s their job to build a bridge with the kids at Osborne Middle and then take back to West Cowes a design for another piece of sculptural art, twinned with the finished one in East Cowes," he said.
In East Cowes, the project attracted the attention of developers Clancy Docwra, which donated all the materials and supplied barriers to keep the work safe at night.
Wednesday 2nd September
'Music from the Heart' in post production.
Studio Luka's Rob Holmes (left) and our own Rich Murphy
We we're all over at the amazing Studio Luka yesterday to run our 'Music from the Heart' project through the post production process. The concept album was put together by students of Bridgemary Community School during a week long residency with us. EG team members Spike Oatley, Rich Murphy and Jules Nelson also 'laid down' a recording of Spike's own song Paper Aeroplane's which will be included in the finished album.
Our own Julsie lays down some drums Spike, Rich and Jules receive some help from Rob
It was fascinating to visit Studio Luka and see the extraordinary mix of old and new technology being used side by side to create some really amazing sounds. Brothers Rob and Jim Holmes, who also front the band 'The Jackson Analogue' are making a real success out of the studio that they have built, and now run, themselves. They've recently worked with Tom Jones amongst many others and told me yesterday they are booked pretty much solid with production work and their own music projects.
Rob at the helm of his beautiful mixing desk
We're really keen to work more with the Holmes brothers and have talked to them about the possibility of them making the studio available to us and our music education projects. They've even offered to get involved with a project we're currently working towards which will see us work with students to build a recording studio in their own school.
The 'Music from the Heart' album will be complete and ready to send to the students of Bridgemary school by next week.
Saturday 22nd August 09
Ryde Foyer project finished.
Resedents take part in our landscape project
Yesterday brought the final day of our community landscape project at a young peoples sheltered housing facility in Ryde. We've spent ten days transforming an unused outside space by turning it into an area the residents can use for a variety of outdoor activities.
Pulhamite style rockwork Rich Murphy works on a Nutshell seat
The project features sculpted 'Pulhamite' style rockwork, a bespoke hand sculpted patio and earth cast Nutshell seating.
We're hoping this will be the first in a series of projects that we'll work on at the Foyer, a meeting is being planned with staff and residents so that we can discuss the next phase of scheme.
Team EG put there feet up at the end of phase one
Monday 17th August 09
Eccleston George booked for Pulhamite demonstration
Dave Badman works on a Pulhamesqe standing stone
We're really pleased to have been asked to demonstrate our techniques at a traditional crafts event to be held on the Isle of Wight in October. Event organisers from the West Wight Landscape Partnership have spotted our link with Victorian landscapers James Pulham and Sons and asked us to talk about and demonstrate what we do. We're really excited about getting involved as it's the first time we've been asked to take part in this kind of heritage event. We'll let you know more as soon as we know more ourselves.
Monday 17th August 09
LANDSCAPE CHANGES FOR THE FOYER
Our own Darren Brazer tests out the rock seating
We're half way through our landscape project at the Ryde Foyer. So far we've created rockwork seating and five Nutshell seats. This week we'll start on the sculpted floor area. The brief has been to design and create an area for the young residence to chill and chat.
Nutshell seats in construction
Wednesday 27th July 09
FOYER PROJECT LINED UP FOR AUGUST
We'll be joining the young people at the Ryde Foyer for a two week art, sculpture and landscape residency during August. The task in hand will be to work with the young people to create an interesting and useable outdoor area for the Foyer itself.
We'll let you know how it's going once things get going.
Friday 23rd July 09
WHAT AN INTERESTING WEEK!
It's certainly been interesting, this week has seen us touring the Island with Medina Housing Association and Groundwork Solent to look at three public park spaces that are currently in line for upgrading and enhancing. We met with locals to discuss their ideas and introduced ourselves and what we do and talked about how we might work with them to design and build their own sculptural landscape features in their own parks. Feedback was very good and as a result of the positivity of the people we met we're going to work with Medina Housing to apply for an Arts Council grant to take the project forward.
This week we also met for the first time the team of prisoners we'll be working with on our unusual prison grounds development project. We were a little nervous about the meeting before hand but quickly found that the prisoner team is very keen to get going and excited about working with us on a project that will see the constuction of a sculptural relaxation garden. This project is a totally new kind of collaborative project for both parties and HM Prisons is watching closely to see how it progresses over the coming months.
Friday 17th July 09
DRAGON BIRTHDAY PARTY GOES WITH A SWING.
Charlotte Corney cuts the Dragon birthday cake
A fantastic day was had by all at St George's School as we all celebrated one whole year of our Dragon outdoor learning project. Director of the Isle of Wight Zoo, Charlotte Corney officially opened the celebration by cutting a birthday cake and reading out a message from dragon's patron Springwatch presenter Chris Packham. His message read...........
I'm sorry I can't be with you all today to help celebrate all the Dragon projects successes . All the progress with the various zones is very exciting , willow classrooms , dinosaur digs and the great plans for the geodesic dome to explore climate change are fantastic...... But best of all is that you are all able to be so involved and that now you are having other young people visit your school and enjoying all your hard work too . I hope you all have a good day and hope to see you again soon .
Loads of people turned up including the owner of Solar Domes Ltd, the whole Eccleston George team and the Isle of Wight High Sheriff Gay Edwards.
There were loads of activities including a visit from the local Fire Brigade and live music from The Wild Oats.
In September work begins on the next Dragon Zone, The Mediterranean Gardens. So watch this space!
Monday 13th July 09
BIRTHDAY FESTIVAL FOR OUR DRAGON PROJECT
Wednesday 15th July is the day we'll celebrate the first successful year of our Dragon project at St George's School on the Isle of Wight. It should be great day for everyone involved and a wonderful opportunity for the students of St George's to show off all their hard work.
The school recently won the Arts Council of England's Gold Arts Mark Award and Dragon was described by an OFSTED investigator as 'truly inspirational'
The project is now in it's second year and looks set to become even bigger and even more exciting in the next 12 months.
So there's lots to celebrate with the kids of St George's on Wednesday.
Friday 10th July 09
Phase one of 'East meets West' complete
Work begins at East Cowes
We at Eccleston George can't remember a project that has caught the public's imagination and attention as much as this one. Maybe it's the location of the project, perhaps it's the design of the artwork itself or maybe it's the fact that a group of A Level art students have been working hard all week on the wall sculpture dressed in white foresic scientist style boiler suits!.....the truth is it's probably all of the above, one thing is for sure, the people of East Cowes really like their latest piece of public art.
'East meets West' is an on-going art project that is addressing the issue of the physical and social divide between the two towns of East and West Cowes. Students from West Cowes have been working with us to design and make the first of two site specific public artworks, one in East Cowes the other in West Cowes. The group from Cowes High School have gone through the same commissioning process that we always have to adhere to in our proffessional roles....they've worked with us to conceived the ideas for the artwork, worked on scale drawings and full size plans and actually worked for five days on the sculptural bas-relief mural itself.
We're really pleased by way they've responded to the original brief and with the way they've worked on site on the mural. They should be justly proud of their efforts, we are certainly proud of them for what they have acheived.
We're very grateful to Clancy Docwra who showed great community spirit by jumping in and helping us out from the start of the project (see story below), we're hoping at Eccleston George that this will be the start of a great relationship with the company and look forward to talking to them soon about other projects we have in the pipieline.
For a full photo diary of this project click on the Blog Photostream at the top right of this page.
Wednesday 8th July 09
CLANCY DOCWRA TO THE RESCUE
The boys from Clancy Docwra deliver a ton of donated sand.
A huge thanks to Clancy Docwra from us all working on the East meets West public art project, they donated materials and saftey barriers for project at our Well Road site in East Cowes.
Thanks to their generosity and the hard work of the Cowes High School students, the project is coming along fantastically well.
More about this very soon.
Monday 6th July 09
3 days at Brighstone Primary School
Late last week we had a call from the Head teacher of Brighstone Primary School asking for our help. The school is working with the lovely people at the West Wight Landscape Partnership on a school grounds improvement project and wanted to know if we could work with the pupils to come up with a plan for a couple of plots that needed developing. We had just three spare days available to try and fulfil the brief and so last Wednesday we went in to school and announced our arrival at the school assembly. After the assembly the children immediatley jumped in to action and worked on lots of ideas in the form of drawings and designs.
'Boney Bay' and a standing stone were the result of the children's brainstorming sessions and so with just two and a half days remaining we set to work.
