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Client - Sanctuary Housing

This is a sculpture project for a new development on the site of an old boat sales yard in Unstone, just outside of Chesterfield.

The overall shape of the piece echoes the history of the site - from one angle the chimney of the Victorian brick kilns that once stood on the site, and from another the waves that the boats forms in the water. 

In the spirit of full disclosure, I did my work experience at Nationwide Boat Sales on this site in 1994 and got a Saturday job from it painting and varnishing boats! It's been enormously fulfilling to come back nearly three decades later to work on this project.

The poem Bricks and Water has been composed for the project by the poet Helen Mort, and speaks of the connection to place, to history and to the land, and also marks positive change for the future.

Picture showing a section of a poem carved in chunky raised letters on a stone sculpture


Beneath this masonry and mortar

I was forged by bricks and water

stones and boats: I was Ocean Village

before the tides of creeping foliage.

I was sluiced by the Drone, Midland Railway.

My pulse was the beat of the colliery.

Beneath this masonry and mortar

I was forged by bricks and water.

Change scuds in: new weather.

Kids grow up, loosen tethers,

move north and south, set down roots.

but I cleave to the ridges of their boots.

I am more than land. From the riverside

you're held, perfected in my silver eyes.

Beneath this masonry and mortar

I breath through bricks and water.

Helen Mort

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