After my retirement I did a lot of writing and had many poems published as well as a novel. In 2013 I was diagnosed with aggressive Prostate Cancer and underwent two major operations in a week. The experience was traumatic. Following this, I developed writers' block and was unable to put fountain pen (I still use it!) to paper. I had done some wood carving, making masks out of bark, and started playing around with materials and making some garden sculptures mostly using wire mesh. I am self-taught and enjoy the trial and error of creation. I found the tactile element of the work extremely therapeutic and mindful.
At the start of lockdown and the deluge of rainbow paintings I decided to put a rainbow sculpture on the wall of our front garden to add to the national collection. It contained the word “Hope” and a dove flying through the rainbow. Neighbours and passersby enjoyed the piece. When “clap for the NHS” arose I put a sculpture alongside the rainbow with wire clapping hands. Children seemed to like this and every time I went out I noticed that the hands were in a different position!
People started to get intrigued and asked “what is number three going to be?” I then thought about a triptych on the three sections of trellis on the side of the garden. The first piece continued the rainbow theme with an image loosely based on an Aboriginal dreamtime myth (our son lives in Australia). It consists of rainbow striped birds arcing to a symbolic sun which strips the colours into a single hue to give red, orange, yellow, green and blue birds branching from it. Black Lives Matter erupted so my next piece referenced that. The “rainbow” this time was coloured a symbolic black, brown, and white. The frame consisted of branches painted black with leaves inscribed with relevant words such as ‘tolerance’, ‘empathy’, ‘equality’ etc. The central part of the triptych is a “rainbow tree” constructed from sections of tree trunks and steel rods.
The sculptures have provoked much friendly discussion in the neighbourhood and I have had comments such as “we always make a detour on our walk to view the garden” and “it is uplifting to see all this”.