The Boney Bay plot before work started.
Using recycled materials one again, we set about creating the features that the children wanted.
At the same time as Boney Bay was being made, the Eccleston George team set about constructing the schools very own Neolithic standing stone.
By Friday both projects were complete, on time and on budget.
We were really impressed with the lovely village school, it's staff and it's students and we hope to return to Brighstone Primary in the near future to work with them again.
"We think it's superb...........hope you'll be back!"
Linda Cahill Head Teacher
Monday 29th June 09
Youth Opportunities Fund Bid Success
Fund bid presentation in progress
Congratulations to our A Level Art student designers from Cowes High School who made a fantastic presentation to the YOF panel and successfully secured funds for their 'East meets West' sculpture project.
The student team beautifully pitched their bid to a large panel made up of teenage YOF representatives who in turn contacted them the next day to say that their bid had been successful.
Phase 1 of the 'East meets West' project starts on the 6th of July in East Cowes and will see the Cowes High student team work with us on the first bas relief mural that they have designed.
Monday 29th June 09
AWARD WINNING SCULPTURE WINS SCHOOL £1000
A sculpture designed by a special needs student has taken first place in a national competition. We worked alongside students at St George's Special Needs School to create the amazing sculpture which is based on the shape of a daffodil.
Spike Oatley puts the finishing touches the award winning sculpture.
The sculpture is made from recycled materials (three tractor tyres and reclaimed timber) and our own special sculpting medium.
Staff and pupils are thrilled to bits to have taken the first prize in the B&Q daffodil planter competition and we have to say that we're pretty chuffed too. Congratulations to Cameron who designed the sculpture and helped to make it with the Eccleston George Team.
Friday 19th June 09
EAST MEETS WEST
We'll attempt to draw together two disperate towns on the Isle of Wight next month when we work with students from Cowes High School in West Cowes and Osbourne Middle School in East Cowes on a very special public art project.
Once again this will be a new kind of project for us as we'll be working with A level art students for the first time. We're really looking forward to this one and have high expectations about the quality of the work that will result from the project.
Funds have been already been secured for phase one (East Cowes bas relief sculpture) and next week our own Team Leader Nigel George will accompany two students from Cowes High to a meeting to try and secure the rest of the funding in order to complete the West Cowes side of the plan. The 'Dragons Den' style presentation will be made by students to an esteemed panel from the Youth Opportunities Fund and will take place next Thursday in Newport on the Isle of Wight.
Saturday 13th June 09
School Music Project a thumping success
"I thought you made some amazing music with the kids...that most of all they enjoyed and will remember forever."
Thomas Web music teacher
"I've found it really inspirational ...........teaching at its best"
Head of Art Conor Devinne
EG TEAM : Nigel George, Spike Oatley, Rich Murphy, Julian Nelson, Peter Ellis and Theo Ellis.
We had a blast with this our first bespoke music project. Music, song writing, performance and recording were all part of the week long programme. We worked in maths and English lessons as well as PE (maraca relay & shouting 100m sprint, all recorded of course). We're really pleased with how it went and we're all looking forward to our next even more ambitious project with Bridgemary Community Sports College which we're planning with them now......watch this space!
Saturday 6th June 09
Butterfly Magic Unveiled
Above; Dr David Bellamy and Emilia Fox at the official opening of Butterfly World in St Alban's.
We've just got back from the opening of the gigantic Butterfly World project in St Albans. The butterfly conservation centre was officially opened by it's patrons, actress Emilia Fox and Dr David Bellamy, both of them praised the project's founder Clive Farrell and congratulated him on bringing to fruition phase 1 of his extraordinary butterfly dream.
A South American Morpho butterfly stops on our snake path to take in salts from the Nigelite.
For us it was great to see our own work neatly nestled in amongst the whimsical landscaping of Butterfly World's lead garden designer Ivan Hicks and it was especially gratifying to see that our 30 metre sculpted snake pathway, that wriggles it's way through the temporary butterfly house, was given new life by a myriad of bejewelled tropical butterflies from all over the world. Us EG boys cooed like broody aunties over a newborn baby at the sight of iridescent Morpho Butterflies flip-flopping their lazy flight just centimetres above our snake pathway, then alighting on it to partake of the salts to be found in the 'Nigelite' medium from which the snake path is made.
Planters by Eccleston George, planting by Ivan Hicks
Eccleston George team leader Nigel George managed to meet Clive Farrell for a fleeting handshake and briefest of conversations before Clive was snatched away by a bevy of fans wanting photos with the man behind the worlds biggest butterfly house project. It was the first time in twenty six years that the two men had met face to face...see the story from 17th May, below. During their brief conversation Clive thanked Nigel and the team for our efforts and said that on the strength of what he has seen so far he has many more projects in the pipeline for Eccleston George.
Thursday 28th May 09
‘It was amazing, I would like them to come back and make a CD with us’- Jordan- (year 8 student) Bridgemary Community School.
....And that's exactly what we're going to do Jordan, because on the 8th of June we're heading back to Bridgemary Community School to deliver an 'all singing, all dancing' week of music making and recording workshops. We've put together a top class team of musicians and song writers which include Julian Nelson, Rich Murphy, Spike Oatley and Pete Ellis and they'll work with various groups of students to produce some musical works of art.
The project comes off the back of our 'Art for the Heart' mural project that we worked on with Bridgemary earlier in the year. As part of the project we stumbled in to doing a couple of impromptu music sessions, these turned out to be so popular that we've been asked to go back and do a bespoke music project with the school.
Bridgemary's Music Teacher, Tom Webb, had this to say about our brief collaboration with him last time....
Eccleston George worked with a group of year 8 students at Bridgemary Community Sports College in their timetabled music lesson. It was very positive to see the engagement of the students within the lesson. The class were able to participate with all the activities throughout the lesson irrespective of ability or previous musical experience. Students were given the chance to lead their group in a percussion activity and many did this while the others improved upon some valuable ensemble skills.
My students say….
‘It was brilliant…next time I would like to get involved, and play the drum kit’-Shannon-(year 8 student)
I‘t was amazing, I would like them to come back and make a CD with us’-Jordan-(year 8 student)
‘I had fun today…I would like to do it again. When you are next back here I would like to play other instruments’-Heather-(year 8 student)
Tuesday 26th May 09
Busy Busy Busy!
Crumbs, we've got busy week ahead of us next week, on Monday the 1st and Tuesday the 2nd June we're at St George's School on the Isle of Wight to carry on on work at our Dragon learning centre project, Wednesday the 3rd we're of to Carisbrooke Castle at the request of English Heritage for the official opening of their new garden by celebrity gardener Chris Beardshaw, then on Thursday the 4th we shoot up to St Alban's for the official opening of the Butterfly World project and then on Friday we're back on the Isle of Wight for the start of our prison garden project where we'll mark out the landscape design on site......That's a busy week by anyone's standards,and it doesn't end there either because on Saturday the 6th and Sunday the 7th we're at Brading Roman Villa for the BBC Breathing Places 'Dirty Weekend' event, then straight after that there'll be just enough time to load the van up with musical instruments and recording paraphernalia ready for a week long music project at Bridgemary Community School in Gosport. Crumbs indeed!
Sunday 17th May 09
ECCLESTON GEORGE AT 'FUTURE GARDENS' AND THE WORLDS BIGGEST BUTTERFLY HOUSE IN THE MAKING.
By our team leader Nigel George.
Above : Two of the incredible landscape features at Butterfly World.
When I first visited the colossal Butterfly World site at St Alban's back in January 09, the first thing that struck me was the extraordinary scale of the project. It was, at that stage, the biggest muddy hole I had ever seen in my life. I was there at the request of Senior Commercial Director Angela Harkness and it was she that expertly navigated the giant mud-bath in a 4x4 so that I could get a closer look. She took the time to explain the project plan to me and I discovered that as part of that plan much of the site would be open to visitors this coming June under the name of Future Gardens. Future Gardens would involve well known garden designers from all over the place and would feature several 'Chelsea' style show gardens for visitor to see...... based on the moonscape she was showing me at the time it looked and sounded like an impossible task.
We parted company that day full of enthusiasm for an Eccleston George involvement in their Butterfly World scheme and I was eager to get back to the Island to tell the EG team about the place and how its development appeared to be right up our street, I knew they'd be excited about getting involved too and of course I was right about that. For me personally there was another reason that I wanted in on this particular project, I had a score to settle and this project was about to give me a chance do exactly that.
