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Tide of controversy over artist's wave sculpture

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: March 22, 2012

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ROLLING ON: Plans are being submitted for the sculpture. @Picture: Rob Tibbles. BNRT20120317B-007_C

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A GIANT metal wave created by shipyard apprentices could be created in Appledore.

The three-metre tall sculpture may be built for the village's Visual Arts Festival in June.

But plans for the artwork to be left in the village after the festival ends have met with a mixed reaction, with one resident saying people in the village are fed up with having art imposed on them.

The suggestion is that the sculpture, designed by Sussex artist Jane Churchill, would be left somewhere near the Churchfield car park.

Some villagers supported the idea when it was revealed at a meeting on Saturday.

But others, still baffled by the six-foot-high Time and Tide bell left over from the arts festival in 2009, are not keen on their latest gift from the art world.

Jenny Arnold, a committee member for Appledore Residents' Association, said: "Appledore residents would much rather the festival came and went rather than leaving local people to look at permanent art fixtures in the village.

"We have a wonderful art work piece designed by Maggie Curtis, an Appledore artist who specialises in ceramics.

"The piece showcases the history of Appledore and I do feel that many residents would like to see the design created for the village.

"Why can the festival not fund a local artist?

"It's very important to note that people come to Appledore because it is pretty, it is a pretty working village.

"We are not St Ives. We are not about the arts – we just have the arts imposed on us.

"Appledore residents are street fighters when it comes to protecting our village and if this is a permanent fixture we will fight this."

Resident David Avery, of Appledore Community Trust, said: "The sculpture is quite nice. What the residents are worrying about is where they are going to put it.

"The shape could mean children will climb on it and therefore it could be unsafe. There is also the issue of rust."

The artist, Jane Churchill, said: "I would not want to impose my art work on anyone and this is why we are having consultations and will apply for planning permission.

"I understand a lot of residents did not like the bell but this is a very different piece and I feel is a very different concept. I just ask they take a look at this project, with an open mind and give as much feedback as possible."

Fully supporting the design was archaeologist Polly Thompson of Market Street.

She said: "It is such an exciting project for Appledore to be involved in. I think it is wonderful that the school is taking part also.

"I have lived in Appledore all my life and I do feel like this art work would celebrate the ship yard and the village's history — it's beautiful.

"I think the suggestion of placing it on the Churchfields site is appropriate as it was a ship yard at one time."

The artist said the work would capture the movement of the wave while imitating the skeleton of the hull of a ship— celebrating Appledore's past, present and future.

The community artist, 36, said: "I visited Appledore and the maritime museum and I was so inspired by the village and its history.

"I could not get over how interesting Appledore was and I really wanted to collaborate with the shipyard. This will be a celebration of art and engineering."

Rae Hoole of Appledore Visual Arts Festival, said: "Jane does a lot of community based art work so it is very exciting to have her on board for this year's festival."

The wave will be created out of recycled steel donated to the festival by the Babcock shipping yard.

Training Officer for Babcock Will Bowden, said: "We have been collaborating with Jane for months discussing ideas.

"Nine apprentices will be involved in the building of the sculpture which will allow them to use their skills for something a little bit different. Babcock is really excited to be involved."

The Visual Arts Festival did not happen last year due to a lack of funding.

This year the Arts Council England is backing the event with a £60,000 grant over two years.

The Appledore Visual Arts Festival will start on June 7, finishing June 10.

Related:

Do you like the giant wave sculpture? VOTE in our poll now.

NDJ COMMENT: Too much Appledore art?

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  • Taw and Torridge Tree Services  |  June 06 2012, 7:29PM

    Could it not be put up onto the roof of the public toilets in Churchfields car park, or on the wall of Richmond dry dock? way out the reach of children.

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  • ihave_a_voice  |  March 27 2012, 10:36PM

    Yesterday the people of Appledore and Northam had the opportunity to voice their opinion on the Knapp House Marina development. They turned out in force and spoke well, the Northam Councillors also were passionate about it. Result: the development will not recieve the support of Northam Council. We need the same opportunity to voice opinion on art projects imposed on our communities. Art that is an idea of a few on the culture and community of a people that they do not know, gained on first impressions and left for us to maintain. Yes it does look pretty on paper, why not make it full size from paper, and admire it for the duration of the festival and then let it fade away. If we were all to build monuments for ourselves and our egos, our towns and villages would be a mess.

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  • cccsmith  |  March 26 2012, 11:39PM

    Made from white cardboard a few inches high it looks nice- not so sure when its scaled up and made from metal. We take our children down to Appledore every weekend and love the view across the estuary; real waves, real boats.....

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  • bideford_boy  |  March 25 2012, 11:12PM

    Appledore has a unique opportunity to work with a proffessional artist and a major local employer, why create an eyesore that the locals will complain about and be just another white elephant like the time &tide bell. Keep everyone happy and use these resources to create something of benefit. OK I agree that art should stimulate debate but it shouldn't be imposed on the people. It doesn't matter that the artist isn't 'local' but the decision about the position and scale of it should be. The arts festival runs for a few days, the people of Appledore have to live with it until it rusts away!

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  • ihave_a_voice  |  March 23 2012, 10:18PM

    I live and work in Appledore and I attended the presentation event. The proposed siting of this huge iron structure will obscure the view, they want it to go rusty, whether to save money or for effect, not sure. Its inevitable that children will climb on it getting covered in rusty marks and how will the edges be protected -i'm a metal worker and this material can be very sharp. Play equipment is designed to play on and has safety features, does this? I hope common sense prevails and the people of Appledore reject this so called art.

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  • chrisjjow  |  March 23 2012, 9:20PM

    This is a fantastic piece of art that many towns would be delighted to commission. It's such a shame that change and new things appear to frighten so many people. It sounds as though the village needs more people with Polly Thompson's attitude. Chris J

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  • 2ladybugs  |  March 23 2012, 10:10AM

    I don't see many modern pieces of sculpture/art that I like but this is the exception. I feel sure that if Appledore doesn't want it somebody will quickly snap this piece up. I would suggest to Jane Churchill that after the exhibition she finds a home for it where it will be appreciated.

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  • Sue200  |  March 23 2012, 7:55AM

    You miserable lot! If you don't want I am sure that there are parks all over the county that would absolutely love to have it.

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  • accom  |  March 22 2012, 11:56PM

    People are so grumpy, unbelievable. Not the most wonderful thing I've ever seen but absolutely nothing wrong with it! We should be encouraging the arts, not moaning about it. Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime (according to Polly in Fawlty Towers anyway, I've never actually verfied that statement).

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  • sillybob  |  March 22 2012, 5:31PM

    what a load of crxp,

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