Date: August - September 2011
Client: Northamptonshire County
Location: Oxford Canal,
Braunston, Northamptonshire. UK
Dimensions: variable. (Spire
Materials: Waterproof Nylon
over wooden frame
Further information: FLOW
A landscape installation.
Seven red 5m textile spires situated in half a mile of the
Oxford Canal around Braunston, Northamptonshire.
The piece was commissioned by
Northamptonshire County Council for the FLOW programme
highlighting the journeys of water in the county.
The artwork was designed to be discovered
by boat or on foot - both from the towpath, but also
visible from the network of public footpaths in the
surrounding countryside. Northamptonshire, despite being a
watershed county, is relatively flat. The paths of canals
and rivers through this landscape are pretty much lost
with few elevated viewing points.
On one level, by placing vertical
structures along the length of the canal, it plotted the
route of the canal and revealed the otherwise unapparent
undulations in the landscape. From the canal the spires
appeared as a series of reveals - never seeing more than
three at any one time. As visual focal points they also
revealed a series of composed views of the landscape from
the canal and echoed the spire of the village church -
known as the cathedral of the canals.
The spires also reference Northamptonshire
as the county of ‘Spires and Squires’. As part of the
research for the piece I created the first audit of spires
within the county - there are currently 84 in total - and
documented around half of them. A community involvement
weekend created a smaller installation of 84 two-foot high
spires floating on a lake at Oundle in the shadow of the
tallest spire in the county.
A subsequent work - NeneNine - will see nine red spires floating on a one-mile stretch of the River Nene near Oundle late April 2012.