In 1983 when I was just 17 years old, my dad - Derek George, came up with the wonderfully hair-brained idea of us building our own butterfly farm. After approximately five minutes of family discussion the decision was made to re-mortgage our family home in order to finance the scheme. Dad had spoken to a local garden centre owner who agreed to let us use two old wooden greenhouses as a start for our new family business. In May 1983 myself, my brother, my sister and my parents started work on converting the two old greenhouses into one single structure.
Left: The greenhouse before convertion. Right: Newspaper cutting from 1983.
By the time the following winter came around the work was completed and as spring approached the last bits of landscaping and planting were finished inside and preparations were made for the arrival of hundreds of tropical butterflies. Unbeknown to us there existed a sort of 'butterfly mafia', this group of individuals appeared to be hell bent on monopolising the butterfly house industry in the UK and when they heard about our little project on the south coast of England they put pressure on suppliers not to supply us with the all important pupae that would kick-start our butterfly project. After the story was aired on local television news, a chap called Clive Farrell, then owner of the London Butterfly House, came forward with an offer of help. With Clive's assistance The Solent Butterfly House opened it's doors in spring 1984 with a wonderful display of tropical butterflies .......this then was the start of my own creative journey, a long and convoluted road that would eventually lead to the formation of the Eccleston George arts collective over twenty years later.
Clive Farrell is the man behind the Butterfly World project in St Albans, so when the call came from his team I knew what I had to do. The people at Butterfly World didn't know who I was until I told them and when the EG boys recently went up to do our first project on site (I stayed at home as my wife had just had a baby), I was pleased and suprised to hear that when they met Clive he said he remembered me and my family. By subsidising the cost of the two projects we've just completed for the Butterfly World project, at last I've been able to pay back Clive with some of the kindness he showed my family all those years ago.......and there's much much more we can do for him, my 26 year journey from Solent Butterfly House to Eccleston George has yielded some juicy fruit in terms of contacts, expertise and experience, I think of it as my Eccleston George apprenticeship, so now if Clive's wants to exploit his estranged protégé then that's fine by me!
Left:The Eccleston George team and right; some detail of their work in the new butterfly house.
Our latest trip to the St Alban's site was to created an ornate pathway through Butterfly Worlds temporary butterfly house, this wooden structure is not disimilar to the one my family worked on all those years ago and it all seemed very fitting somehow to be back making preperations for visitors to come and see some of natures most beautiful tropical insects going about their daily lives.
Now I'm pleased to say that somehow or other the huge workforce at the St Alban's site has managed to acheive the impossible by turning it from that big muddy hole I saw in Jan into the most incredible garden experience your likely to see anywhere in the UK, we hope to spend a great deal of time at the project as it continues to be developed over the next few years and I certainly urge everyone to visit it as soon as it opens to the public next month......take it from me you won't be disappointed.
Find out more about the amazing Butterfly World and Future Gardens project here.
Friday 8th May 09
EG TEAM ASKED TO RETURN TO BUTTERFLY WORLD
Off the back of our last successful project at Butterfly World in St Albans, we've been asked to rush back and do another project for them. This time we're being commissioned to complete an ornate sculpted floor/pathway for their temporary tropical butterfly exhibit. This temporary butterfly house will stand for about two years and give visitors a taste of what's to come when the enormous 100m tropical dome is completed.
The sculpted floor will be in the style of a giant snake winding it's way through the tropical house.
Friday 1st May
The boys have finished the Job at Butterfly World, I've just spoken to the Landscape Designer Ivan Hicks and he's delighted with the results. Take a look here to see some very fine photos by our man Julian Winslow.
Good progress made at Butterfly World
Today we spoke to Spike Oatley whose our man leading the EG team in St Alban's about the project there and I pleased to say that he's told us that after a dodgy start on Monday, because of torrential rain, the sculpture project is now back on track. The teams task is to transform ten plain concrete planters into sculptural works of art for the extraordinary Butterfly World project in Hertfordshire. They had just five days (two to go) to complete the project so we're hoping that they won't have to suffer any more rain.
EG START AT BUTTERFLY WORLD TODAY.
Today's the day the we sent a four man team to the gigantic Butterfly World project in St Albans to work with landscaper Ivan Hicks. The weather hasn't been good and we haven't heard back from the team yet about the first day's progess, as soon a we do you'll be the first to know how it's going.
Friday 19th April
School music project gets the green light.
Above right: Our own Rich Murphy during his days with Jamiroquai alongside Jay Kay (left).
We're just in the process of putting the finishing touches to our programme of events for our forthcoming music project at Bridgemary Community School in Gosport. We had received word that the school was keen to work with us again after our successful collaboration with them earlier in the year when we worked on an amazing sculpture project in the school grounds.
The music project will be based around the same 'healthy living' theme as the sculpture and will challenge students to write and record their own songs with our professional musicans, Rich Murphy and Julian Nelson,... musician/sculptor Spike Oatley and team leader Nigel George will join them to help deliver the five day programme.
The project will end with a live peformance in the school grounds featuring the student's new songs and those of Spike's band The Wild Oats.
You can listen to some tracks from Spikes band 'The Wild Oats' by clicking the links below. The songs were recorded at the BBC's Live Lounge studio in Brighton last year.
BBC LIVE LOUNGE RECORDINGS
Read the article about The Wild Oats on the BBC website here
Friday 19th April
Isle of Wight County Press Article Today
Creatures great and small made solid
Darren Brazer mulches old newspapers as the first stage in the creation of sculptures like this bug, which is now gracing the grounds of St George’s School, Newport.
THOSE landscape artists at Eccleston George munch County Presses to make landscape features.
The CP has been used to make in all manner of unlikely forms which can be seen all over the country.
And it is not beyond the enthusiastic amateur to make their own rock-solid garden structures from soggy CPs.
It’s 18-year-old technician Darren Brazer’s job to use old issues to make the special mix that has created this bug at Newport’s St George’s School.
The boys on the team now call it Nigelite after E-G team leader Nigel George, who has adapted the Pulhamite fake rock invention of the great Victorian, James Pulham, to make incredible garden and landscape structures.
The giant caterpillar/seat sculpture has been made for a project that is designed to enhance a small area of woodland within the Dragon learning centre area at St George’s.
Nigel said: “We’ve worked with students for more than three weeks to make the area usable for everyone at the school, so we’ve built pathways for wheelchair users, created bug hotels, bumble bee apartments, beetle estates and much, much more.
“Bardon Vectis donated 32 tonnes of surfacing material to put down on the pathways and the amazing Green Gym helped us to move and lay it in just three hours. Unbelievable.
“The project, sponsored by Bardon Vectis, the AONB Partnership and ourselves, enables wheelchair users at the school for the first time to use the woodland trail, just like the rest of the kids in the school.
“Dragon is really taking off. We had a visit from the Arts Council’s Arts Mark Award Scheme representative and he said that he’s seen nothing else like it in any school in the UK and added it was the best outdoor school project he had ever seen.
“Our fingers are crossed for a Gold Arts Mark award. I’ve been asked to talk about Dragon at this year’s Times Educational Supplement special needs seminar in London, so word and interest is starting to spread and the potential of Dragon is being realised by others across the UK.
“http://www.stgeorgesdragon.com/ has more information about Dragon, whose patron is naturalist Chris Packham.
The boys are now planning their latest flight of fancy in St Albans, working with landscaper Ivan Hicks.
It’s an enormous Eden Project-size scheme - see butterfly-world.org/ for more details. Take a look at the website, it’s quite extraordinary.
When it’s up and running the real thing will be well worth a visit, too.
Saturday 4th April
BBC 'BREATHING PLACES' PROJECT OFFICIALLY OPENED
Top: Nigel George & Dave Badman prepair for the opening.
Above left: Nigel shows Alan Tichmarsh a photo record of the project. Above right: One of artist Dave Badman's beautiful hand made signs.
It's been an extraordinary colaborative project between ourselves, Brading Roman Villa, St George's School, St Johns Primary School, Newchurch Primary School and Brading Primary School and today saw the official opening and recognition of everyones hard work on the new 'Medusa's Wildlife Meadow'. Crowds of people turned up to see BBC TV presenter and Gardener Alan Titchmarsh declare the meadow open to visitors. The project has been delivered and co-ordinated by us and was funded by the 'Breathing Places' fund and the Extended Schools programme.
