Fieldhead sculpture arrives on site
People who use services provided by the Trust have been working on an ambitious project to create a unique sculptural mosaic for the Fieldhead site in Wakefield.
The project has included service users from a range of wellbeing, learning disability and mental health services including residents at the Newhaven Unit and the Bretton Centre, who have been heavily involved. The work has been led by award-winning artist/sculptor Amanda Wray supported by AiM (Artists in Mind) and the project has also received funding from the Arts Council.
To develop the skills and ideas needed to make the final piece service users took part in weekly workshops creating exploratory drawings, learning various mosaic techniques and building small maquettes (models) in clay. A ceramic technician attended one of the workshops to teach the group how to use clay and Newhaven’s arts and music practitioner Paul Dews was given guidance on using the kiln, a skill that can be used once the project is complete. All the skills learnt in these workshops have been applied to create and design the final piece.
The group of service users and staff, together with the professional artists, decided upon the human head as the sculptural form for the finished piece. Designs that kept recurring were heads, birds and sunsets so they have all been incorporated. The final design is a large head which is hollowed out to house a seat, creating an intimate space for conversation, or just to sit and enjoy. Both the inside and outside of the head will be decorated using service user made clay tiles reflecting their own interests, likes and passions. These will be displayed in a mosaic style pattern which has also been influenced by service users who designed pictures of sunshine and light rays expanding within the hollow head.
Paul Dews, who works at Newhaven, said, “This has been a fantastic opportunity for service users to learn new skills and get involved in an exciting project. This will be the first site-specific sculptural artwork at Fieldhead and will be positioned in a prominent and accessible outdoor space for all visitors to the site to enjoy.”
One service user who took part said, “I have been involved with this project from the beginning and am learning new art and team skills all the time. I feel I am contributing to something that will be therapeutic for others and I have very much enjoyed the socialising with other members of the group as well.”
Amanda took all of the components away to her workshop to construct the sculpture. The big head measures around 2 metres high and has used around half a ton of clay to form the mould. This has then been cast to form the final piece, which houses the stainless steel seat. The sculpture has now been installed at Fieldhead providing a legacy for future service users, staff and the public to enjoy.
Speaking about the project Amanda said, “It has been wonderful for me to work alongside a dedicated and enthusiastic group of people. We all found ourselves learning new skills and the group worked well together within a relaxing atmosphere.”
The progress of Amanda’s work can be viewed on her blog.