An award-winning artist is sculpting his next masterpiece at a public nature reserve so he can interact with village residents.
Jon Edgar’s sculptures have been featured in exhibits all over the world, but his next work of art will be chiselled into shape on the open pastures of Pulborough Brooks RSPB Reserve.
“I wanted to find another location that had some public traffic so that I can have a bit of banter,” said the 45-year-old.
“Pulborough Brooks now has the benefit of having this on site till February time, and in return I want a piece of work that will hopefully be influenced by some of the landscape around here.”
Faint images are already emerging from the block of stone, including the outline of a herring clasping a fish by its beak and a slender female body, but Jon said these shapes may not make it to the final piece.
“I don’t know if they’ll stay, it’s not preconceived.
“There are a few bird-like things, but at the moment all I want to do is split the block down into different volumes.”
Once Jon has worked some of his magic on the stone, a crane will be brought in to lift the piece onto a different side, so he can continue.
“Once it’s stood up things will start to emerge. I’m not searching for a pre-designed piece, I’m searching for something to come through a bit more powerfully.”
Taken from Portland quarry, the stone was cut out of the cliff face and weighs in at just under three tonnes.
Donning a pair of goggles and using a simple hammer and two chisels, Jon hopes that residents will approach him and show an interest in the creative process as he sculpts away.
Strategically positioned by the entrance to Pulborough Brooks car park, the amazing spectacle will be easily spotted by passers-by.
“People tend to slow down at the sign and some of them walk back from the car park. I tend to either have a significant conversation with people and their kids who want to have a go at the tools, or have people who just want to look round and see what’s happening to the block.”
Jon said that adults would quietly admire the stone like something in a museum, whereas children would see it from a different perspective and spot shapes that he would not have detected himself.
Villagers have also shown their kindness and support to the artist. After shattering his hammer, a Pulborough resident offered to fashion him a new one.
“It’s lovely to see,” he added.
Sculpting for 15 years, the Fittleworth resident currently has an exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and recently completed a stone sculpture at the National Trust’s Hindhead Commons and the Devil’s Punch Bowl.
However, the Pulborough project will not be taking place in a warm studio, but outside, exposed to the winter elements.
“Working in snow and ice is so hard that, in a way, some of that creeps into the work somehow. It might take six months to work on a block but ultimately bits like this will hopefully be here in a thousand years’ time.”
If you would like to see Jon at work, he will be at the Pulborough Brooks RSPB Reserve, near the car park entrance, on Friday October 11 and 18 and Saturday 26, 9am to 1pm. The project will be ongoing until February 2014. To keep track of Jon, follow his Twitter @massform and visit jonedgar.wordpress.com