Spirit of the Forest

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Client: Coleford Town Council

Location: Coleford, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

Completion date: 2021

Artwork budget: $33,000

Project Team

Sculptor

Diane Gorvin

Sculpture for Public Sites

Sculptor

Philip Bews

Sculpture for Public Sites

Pattern making

Paul Janes

PJ Engineering

Fabricator

Ben Collins

PJ Engineering

Structural Engineer

Darren Paine

DP Squared

Composer

Lola Perrin

Climatekeys

Client

Nick Penny

Coleford Town Council

Donated Concrete Base

Simon Dodd

Complete Utilities Ltd

Sculpture Installation

Damon Bramley

Specialist Sculpture Transport and Installation

Very Early Morning Photograph

Andrew Moran

Artist

Overview

Gateway sculpture celebrating the Forest of Dean deer that have lived in this UK forest for centuries. White bucks have been seen and photographed here over recent years. Those who discovered white deer during their walks describe it as a magical experience. Wildlife merges the boundaries between the forest and the urban by often straying into the villages. It’s always a privilege and delight to see a deer in these circumstances, making it a suitable subject to symbolise the connection that the people of Coleford have to the forest.

This large 4.8m high sculpture depicts the ephemeral white hart in a permanent, contemporary form which is easily read as a deer. The open construction allows views through it, whilst its sturdy structure has an illusion of delicacy that does not overpower the surroundings. The antlers are constructed in such a way as to suggest branches – making another connection to the Forest. Another link is the Old White Hart which dates from the 17th century, and is one of the older surviving buildings in Coleford. White Harts are known to bring good fortune to those that see one, and hopefully this new White Hart will become a good augury for Coleford.

Goals

To provide a meaningful, welcoming gateway sculpture for the Foresters and people living in Coleford, and also to entice visitors and holiday makers to the town.

Fabrication and construction, working with metal, is also a part of Coleford’s heritage, from its history right through to current times. From the metallurgist Robert Mushet (1811-91), to the many engineering companies currently based here. Therefore it is appropriate to have the deer constructed in stainless steel, under our supervision, by a local firm - PJ Engineering, a company that we have a good working relationship with.

We are proud for the sculpture to be sited near the Industrial Park in Coleford, which is next to a great gateway crossroads site into the town. These roads provide for a variety of views of the sculpture which gives something joyful to look at when stopped by the traffic lights!

Process

Paul Janes and Ben Collins of PJ Engineering are brilliant collaborators, who worked hard to bring the 4.8m high sculpture to life, despite Covid.

Diane constructed the deer maquette from plaster and aluminium armature wire, using a form similar to Phil’s ‘Horses’ in ‘Arrivall’ our sculpture project for Tewkesbury.

Paul made the complicated paper pattern taken from the maquette, then transposed to the computer controlling the laser cutter.

Ben made a larger stainless steel maquette using the pattern to aid fabricating the full sized sculpture. Each section of the Spirit of the Forest was cut from sheet stainless steel 3mm thick and skilfully welded together by Ben to make individual, organic box sections for the legs, torso and head, these were then tacked together and welded. The antler/branches with leaves Ben made separately, and bolted to the head on site and welded.

Phil drew up the technical drawings which were checked by Darren Paine who also did the necessary calculations. Diane and Phil supervised the construction. Complete Utilities made and donated the below ground concrete base to Phil’s design and made good the site, and sowed grass seed. Phil scattered wild flower seeds.

Installation - Paul, Ben, and Wesley of PJ Engineering, Phil and Damon Bramley.

Additional Information

Coleford Town Council initiated a Public Art Competition ‘Spirit of the Forest’ won by public vote. The artists and PJ Engineering gave ‘mates rates’ to allow the project to happen at a suitable scale. Comments from local people on Coleford Town Council’s FB. "It is so lovely and apt"; "Its stunning. He looks so proud."; 'It looks fantastic. Thank you for improving our town."; "Amazing sculpture and recognition of our Forest wildlife xx"; "Beautiful. Well done Coleford - in-keeping with the local area."; "This is great and really adds to our town; something cheerful in depressing times. Thank you."; "That is absolutely beautiful, congratulations to all involved, you all clearly know and love this Forest and understand the importance of supporting local."; "Very clever welder fabricator skilled enough to make this, a real craftsman."; "Absolutely stunning piece of art and so indicative of our beautiful forest !"; "Really lovely feature at the entrance to Coleford."; "Looks good at night too, top job to sculptors, fitters and council."; "It’s beautiful, full of movement, amazing job done."; "We love it, a lovely surprise."; "Our mascot of the forest." Lola Perrin's music for the video ' The Departure' from 'On The Gradient Road'. www.lolaperrin.com