Sneak Peek – Stone

Today’s sneak peek is looking at two sculptures at this year’s show that incorporate stone.

Firstly we have Halima Cassell with her piece ‘Full Fathom‘ which is made out of a combination of ceramic and stone. This was one of the sculptures that arrived in the snow at the March photo shoot, Halima’s partner had battled the storm all the way from Blackburn to the Cotswolds! But he and the sculpture arrived in one piece and the next struggle was moving the sculpture into position as it weighed a lot. I love the geometric patterns that this piece has, and I think the neutral colour really benefits the sculpture. In her short bio for the catalogue Halima says that her art work is a fusion of her Asian roots, with a fascination for African pattern and a passion for architectural geometry. The neutral colour, to me, definitely oozes that of architecture and some of the shapes of the piece remind me of Jørn Utzon’s Sydney Opera house. Though there is still part of me that thinks of the sculpture as having been influenced by the the plant kingdom as well – leaf patterns, thistles, flowers all have a brilliant architecture of their own. Halima was born in Pakistan, brought up in Manchester and now living in Blackburn, Lancashire, Halima’s varied, multi-cultural background is tangibly present in her work. A natural creativity presented itself at an early age and was nurtured to fruition as Halima carved her way through an art-based education: an undergraduate degree in 1997 and an MA in 2002. The culmination of this process is Halima’s precociously mature work, which is intense yet playful, structured yet creative; substantial yet dynamic and invariably compelling in its originality.


Next we have Catherine Aspray with her stunning Bird Bath. The bird bath is made out of hand-carved limestone and has a detachable copper bowl. For those who like sculptures that fit seamlessly within garden then this is probably a sculpture for you. Not only does it have the functionality of a bird bath (which all good gardens need!) it is also a gorgeous piece, that is sure to become an significant part of any garden. By using limestone this piece is ideal for the Cotswold garden, and the rustic cooper adds such an earthy, warm feel. The hand carved inscription, the straight lines of the limestone, and the curvature of the bowl creates a nice modern twist on materials that could have been used to create something very traditional, and makes a nice change from the simple stone bird bath. This sculpture to me is very peaceful, whether this is because it makes me think of a beautiful Cotswold garden full of birdsong or whether it’s because of the still water in the seamless copper bowl, I’m not sure. Catherine designs and carves each letter by hand. Her tools are a pencil, hammer and chisel. She believes that carefully selected and crafted words complement a beautiful stone – helping to bring about a sense of ‘place’ and refreshment whether at a welcoming hearth or a bird-filled garden.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this sneak peek at some of the more natural, earthy materials being used and hope you might see a place for these sculptures in your own garden. If you do wish to purchase one of the sculptures, or come have a look at more gorgeous pieces please pop along to the show this Summer. The show starts on June 16th and runs through until the 17th of July. The show is open 10am – 5pm everday at the Quenington Old Rectory, Cirencester, GL7 5BN.