Coalpit Heath, South Gloucestershire
This forthcoming creative commission by artists Adam Blencowe and Thor ter Kulve is associated with a new development of 215 homes, open space and infrastructure on 15 hectares of undulating arable farmland east of Park Lane in Coalpit Heath. Coalpit Heath is one of a cluster of three villages with Winterbourne and Frampton Cotterell, located about 8 miles north of Bristol. The project is funded by the developer, Barratt Homes, through a section 106 planning obligation. The artists will create a site specific permanent artwork that responds to the industrial history of the local area; Coalpit Heath was founded as a coal mining settlement.
As part of their research the artists held a free creative workshop at the local primary school for families to make their own seat in a day. This enabled them to meet local residents, gather information about the local area to inform their design, and meet those potentially interested in participating in the project as it unfolds.
Adam and Thor have designed a circular seat to be built into the sloping central open space of the site. The design will use the natural contours of the ground to create a resting place. Faced in oak, the seat will have a series of textured ceramic tiles. The shape of the artwork references the drumlins which often occur in areas where mining has historically taken place. Following a meeting with a member of the South Gloucestershire Mines Research Group, the artists named the project Blackberry Scratch after the technique of mining coal simply by scratching away the surface; this method was used locally around Coalpit Heath.
About the artists
Artists, makers and designers Adam Blencowe and Thor ter Kulve work together as Studio in Place (SIP) and their practice is broad, ranging from exhibition design to private commissions for homes. Their work as a collective is dedicated to the design of spaces and furniture, and they are both graduates of the Design Products MA course at the Royal College of Art in London. Adam has a background in furniture design and Thor is a maker whose designs have been produced by several European manufacturers.