Alan Titchmarsh formally opens the meadow project.
The meadow project set out to create a haven for wildlife and people alike, local children and families worked with us to make pathways, seating, birdbaths, ponds and bug hotels. The layout for the meadow design is based on the head of Medusa, who appears in the mosaics of the 2000 year old Roman Villa that is on the same site.
Above: The Meadow plan by students of St George's Special Needs School.
Friday 3rd April 2009
NEW MIX DEVELOPED FOR PUBLIC REALM PROJECTS
Above: Rich Murphy makes the new improved sculpting medium
Whilst we've suffered no signifigant damage to any of our works, through wear and tear or vandalism, we recently decided to go back to the drawing-board and develop a new improved sculpting medium specifically for public realm projects. We decided that of all the different venues we work in, sculptures in the public realm need to be the toughest of all, and as we're constantly pushing into new areas of work and consequently asking more and more of the medium we work with, we thought it could only strengthen our position as public artists to upgrade our own sculpting medium.
The new mix still contains a great deal of recycled newspaper and is now tougher than ever, we're also really pleased with its enhanced 'sculptability'.
Friday 27th March 2009
WE REALLY DIG OUR DINOSAUR
After three years of use at the Dragon centre being buried and dug up over and over again, this week saw us give the dino dig a bit of a makeover. We dug up the replica Neovenator dinosaur and found that suprisingly it was in pretty good shape inspite of the fact that it has been heavily used by students and visitors since it was made, we just needed to give it a bit of TLC here and there to bring it up to scratch. We reckon that this is the first time the fossil has been completely exposed from end to end since it was buried three years ago.
Above: Rich Murphy and Spike Oatley carry out repairs and renewals to the dinosaur skeleton.
Above: The amazing movie that explaines how the dinosaur died. Made by students of St George's school with the help of their art technician Lisa Murphy.
Fiday 27th March 2009
MEET MALCOLM THE CATERPILLAR
Yes this is Malcolm the caterpillar and he's the latest addition to the woodland project at Dragon. Named by students at St George's School, Malcom is ten feet long and seats about twelve students at time.
Above left : Malc can seat at least twelve kids. Our own Nigel with Malc....Nigel's on the right!
Malcolm is made from recycled materials and our special 'Nigelite' sculpting medium and takes pride of place in the woodland picnic area that we are working on at the moment.
Friday 20th March 2009
GREEN GYM LEND DRAGON SOME MUSCLE
The incredible 'Green Gym' team has paid a visit to the Dragon centre this week and provided some serious muscle power by moving a massive twenty tones of Type 1 gravel in just three hours! We we're dumb-struck at their awesome ability to organise themselves and carry out an almost impossible feat of man power when they not only moved but also layed as new pathways the mountain of Type 1 limestone gravel in the Dragon woodland. We're all very grateful for their extraordinary collective effort. Thanks to everyones hard work, for the first time ever wheelchair users at St Georges Special Needs School now have complete access to the woodland trail in the Dragon Centre.
Above: Some of the newly laid pathways in the Dragon woodland.
This project is part of our on-going commitment to the Dragon project at St George's school on the Isle of Wight. The Woodland Zone is a new learning area that we are working with students from St Georges School to develop. This amazing project is being carried out in partnership with the AONB and Bardon Vectis.
Friday 13th March 2009
AREA OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY
Flowering willow on the outdoor classroom at Dragon.
This week we're back at one of our favorite projects of all time. It is of course Dragon at St George's School on the Isle of Wight and this time we're partnered by the lovely people at the AONB and Bardon Vectis in a woodland enhancement project in the Dragon centre grounds. The scheme is shaping up nicely and has involved several school trips to various AONB sites as well as all the design, construction and interpretation work in the Dragon woodland itself.
Steve Burton guides the Dragon team around the Bardon Vectis quarry which is sited on AONB land.
One very interesting Dragon outing was a visit to the Bardon Vectis quarry site which happens to be on AONB land. Steve Burton from Bardon spent over an hour with our own team and the students from Dragon and gave us a most memorable visit. We were all fascinated by the guided tour Steve provided for us and as a result we all definatley want to go back again. Bardon Vectis are very kindly helping the Dragon project by donating materials from the quarry.
We'll keep you updated with progress at the Dragon site, so watch this space.
Monday 9th March 2009
NIGEL GEORGE BOOKED FOR LONDON SEMINAR
Oh dear, we'll never live it down because once again our very own Team Leader and legendary maker of hot air, Nigel George, has been booked speak at an Education seminar in London!
Nigel, whose belief in creative education is second only to his passion for the natural world, will talk (and boy can he talk) to telegates about St George's Special Needs School on the Isle of Wight and specifically about the Dragon project which he and the rest of the EG team have been instrumental in setting up in the school grounds. The seminar is organised by TSL Events, publishers of The Times Educational Suppliment, and will be held in London on the 16th and 17th October this year.
Monday 9th March 2009
SPANGLE GALL COMMISSION GETS GREEN LIGHT
Above: Silk Button Spangle Galls
Yes we've heard today that Head Garden Designer of the gigantic Butterfly World project in St Albans, Ivan Hicks, has given us the go-ahead to create ten huge plant containers based on the Oak Spangle Gall. For those who don't know, a gall is a strange 'organised' growth found mainly on Oak trees. The amazing thing about these strange formations is that they're caused by tiny parasitic insects, wasps to be precise. The tiny wasp creates the gall to feed its young grubs by injecting a chemical in to the tree which causes it to produce the amazing fruit like things seen in the photo above. Each wasp produces a different kind of gall, so if you know your galls you can identify the wasp that made it.
Nigel George introduces Ivan Hicks to the Eccleston George way and Ivan gets inspiration for his giant planters.
After seeing our work here on the Island Ivan was really keen to get us up to the Hertfordshire site and start some sculptural work for him. It looks like we'll be on our way in late April. We'll let you know how it goes.
Thursday 5th March 2009
DRAGON'S APRIL MEETING AGENDA
We thought you might like to see the agenda from yesterdays monthly Dragon board meeting. We think it's a thing of beauty and wish all agenda's looked this good. For those who don't know, Dragon is an education project based at St George's Special Needs School on the Isle of Wight, we've been instumental in its setting up and are contuing to work on its ongoing development. http://www.stgeorgesdragon.com/ will explain all about it.
Thursday 5th March 2009
Eccleston George team work with youth offenders
Back during the halfterm we worked with a group of young offenders who helped us to create some sculptures for the East Cowes 'No Barriers' project. It was an interesting project for us and new territory for the Youth Offending Team , we're now hoping to work with them again in the future on more projects of a similar sort. The idea behind this kind of scheme is to give some positive direction to young people who have, for one reason or another, found themselves on the wrong side of the law and as we discovered the stories behind some of the young people that we met are not always as staight-forward as you might think.
One thing is for sure this lot were a creative bunch as you can see from the photos above.
Saturday 28th Feb
Hoarding talent not kept under wraps
Copyright Isle of Wight County Press 2009
By Matt White
Tara Colebrook, 11, with her artwork. Pictures by Laura Holme. BORING hoardings in East Cowes have been given a makeover, following an art project to brighten up the town.
No Barriers was designed to engage young people in street art, to help tackle graffiti in the area.
Concerns had been raised by residents in East Cowes about potential areas targeted for graffiti, particularly the blue hoardings at Well Road and Church Path.
|Josh Reynolds, 16, with one of his pieces of art.|
It prompted the Isle of Wight Council’s environment and neighbourhood officer, Gill Mulcahy, to come up with the scheme, to tackle the problem of graffiti in a proactive way.
The effort was part of an initiative set up by the South-East England Development Agency (SEEDA) and Island 2000 to use the temporary hoardings around East Cowes as a community gallery.
The artwork has been produced by pupils at Osborne Middle School, plus members of East Cowes Pavilion, LJ’s Youth Club and the youth offending team.
Artists from Eccleston George have been running workshops for the youngsters, helping them with ideas and providing materials.
“We have been instilling the fact graffiti is a crime by encouraging the young artists to embrace street art and this work will make the area much brighter,” said Nigel George, of Eccleston George.
The workshops at Osborne Middle School were so popular, some pupils had to be turned away.
One youngster, 12-year-old Megan Griffiths, was lucky enough to be involved.
“It was great fun and I really enjoyed being able to create this work, which I hope people will like,” she said.
Tara Colebrook, 11, who attends East Cowes Pavilion, was thrilled with her painting of a sea creature.
