Imagine that you are walking along a riverside path. In the distance is a sheepfold, which, when you come closer becomes a seat, a place to rest, where the walls form the backs and arms of sofas, cushions have been carved to sit on, and steel throws over the backs of the seats are cut with designs reflecting the community of Falstone and constantly changing landscape that surrounds it.
Stell (Northumbrian dialect for a sheepfold), was created by Sunderland-based artist Colin Wilbourn in collaboration with Falstone Village.
The artist worked with members of the community to develop the idea for the sculpture and ran workshops enabling villagers to produce drawings that became the images on the intricate 'throws' that hang over the backs and armrests of the seats. Each 'throw' was water-jet cut from thick steel plate and depicts different aspects of the place, its history, community and wildlife.
Colin carved the cushions from local sandstone and crafted the gates from green oak. On site he worked with a local drystonewaller to create the enclosure that forms the main structure of the Stell.
Colin says of his practice,
"I work predominantly, but not exclusively, outside and often in public places. I endeavour to make work that is appropriate to its place, both in a physical and conceptual sense. I want it to be accessible, intriguing, involving and enjoyable.
I relish the challenge and enjoy working with many different materials having worked with wood, stone, glass, concrete etc. anything and everything including chocolate! The theme of my work, put simply, is to transform the familiar and ordinary into something extra-ordinary. When appropriate, I like to involve the public in the creation of public artworks whether that be; exchanging ideas, information and skills; working practically; or just working on site."