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Artist and Sculptor Simon Packard

PUBLISHED: 23:32 28 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:34 20 February 2013

Simon's studio is a chapel which was deconsecrated in the late 1980s

Simon's studio is a chapel which was deconsecrated in the late 1980s

an artist and sculptor based in gloucestershire

My space is a haven. It is a place I use for a myriad of uses but primarily it is a bridge, a stopping off point of great significance, between home and the physical making of sculpture at another workshop. It acts as the terminus where ideas can be shaped and formed prior to execution in metal, wood, prints and ceramics.

Although there is the obvious reminders of the religious and architectural references to what you would call a church around me (the chapel was de consecrated in the late 1980's)there is during the day the somewhat muffled urban sound-scape of nearby buses pulling to stops , traffic, parents and children attending and departing from a local school.

I have been a tenant in this space off and on from the early 1990,s and with time I have accumulated objects which take there place as part of the visual cornucopia .The remnants of building film sets, creating four poster beds from tree trunks , the welding of full scale sculpture models in scrap metal and the restoration of Hungarian blanket chests all leave a memory in the chapel.

It is hard not to look at the stained glass windows made by the Birmingham Art Glass Company. The coloured light cast onto the stone floor and the 3 metre high uninterrupted wall around the space is something to marvel at. Recently, I was told Edward Elgar played the organ in the chapel and this must have been the loudest sounds heard in hear as there are other building users nearby so loud music is a non starter so this for me is a quiet space.

In the photograph there are various metal and silvery objects. These are samples and models for recent commissions (see in steel which has become my chosen medium of late. The truncated leg in the foreground represents a commission for a Wiltshire School involving real size dancing and acrobatic figures in stainless steel. The chapel allows me to see in real space sculptures on the scale they will be on completion.

As much of my portfolio is the design and build of art in the public realm of a large scale involving the permanent sitting of steel sculpture, here in the chapel I plan and discuss these projects with visitors who often are awe struck on first seeing the space . The effect is heightened by the approach being along a dimly lit corridor.

The colourful image seen near the wall is a reminder of how I use the chapel to help in my printmaking production, something I was trained in at the Royal College of Art in the 1980,s. During my time in London I had a studio space in an old church so maybe there is some need for the atmosphere afforded by scale and space. Today as I spend my time split between the noises of metal grinding, welding and hammering in a dimly lit lock-up the chapel is the antidote of space, light and the muffled sounds of everyday life outside the tall windows. With this reminder of the town and its rhythm of the day the chapel does not make you feel small in the vast space but allows focus on the task in hand and makes it an experience whenever I have the pleasure of being there.


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