“It looks really cool with all the other artwork on the hoardings,” she said.
Friday 27th Feb
BRIDGEMARY PROJECT FINISHES EVERYONE IS DELIGHTED WITH THE RESULTS.
Teachers, students and ourselves are really pleased with the way this project has gone and everyone agrees that the end result of all the hard work is amazing. When you included all the design work, maquettes and sculptures made in the classroom, the finished bas-relief sculpture represents about half of the artistic work that has been generated by the project. We think the students of Bridgemary should be very proud of their efforts over the last three weeks and we're really pleased that they're so happy with it.
We are looking forward to continuing with this Creative Partnerships work at the school in the near future, next time on a music project.
See below for more info about this school project.
Saturday 7th Feb 2009
CREATIVE PARTERSHIPS AT BRIDGEMARY COMMUNITY SPORTS COLLEGE OFF TO A FLYING START.......EVENTUALLY!
LEFT : Students join the Eccleston George team on the main wall sculpture and RIGHT: Rich Murphy and Spike Oatley lead a music workshop in the school music room.
After a dodgy start due to the school shutting due to heavy snow fall on Monday, week one is now over at Bridgemary Community Sports College in Gosport Hampshire and boy what a week it's been! Maths, music, English, GCSE art, woodwork, and even a drama class joined us to work on what is turning out to be an incredible creative collaboration.
LEFT : Spike and a student work on some complicated maths when scaling the sculpture art work. RIGHT : Some earth cast sculptures by students, the result of a artroom based workshop.
We were also suprised and very flattered to find out that over twenty GCSE art students have picked Eccleston George Public Artists as their chosen subject artists for their art exam coursework. We've seen some of their dissertation work relating to us and we're really impressed with the quality of the essay writing. We only hope that we can do the students hard work justice whilst we're at the school and, if we can, help them to acheive great grades by us being on site to answer questions and give guidence.
Bas relief maquettes made by GCSE Art students at he school.
This project is a proving to be real challenge for us, all of the Eccleston George cor team have been required to lead workshops in various places around the school, sometimes in three locations at the same time. The content for all the workshop activities link back to the main, giant sized, bas-relief sculpture that is being created on the outside wall of the schools dance building. This project sees us working once again with an organisation called Creative Partnerships . We're particularly pleased to have been asked to get involved with the Bridgemary School Creative Partnerships programme and we're really looking forward to the next couple of weeks working more with the students and staff there to see how much we can collectively acheive.
Tuesday 3rd Feb 2009
WATCH THIS SPACE!
Yes indeed, look carefully at this plot of prime DRAGON land because this is where we're planning the centrepiece for our education centre at St George's School on the Isle of Wight. The bits of wood sticking up out of the grass mark the spot where we'll work with students from St George's to build a very ambitious zone called 'The Greenhouse Effect'. It's right here that the Eccleston George and DRAGON teams we will construct a 6.5m glass covered geodesic dome, inside it will be a tropical home to plants and butterflies from the worlds rainforests.
Photo courtesy of Solar Domes. Click the image to find out more.
The beautiful geodesic structure will be supplied by a very clever company called Solar Domes, they are one of the only companies to make these structures in the UK. (Click the photo to see more of there amazing stuff).
By using renewable energy to keep the dome warm in winter, the project will introduce issuses relating to climate change, global warming, recycling and sustainable energy to schools across the Island.
We hope to get the project started this year.... and quite frankly we can't wait!
Monday 2nd Feb 2009
BRIDGEMARY PROJECT STARTS AND THEN PROMPTLEY STOPS
We started our outdoor sculpture project a Bridgemary Community Senior School today and then had to stop at lunchtime because the school closed due to heavy snow fall.
Our own Spike, Darren and Rich make the most of the snow at Bridgemary School in Gosport Hampshire
This is our latest Creative Partnerships project and today we were going to start work with students from the school on a piece of outdoor art.......only the weather had either ideas and firmly scuppered our plan. Work will resume as soon as a thaw allows us to carry on.
Students at the school have been working for the last few weeks on designs for a major piece of artwork on the outside wall of the schools gym block.
Our artists, Spike Oatley and Nigel George have already been working with students on ideas for the finished artwork. Stundents have had a chance to work with our special sculpting medium and many are using their creations as part of their GCSE course work.
Friday 30th Jan 2009
AREA OF OUT STANDING NATURAL BEAUTY HELP DRAGON
Work has started at St George's School's Dragon project on a new woodland area for DRAGON thanks to support from the Isle of Wight AONB. Wheelchair access, interpretation, a pic nic area and wildlife areas will all feature in the new woodland development. We're really pleased to be back at the school and it's great to be working with the students of St George's on what is promising to be a fantastic new zone for the schools outdoor learning centre.
Students Anthony & Andrew dig new pathways and we join the team to help out.
Work on the AONB woodland project will continue in to the spring and will hopefully be up and running for early summer this year.
Saturday 24th Jan 2009
GEODESIC DOME PROJECT UNITES SOUTH COAST BUSINESSES FOR THE FIRST TIME
Above: Visuals for our exciting dome project.
We really pleased to announce that this spring we're going to be working with two new partners for the first time. Solar Domes and Bonwyke both successful companies based in the south of England will help us to create the beautiful central sculptural feature that will take pride of place in our prison hospice garden project. Solar Domes will supply the structure for the partially glazed geodesic centrepiece and Bonwyke will supply and fit the coloured film to the glazed sections, the idea is that this will create a gigantic kaleioscopic sun catcher. The Eccleston George team will then sculpt directly on to the unglazed framework of the dome thus creating a very unusual sculptural artwork and undercover seating area.
Confused?....watch this space and see how it all unfolds!
Saturday 24th Jan 2009
ONE YEAR ON OUR SCHOOL MUSIC PROJECT HAS RAISED OVER £1500 FOR SPECIAL NEEDS SCHOOL
It's just over a year ago that our very own music makers, the Wild Oats , worked with school children on the Isle of Wight to produce the Making Sense Song. The song features on their Paper Tigers double A-side single which has been on sale since its launch. All of the profits made have gone to St George's Special Needs School with whom we worked on the music project.
Sculptor, singer and song writer, our own Spike Oatley makes sense with a song
We're now planning another music project with the children of St Georges school which we're all looking forward to getting underway very soon.
You can buy the single and help St George's by clicking on the Paper Tigers artwork above.
Tuesday 20th Jan 09
ECCLESTON GEORGE WELCOMES VISITORS TO THE ISLE OF WIGHT
Above : Lead Designer Ivan Hicks tests our rock work and the Butterfly World team learn about the cascade pool development at Ventnor Botanic Gardens.
After our visit to the amazing Butterfly World development in St Albans last week, we were pleased to be able to return their hospitality by hosting a tour of our own projects here on the Island. Senior Commercial Director Angela Harkness was joined by Corporate Funding Coordinator Veena Joseph-McBride, Lead Project Designer Ivan Hicks & Garden Designer Dave Wishart, on a site seeing trip around ten years worth of our projects produced by our own team. We took our VIP visitors to six of our previous development sites, they included the Isle of Wight Zoo and Ventnor Botanic Gardens. Ivan said that he had enjoyed being taken around the Island and finding out more about us but was slightly put off by the fact that we hadn't offered him candyfloss as part of the tour.....next time Ivan, we promise!
As a result of our very eventful meetings we're now working on a couple of feasibility studies for two separate sculptural projects for Butterfly World.
Monday 19th Jan 09
EAST COWES CONFRONTS TOWNS GRAFFITI PROBLEM
Above: Josh works with the Eccleston George team & reclines in front of his street art masterpiece.
Youngsters in the town of East Cowes have been been working with us over the last two months on a variety of street art workshops. The initiative has been implemented by the local town council after problems with graffiti in the town centre. The town coucil asked our friends at the Island 2000 Trust to help solve the problem and they in turn asked for our help. The message at all our workshops in local schools and youth clubs has been that graffiti on public property without permission is vandalism and as such is a punishable crime. We've talked about street art and how it can have an acceptable face in the public realm as long as it is organised and permission for it has been given. To prove it, we've worked with local young people to create several large pieces of street art which will now go on display in the town.
