Soon the judges will decide which of the four finalists will be commissioned to make their sculpture to commemorate the fire on Eastbourne Pier. Yesterday we all set up our displays at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne. They were very different.
Phoenix Vane is the sculpture I designed with Caroline Pick who was a fellow student on the Brighton MA course. We have roped in James Price who is a blacksmith designer who lives near Lewes.
Phoenix Vane utilises girder from the pier as well as burnt wood and was inspired by the photographs of the enormous billow of smoke which the fire produced. The bird is a weather vane and the smokey tail will move in the wind while the beak of the bird will point out the wind direction.
Devon artist Marcus Vergette had a display of Time and Tide Bell; Marcus is aiming to install twelve bells around the country and a number of these are already in place including at Appledore, Devon, Bosta beach in the Outer Hebrides, Trinity Buoy Wharf in London and in Aberdyfi, Wales, July 2011. The idea would be for it to hang under the pier. You could listen to the sound effect as the waves caused the bell to toll.
Certainly a strange and mournful sound and an exciting project, wonderful in an unpopulated part of the coast, but which might possibly become annoying to those living in the vicinity or even for holiday makers on a sunny but breezy afternoon.
Cynthia de Wolf had been inspired by the seagulls surrounding the pier and produced a striking seagull sculpture Gulls.
Finally, the London firm George King Architects produced Forged by Flame a sculpture which would be made out of the burnt twopenny pieces which were salvaged from the amusement arcade where the fire started. They hope that it would be a meeting point for people on the beach. The mystery hand which has somehow got itself in the photograph is not included.
The four sculptures will be on display near the cafe at the Towner Gallery. Devonshire Park, College Road, Eastbourne,BN21 4JJ until June 29
Members of the public are invited to comment to Sculpture@eastbourne.gov.uk
If you felt moved to support Phoenix Vane – that would be very nice.