Art in the Park celebrates all that is art each year in Leamington Spa’s historic and beautiful Jephson Gardens. 2018 sees its fifth year with a spectacular array of over 180 stalls, 17 musicians and bands, exciting workshops and food and refreshments.
To represent this year’s theme ‘trees,’ and the part they play in our local heritage, Jay Partridge of Partridge Woodcraft was commissioned to make a sculpture which would remain in the park as a legacy for people to enjoy for prosperity.
The brief from Art in the Park was for a large acorn ‘The Seed of Life’ and the brief from the park manager was for something interactive and robust enough to withstand being climbed on. The locally-sourced timber was large enough for Jay to carve two complementary pieces.
The timber for the acorn was too large to be turned on a lathe so Jay shaped it into a cylinder first with a chainsaw and hatchet, then fashioned it into an acorn using a variety of chisels and a mallet. The symmetry of the design helped the grain pull in the same direction which reduced splitting. A series of V-shapes were carved into the cap which gave it an organic feel and a different texture from the seed for people to interact with it by touch. The timber for this sculpture was naturally stained and eaten into by decay which gave it varying colours and textures.
For the second sculpture Jay researched and collected a variety of oak leaves and acorns and came up with a design that would wrap itself around the log following its natural contours. Jay left some of the pronounced chisel marks to accentuate the hand carving and part of the bark for added interest. After sanding off any rough edges, Jay coated both sculptures with a homemade shellac varnish to bring out the features and grain in the timber and help preserve them.
The Seed of Life Sculptures can be found alongside the pathway between the Avery Tea Rooms and the home of Leamington Studio Artists at East Lodge.