Stencil art by our visual artist and workshop leader Matthew Whiteman
We're really pleased with the way the young people of East Cowes have got behind the project. At Osbourne Middle School we've had record numbers of students turning up for our Street Art after school club and we've been amazed by the artistic talent at the Pavilion and LJ's youth clubs.......and it's not over yet! So popular has the project been in the town that we've been asked to keep the project going so that we can work with two more groups, a team of young offenders and another team of students from Cowes High School, for these two projects we're planning something very different, so watch this space.
Tuesday 13th Jan 09
BUTTERFLY PROJECTS SET TO TAKE FLIGHT
Early last year we started to plan a new and very ambitious project for our on-going education programme at St George's Special Needs School on the Isle of Wight. The new zone at the schools DRAGON centre has a working title of 'The Greenhouse Effect' and will cover issues like climate change and global warming.
We're hoping to purchase a 6.5 metre wide geodesic dome in which we will develop a tropical environment complete with butterflies and plants from the rainforest. The project has been on the planning table for some time and funding for it is currently being sought.
So, imagine our excitement this week when we were invited to visit the site of the worlds biggest butterfly conservation project! The Butterfly World Project in Hertfordshire will be a butterfly house and conservation centre like no other. We were very lucky to be given a sneek preview of the development and we were completely bowled over by the scale and beauty of the design.
Above; A model of the truly awesome Butterfly World Project in St Albans.
No doubt comparisons will be drawn with this and the Eden Project in Cornwall and at first site they do seem similar. However when you find out about what is happening at the colossal Hertfordshire site you realise that this project may very well leave Eden in the shade. From extraordinary renewable energy devices to Disney style theming this environmental theme park is surely going to set a new standard when it comes to visitor attractions. Eccleston George was asked along to talk to the people behind the project about how we might be able to help with its development, needless-to-say we are very keen indeed to offer our expertise in anyway we can.
Now then, the 6.5m wide dome proposed for St George's isn't quite as impressive as their extraordinary 100m wide affair just off the M25 outside London, but for a special needs school on the Isle of Wight it represents a similar kind of challenge. We wish them both all the luck in the world with their butterfly projects and we look forward to the prospect of helping them both get off the ground.
Thanks are due to Senior Commercial Director, Angela Harkness, who fealessly navigated the giagantic and very muddy development site in a 4x4 so that we could get a closer look.
Saturday 10th Jan 09
NO ECONOMIC SLOW DOWN FORECAST FOR US!
It seems odd we know.....and certainly against the national trend, but 2009 looks as though it could be our busiest year ever! Whilst it's true that the last quarter of 2008 did take a nose-dive, leaving us a bit out in the cold, as it stands the forecast for this year is very sunny indeed. We'd like to be able to say that it's because we're shrewd business men and women but the truth is we're not entirely sure why this year above all others is shaping up so nicely. A lot hinges on a couple of big projects being confirmed but even so enquiries and consultations are at an all time high and at least three projects are already booked in which will to take us through the first quarter of this year.
Our fingers are crossed that work will continue to chug along for us and that in turn we can play a very small part in keeping the economic wheels turning.
Saturday 10th Jan 09
A DECADE OF ECCLESTON GEORGE
Yes it's happy birthday to us this year as we celebrate ten whole years since Chris Eccleston & Nigel George teamed up on their first collaborative scheme. The project was a private garden design and build, it was created using the same special sculpting medium the team uses today. The garden was owned by the then mayor of Shanklin, on the Isle of Wight, Nigel and Chris were commissioned to create a large naturalistic rock garden and waterfall on an almost vertical bank in the clients garden. The project was completed on time and on budget and the Mayor was left with a spectacular Pulhamesq garden. Later the same year Nigel and Chris took on the massive Amazon World project and were commissioned by the BBC to work as forsensic sculptors as part of their live TV series 'Live From Dinosaur Isle'.
Tuesday 9th Dec
Expanding the Collective.
Due to the possibility of a busy year ahead we're on the look out for like-minded creatives to join our arts collective. If you have an unusual/innovative/interesting creative skill and think we should know about you and what you do, drop us a line by email and if appropriate we'll add you to our internal directory of creatives. We're particularly interested in creative people who can interact and engage well with members of the community as well as other artists, we're always interested in exciting communicators and people who can enthuse others with their creative skills and personality.
An up to date Enhanced CRB certificate is essential as is a self-employed status and your own public liability insurance. However, you don't need to have had previous experience in community/public arts, just a desire to use your own creativity to motivate change and positivity.
We can't guarantee your involvement in our projects but then again if we don't know about you and what you do, then we can't ask you for your help either!
If your interested contact Nigel at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday 1st Dec
OH WE DO LIKE TO BE BESIDE THE SEASIDE!
Thank you to everyone we met in Essex last week for their hospitality and for their wonderfully enthusiastic introduction to what looks set to be an amazing community project. The extrodinary diversity of the project subject matter, location and people we met certainly captured our imagination and as a result we're as keen as mustard to play a part in what is showing all the signs of being a world-class creative community involvement scheme.
Monday 24th Nov
We're heading off to Essex this week to take a look at some fake rockwork that's in need of repair and renewal, from the photos we've been sent we are pretty certain that it's not original Pulhamite but in fact a copy. We don't have many of the facts about the proposals for the public realm area yet, other than the whole place is up for redevelopment and we have been earmarked as potentials for livening the old place up!.........as soon as we know more we'll be sure to update the blog with all the news about this one.
A visit to Park Community School in Leigh Park, Havant.
Our thanks is definatley due to the staff and students that we met at Park School today. They laid on lunch for us, showed us around the school grounds and spent an afternoon with us discussing their ideas for their own Creative Partnerships project. The students represent the schools own sustainability group, the group has instigated and managed an impressive array of eco-friendly directives at their school. We look forward to meeting with the students again to see if we can help them with their creative learning project.
A visit to Bridgemary community sports college.
We'd like to thank the staff and pupils at Bridgemary sport college for their hospitality today and for giving us the opportunity to talk to them about what we do. We had a inspiring meeting with both staff and pupils about the possibility of us working with the school. We came away very impressed with the schools amazing attitude towards creative learning and we were also suprised to find out that they seem to be ahead of the game with regard to both a flexible school curriculum and classroom timetabling, both of which we believe are essential for a successful creative learning programme.
Now all we can do is sit tight and wait to see if the students liked what we had to say!
First UK mainland schools come a calling.
Above: Artist, sculptor and all-round creative whirlwind Dave Badman. Dave is set to join us once again, this time on the mainland.
We've been asked to visit two mainland schools next week, we'll be meeting with pupils and staff to talk to them about outdoor learning activities. These will be the first mainland schools we have worked with since our creative education push started four years ago. The schools in Portsmouth and Gosport are currently benefiting from creative learning programmes implemented by an organisation called Creative Partnerships. We'll let you know what the plans are for the schools in next week.
Friday 31st Oct 08
Eccleston George team will go to prison
Yes it's true, we can confirm that 2009 will see us working behind bars at Her Majesty's pleasure inside one of the UK's best known prisons. The project will see us work with inmates to create a totally new kind of garden within the prison grounds. This is a very exciting project for us and one which we're very much looking forward to. The project is a very novel one and the prison staff have told us that it's all about thinking 'outside of the box'..... of course for us 'outside of the box' is the only place we really feel at home so whole project suits us down to the ground.
Once again watch this space for updates about this project.
Thursday 30th Oct 08
Victoria Plaque replacement finally in place
Hurrah! Our replacement plaque is finally up and in its rightfull place. We'd like to thank moulding specialist DGO of porchester for their help with getting the job done.
There is more about this story further down the blog, just scroll down.
Friday 24th Oct 08
Nutshell seating prototypes made
Click the pic to see more.
Our first two Nutshell outdoor seats have become a reality and are already out in the public realm ready to receive a test bashing from the public. We think they're pretty invincible and will easily survive the rigours of public use. Time will tell!
The seats a fantastically comfortable, they've been well tested by various passers-by and we've already seen two people in squeezed in one seat.... very cosy! We're now looking at the possibility of producing a range of soft cushions and furnishings to go with each seat in the range to make them even more snuggley.
Wednesday 22nd Oct 08
Watch it cascade!
This picture is actually a little video of our waterfall project at Ventnor Botanical Gardens on the Isle of Wight. We popped back yesterday to see how it was doing, we're really pleased with the way it's weathering naturally and blending itself in to the natural rock surroundings.
So click on the photo and it should run as a video, it works best if you click the pause button and let it fully buffer before clicking play.
