Art and Archaeology

I'm thrilled to announce my latest project!

I've been commissioned by Lewes District Council to sculpt 3 gateways for Peacehaven's Big Park Project

Original Sketch Keith A Pettit

One of my original sketches for the first gateway 'Life Gateway'.

I've been working on the project since the beginning of September. However it has taken this long to get everything confirmed.

The Big Parks Project is an exciting project in Peacehaven, after a lengthy public consultation Lewes District Council drew up a master plan which includes sports facilities, a central activity hub with a cafe, and open space and recreation areas. More information on the project HERE

I've been tasked with providing 'Gateways' into the play areas. The park is of significant archaeoligical interest and is part of the largest area of archaeological investigation in the South of England. More information on the sites archaeology and the investigation to be found HERE

The over arching theme of the whole project stems form the unique achaeology on the site. The investigations revealed that the landscape had been inhabited and farmed from the earliest times with continual evidence to medieval times. It was agreed I would use this history as the main inspiration for the gateways. I started by wondering what exactly was the first recorded human artistic endeavors in the British Isles? My friend Chris Mansell happened to visit me, and as an art lecturer, I thought he may know. His answer was still a little surprising, turns out he's written the book! (Honest! Here's a LINK to it!) The earliest art is rock art spread across the north east, the west and Ireland. Beautiful patterns patiently chipped into natural formed rock out crops and and on stones placed in henges and burial chambers. It has been so exciting to research this subject. I initially created a mood board on Pinterest, bringing all the elements of the project together, you can view that board HERE It has lots of photos of rock art, hopefully you'll see why I found it all so exciting!

So, here's my approved proposal for the Peacehaven Gates: each gateway will comprise two large slabs of locally sourced oak. One side will be a design inspired by early Bronze Age rock art-  cut into the surface (similar to my Elm Memorial, photos can be seen HERE)

And on the other will be elements of the contours of Peacehaven- the history and the landscape weaving together.

The shapes of the monoliths are at the moment suggestive, until the sawmill sources the exact trees that will provide the slabs- I won't exactly know the form. And while the designs are pretty much finalised, they're not (if you'll pardon the pun) set in stone. They may be adapted to suit as I draw them up on the oak.

Pierced through the the oak monoliths will be round holes set within the design with small stained glass panels set within (they're shown as orange circles in the above sketch). Etched into these panels will be three different cereal crops, all iron age crops: Einkorn, Emmer and spelt. These add the link to the landscape and agriculture. I'm sure the early flowering of human artistic expression was linked with the rise of agriculture - with a full grain store set against the trials of winter, free time would surely be the reward.



Work will be starting soon. I'll post news as soon as possible.

Thank you for reading.




Tags: Oak Sculpture Peacehaven, Peacehaven Big Parks Project, Peacehaven playgrounds