Monday 20th 0ct 08
First new Victorian plaque out of the mould
So here it is, the first plaque out of the mould of the Victorian plaque we restored recently. We're pretty pleased with the result, only a few minor touch ups needed to make it perfect. You can find out more about this project by scrolling down the page to previous bulletins.
If your wondering what it says, its "honi soit qui mal y pense" pronounced 'oni swar key mal ee ponce' and it roughly means "Shame on he who thinks evil",..... quite right to!
Thursday 16th Oct 08
Street Art project under way
The lovely people at the Island 2000 Trust have asked us to be the lead artists for their latest 'No Barriers' project in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight. We've enlisted the help of our good friend, street artist, John Patty. John is an amazing graffiti artist, graphic designer and illustrator and will work with the Eccleston George team, school children and community clubs on some totally unique street artforms during the course of the project.
John points the way for a group of year 8's at Osbourne Middle School.
Friday 10th Oct 08
First visitor to our birdbath
This Wheater was the first visitor to our mushroom birdbath at Medusa's Wildlife Garden. It has since been followed by a host of others birds including, Meadow Pipits, Gold Finches, Stone Chats and Wagtails.
Tuesday 7th Oct 08
Outdoor seating in a nutshell
We're really please and excited to announce that we are prepairing to produce a range of outdoor seating called 'Nutshell'. The sculpted seating, which is currently in development, will be designed for use in private gardens and public spaces. We're hoping to have a selection available for viewing (and sitting in) at the Robin Hill Garden show next spring.
Tuesday 7th Oct 08
Eccleston George project scoops top award
News came to us today that one of our projects has won the top spot in the National Community Rail Awards 2008. Back in the spring we worked with Sandown High School's Inclusion Unit to design and sculpted an array of bas relief images at the railway station in Sandown. This was one of the many projects that we have financially subsidised this year and one in which we worked with students for five weeks to produce an amazing display of hand crafted permanent artwork.
We'd like to congratulate the kids for their hard work and for helping to make the scheme an award winning one.
See award placings below.
Community Art Schemes - sponsored by the ATOC
1st Place Dave Stocking - Sandown High School Inclusion Unit for the 'On Track' Art Project
This ambitious art project saw young people from Sandown High Schools inclusion unit, work positively across their community to research and gather pictorial information for low relief sculpture panels to further improve Sandown stations disabled access ramp.
The young people decided on a timeline showing the past, present and future of rail. A team of local artists then worked with the young people at the station through rain and shine to deliver this innovative art.
The artwork has been well received by the community and rail passengers alike and has given increased local ownership to the young people who took part.
2nd Place Emily Fuller, St Peter's School and Brian Lee for the St Albans Abbey Stations Mosaics
To celebrate 150th Anniversary of the opening of the Abbey Line, the CRP wanted to improve St Albans Abbey Station. So they sought out a community artist to work with St Peters School to design and install a mosaic. The result is a beautiful piece of art that often stops passengers in their tracks on their way to the platform!
3rd Place Ann Crawford and Adele Conn for Prestonpans and Invergordon Station Murals
Prestonpans and Invergorden are Scotland’s two mural towns – with their railway stations now providing fitting gateways for visitors arriving by train.
Shortlisted -The South Pennines Rail Partnership - Catch the 'Creative Train' Project
Shortlisted - The Imagine Plymouth Project
Tuesday 30th Sept 08
Restoration project continues
You'll remember our victorian plaque project from earlier in our blog.....well the plan has changed a bit! Incredibly and unexpectedly the builders working on the restoration of the property that the plaque comes from managed to get it off in one piece. It can't be reattached to the new wall because it has to much of the old wall still stuck to it, but it is in good enough condition for us to clean it up and resculpt the broken and missing parts. So we decided that instead of making a new one from scratch we would make a mould of the newly repaired existing one and make a reproduction from that mould. Hurrah!
Yesterday we took our restored victorian plaque to our friends at DGO. Based in Porchester DGO specialise in traditional victorian ornate plaster work repair and conservation, using their amazing mould making techniques they will carefully make a special mould of our plaque for us.
Hopefully we'll collect the mould in a couple of weeks......once again watch this space.
Tuesday 30th Sept 08
Homage to James Pulham
Whilst droping off our victorian plaque to the mould makers in Porchester yesterday, we paid a visit to Holy Hill Park in Fareham.....home of some very fine a 120 year old Pulhamite rock features.
Spike seemed a bit put off by the sign next to the Pulhamite groto, but after a little persuasion he followed me down to see the amazing construction that is now over 120 years old.
View from inside the groto.
Friday 19th Sept 08
Breathing Places at Roman Villa forges ahead
Students from St George's School get stuck in.
Work is well and truly underway at Brading Roman Villa's 'Breathing Places' project. The Eccleston George team have been working side by side with students on a variety of features for the newly named Medusa's Wildlife Meadow.
One of the standing stones at the entrance to the wildlife meadow.
One of the sculpted bug hotels and a sculpted seat with insect carvings.
Work will continue in the meadow over the next two weeks, so watch this space to see what happens next.
Friday 12 Sept 08
Breathing Places project plan in action
Above - The plan for Brading Roman Villa's Wildlife Meadow project.
Yesterday we had no plan..... today we do! After a visit from a crack team of students from St George's School's DRAGON PROJECT, we now have a fantastic new design for the Brading Roman Villa's 'Breathing Places' project. Inspired by Medusa herself, the wildlife area will feature mown pathways, seating, bug hotels and interpretation points.
Thursday 11 Sept 08
Roman Villa nature project begins
Above - One of a great number of Wasp Spiders, this one was eating it's dinner.
Work started yesterday on our 'Breating Spaces' project at Brading Roman Villa. Pupils from St George's School helped us to get things started. Together we discovered the area we are developing is home to a thriving population of Wasp Spiders (Argiope bruennichi). Once rarely seen in the UK this beautiful orb web spider is now quite common in southern parts of the country.
Designs for the layout of the project were discussed with the pupils from St George's and are now in the process of being drawn up......once again watch this space for project updates.
Tuesday 9 Sept 08
We've just been asked if we can recreate one of these. This is an original plaque that sadly will be destroyed during some major subsidence correction work to the property to which it belongs. Such is the extent of the damage caused by subsidence to the property, attempts by renovators to save the plaque have all been in vain. We have been commissioned to hand make a replacement when the new wall is built. Watch this space to see how they do!
Friday 5 Sept 08
We saw this bus with our temple emblazoned on it recently. We designed and built the actual temple facade over eight years ago for the people at Amazon World, we reckon this demonstrates nicely how our work can create a strong corporate identity that can then be used in all kinds of promotion and publicity campaigns. The real temple facade is huge and we think, still our biggest project to date.
Sat 30 Aug 08
Plans are on the table at St George's School for two new zones for their Dragon project. As Dragon partners we will be working with the student Dragon team on a Mediterranean Grow Zone and an, ANOB sponsored, Woodland Walk through the centre's wooded area.
Sat 30 Aug 08
A start date of the 8th Sept has been set for our BBC TV funded 'Breathing Places' project at Brading Roman Villa. The project will see us work with local schools and community groups to develop an unused area of meadow behind the centre. Seating, interpretation points, pathways and bug hotels are included in the unusual environmental project.
Friday 29 Aug 08
Today we have had an interesting conversation with English Heritage about our potential status as Pulhamite restorers and consultants. The upshot is that we have been advised to enter Eccleston George into the Building Conservation Directory. It was agreed that because of the materials and techniques we use, coupled with the evolution of our own rock making development, we may be in a fairly unique position to provide the skills needed to consult on and restore original Pulham features.
Thursday 14 Aug 08
We've realised that this site is getting pretty jumbled with all the information about the array of projects we're involved in on it, so we are starting a major edit and overhaul to make it easier to navigate. Bear with us and it should be a more pleasant experience to search through it in the coming weeks.
Growing hopes for new life for Totland site
Friday, June 6, 2008
From left, Nige, Craig Ratcliff, from Craig Antony Ratcliff Gardens, John Holsburt, chairman of Totland Parish Council Cllr John Howe, Wayne Hemingway, Beck Hemingway, ten, Gerardine Hemingway and IW furniture-maker Kate Sanger. Picture by JENNIFER BURTON.
A MONTHLY market selling produce grown on a community allotment could be coming to Totland. The idea was just one of the ambitious plans put forward by top urban designer Wayne Hemingway, who is working with Totland Parish Council and members of the community to redevelop the village’s recreation ground.
After a tour of the ground last Friday, Wayne and his landscaper wife, Gerardine, discussed plans for the redevelopment, including public barbecues and outside gym equipment.
Wayne’s suggestion to combine much-needed drainage for the often-flooded football pitches with a piece of functional play equipment was well received.
“By incorporating manual pumps into the design, the kids could pump the excess water from the football pitches. It would be fun and they can learn about drainage at the same time,” said Wayne.
Co-founder of Red or Dead and Hemingway Design, Wayne went on to discuss his ideas of involving IW artists from Eccleston George to make equipment from natural & recycled products and using signs to encourage people to play more ball games and to please walk on the grass. Wayne said: “We want to encourage responsibility rather than negativity. There’s a big move towards getting back to basics these days, gardening and crafts increasing in popularity.“
Sandown Community Art Project Completed
After five intensive weeks of sculptural art and design work the EG team and students of Sandown High School's 'Inclusion Unit' have finished their station art project.
"The project has exceeded our expectations both in terms of quantity and quality of the sculptures that have been produced. The students have risen to the challenges we've set them and have displayed good artistic and technical skills." Said team leader Nigel George.
The Eccleston George hope to return to Sandown Train Station soon to work on another art project with Sandown High School, this time with sixth from art students.
Eccleston George team in talks with Ventnor Skate Park team
Eccleston George are planning an exciting new project with the Ventnor Skate Park Team. Discussions have begun about creating the worlds first sculptural skate park.
This represents a fantastic opportunity for the Island to lead the way with a brand new kind of skate venue, we're really looking forward to working with skaters/ skate boarders, artists and builders on an innovative visual art and street sport arena.
Artists Dave Badman, Spike Oatley and Nigel George along with retired builder John discuss the possibilities.
Eccleston George have spoken to the Arts Council of England about the plan and have been asked by them to put forward an official grant bid. Artist Spike Oatley said " If the Arts Council do decide to back the project this will help the scheme in more ways than one, they are a very prestigious organisation that choose the projects they work on very carefully, to gain their interest would be absolutley fantastic for the skate park scheme, Ventnor and the Island."
Team start work on Rail project in Sandown
The Train station art project is keeping kids on the right track in the town.
Pupils from Sandown High School’s inclusion unit celebrated on Tuesday when the police recognised their efforts in transforming the disabled access at Sandown Railway Station by putting £2,000 towards the project.
The money forms part of a £12,000 plan to give local youths an area to be proud of, giving them the opportunity to learn through art and create something positive.
The theme is past, present and future of rail, depicted through low-relief sculpture using a mixture of recycled composite materials.
All the young people’s ideas have generated from talking to a range of people, including pupils of Sandown Primary School and volunteers from the IW Steam Railway who remember rail travel on the Island before decommissioning in 1966.
The IW Community Rail Partnership is delivering the project, working with artists Eccleston George. Rail development officer Bobby Lock said: “It has been really good to see the young people positively working with all ages in the community to gather information for this project, which will enhance the disabled access at the station while leaving a pictorial timeline for years to come.”
Financial support has come from a number of groups and organisations, including Creative Partnerships, South West Trains, Sandown High School and the Association of Community Rail Partnerships.
St George's Dragon set to take flight
The education project that the Eccleston George team have been working on for the last 18 months is now ready to open its doors to other schools. Dragon, at St George's School for students with complex learning disabilities now has a brand new logo (above) and website and four learning zones for other school groups to use at the school grounds.
We're really excited about Dragon, we have been working with the students and staff for quite some time now and it's fantastic to see how the project has progress since we started.
If you interested in finding out more about this totally unique project go to http://www.stgeorgesdragon.com/
Alan gets to grips with a Gribble
TV Presenter Alan Titchmarsh tried the Eccleston George Gribble seat sculpture for size and said he thought it was great stuff!
Mr Titchmarsh, who was in Yarmouth to re-open the towns pier which had been closed due to being half eaten by gribbles, met the Eccleston George team and stopped to chat about their work of art.
He was very gracious and altogether a very nice chap, He seemed genuinley interested in how we made the gribble seat and recognised the link between our work and victorian landscape gardener James Pulham.
Mr Titchmarsh who is also the Isle of Wight's High Sheriff, posed for pictures with the Eccleston George team before moving on to officially open the pier.
The Eccleston George team join Alan Titchmarsh on their Gribble sculpture.
From left to right Darren Brazer, Alan Titchmarsh, Spike Oatley & Nigel George.
Dame Ellen speaks from our lecturn
Dame Ellen Macarther delivered her speach to a packed audience at the Eco Island Conference this week. She spoke about her own experiences of sustainable delelopment and energy conservation. Eccleston George's lectern was commissioned by the Eco Island organisers and was of course made from rubbish.
The brief was to create a lectern for the conference using recycled materials. We went to Magpie, the scrap store belonging to the Island 2000 trust and sourced everything we needed to make the thing.
Nursery School play area officially opened.
Geoffrey Hughs officially opened the play area that the Eccleston George team have been working on over the last year.
Crowds of parents and guests gathered at the Sandown based nursery last week to see the newly finished play area officially opened.
THE BEST I'VE SEEN. VERDICT OF TV WILDLIFE EXPERT NIGEL MARVIN Nigel Marvin has officially opened the Ranthambore tiger enclosure at the Isle of Wight Zoo. The TV zoologist climbed an Eccleston George shrine feature so that he could speak to the large crowd of onlookers. "For three hundred days a year I travel all over the world in pursuit of animals, during my travels I go to many zoos most much bigger than this one, I have to tell you that this new tiger enclosure is the best one that I have seen anywhere in the world and it comes as a bit of a suprise to find it here in a small zoo on the Isle of Wight" said Mr Marvin. He went on to congratulate the zoo and all who has had a hand in the design and construction of all the zoos new enclosures and said that he hoped that other zoos would follow their lead. Spike Oatley of Eccleston George said "Blimey! that some praise......it's nice when all our efforts are recognised like that, now we need to concentrate on making the next enclosure even bigger and better." The Eccleston George team are currently working at the zoo on their fourth big cat enclosure project which is set to befinished and open later this year.
TV NATURALIST DIGS ST GEORGE'S DRAGON Naturalist and presenter Chris Packham gives the schools latest senesory project the thumbs up. Chris Packham, presenter of the TV show Natures Calender, gave his verdict on the dinosaur related art project at St George's School when he visited it recently. "This dinosaur dig is amazing, as good as anything I've seen in any museum in the country" he said "What a resource for the school and the fact that the pupils at the school have helped to design and build it makes it all the more remarkable". Chris launched the project at the school back in November 2006 with a 'dinosaur day' at the school. "I remember the day very well, the whole school went off curriculum for the day and did loads of dino activities" he said. "I also remember talking to the Eccleston George team about their plans to work with the kids on this ambitious project, I had no idea the end result would be so spectacular" he added. Team leader for Eccleston George, Nigel George, said "Since Chris launched it, the project has been a huge success, every pupil in the school has been involved with the research, design and build process in some way or other. I want to thank the children and teachers of St George's for their enthusiasm and willingness to get involved". With finacial backing from Southampton based organisation 'Creative Partnerships' the Eccleston George team will carry on with further creative projects at St George's until Christmas at least. New projects will included a sailing boat feature and the creation of a sensory dome. Click here for more about the St George's School project.
ISLAND SCHOOLS KEEP ECCLESTON GEORGE TEAM BUSY Eccleston George announced today that they are now completely booked with school projects until Christmas at least. The five man team is struggling to keep up with demand for their school grounds improvment projects and creative education programmes. "We are now booked solidly through to the new year and have already fixed some dates for projects in 2008" Said team sculptor Spike Oatley. "If schools would like us to work with them during 2008 they will need to book us as soon as they can, I've a feeling 2008 is going to be our busiest year ever" added Team leader Nigel George. The finished dinosaur dig at St George's School.
DEVELOPMENT AGENCY SEEDA BENEFIT OF RECYCLING! Thanks to the support of the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), an East Cowes middle school will be the first to benefit from a school grounds improvement scheme involving locally sourced recycled materials. SEEDA have agreed to allow the Eccleston George team unlimited access to the huge rubble mountains in East Cowes that were once office and factory buildings. "Being able to use the rubble has meant that the many projects we have lined up for Island schools will now be able to benefit from what we are calling 'the East Cowes rubble rush'" Said Nigel George