A Seminar on the relationship between Art and Place
Portland Sculpture & Quarry Trust
Dates: Friday 30th July – Sunday 1st August 1994
Place: St Georges Centre, Reforne, Portland, Dorset
Drawing on the experience of ten years’ work with Artists, Quarrymen and Masons that comprise the Spirit of Tout, the Portland Sculpture Trust (PST) presented its first Seminar in 1994; exploring both the experience of Place in the creation of sculpture in the quarry, and how other areas of the Trust’s work had reached the Portland community.
The audience consisted of artists, Portlanders and other interested people sharing the experience of their work in Tout – bringing together and developing ideas for the sustainable future of Tout Quarry in relation to other quarries on the Isle of Portland, and bringing a new intrerest in the creative use and applications of Portland stone.
The seminar sessions were chaired by PST and took the form of slide illustrated presentations followed by panel led discussion with the audience.
In the adjoining hall, there was an exhibition illustrating the work over the past ten years on behalf of the PST by Artists, Quarrymen and Masons – with demonstrations, film and photographs.
Opening of Exhibition with Presentations to the Portland Quarrymen and Masons by the PST.
Session 1 7-9pm Tout; its History and Ecology
Trevor Pool The History and Working of Portland Stone
(Area Manager ARC)
Peter Hollinshead The Ecology of Tout Quarry
Valentine Quinn Symbols in Nature – The Green Man, TQ 1985
Mary Spencer Watson Experiences at Working Quarries (aged 11) and
(Sculptor) how they influenced me to become a sculptor
Session 2 10am-12 noon Tout Quarry – Courses in Education
Paul Cooper (Sculptor/University of Lancaster) – Two circles and a dry stone bridge, TQ 1983
Gerrard Wilson (Sculptor/Chelsea School of Art) – Vessel; TQ 1983 and 1985
Ian Sudlow (Dorset County Art Advisor) – Tout Quarry Schools’ Programme
Kate Parsons (Sculptor/Art Teacher) – A personal journey, Headstone TQ 1992
Session 3 1-4 pm The Experience of Working in Tout
Keir Smith (Sculptor) – Dreaming Head with Estuary, TQ 1983
Antony Gormley (Sculptor) – Still Falling, TQ 1983
Phyllida Barlow (Sculptor) – Installation, TQ 1983
Timothy Shutter (Mason/Sculptor) – Hearth, TQ 1989
Richard Farrington (Sculptor) – Marks in Time – Pterichthys (A Fish out of Water) TQ 1985
Robert Harding (Sculptor) – Philosopher’s Stone, TQ 1985
Shelagh Wakely (Sculptor) – Baroque Garden, TQ 1985
Session 4 4.30 – 5.30 pm Tout Quarry – Artist and Mason in Collaboration
Stephen Marsden (Sculptor) – Fallen Fossil TQ 1985 helped by Skylark Durston MBE (Master Mason)
Christine Fox (Sculptor) – Serpent Steps & Alignment TQ 1992 with poem by Skylark Durston (Poet)
Session 5 6-8 pm Tout Quarry and its Wider Context
Peter Murray (Director, Yorkshire Sculpture Park) – The Concept and Practice of Sculpture Parks
Noboru Yoshido (Sculptor) – Making Sculpture in Quarries Around the World
Koh Nguang How (Artist/Exhibition Organiser, National Museum Singapore – The initiation of the Artist Village, 1988 and The Singapore Granite Quarries Project, 1990
Christopher Rutter (Sculptor) – Two Heads, TQ 1989/Zimbabwe Sculpture Village, 1990
Session 6 10.30am Future Opportunities
TOUT QUARRY VIDEO (17 minutes) Sculptors in Residence, Student Programme, Schools Programme, the Living Archive and the Ecology of Tout
Robert Camlin (Camlin/Londsdale, Landscape Architects)
Antony Hawken RAS FRBS FRSA
Peter Randall-Page (Sculptor)
Hannah Sofaer MA (RCA) Trustee PST
12:30pm OPEN DISCUSSION – 1:00pm SEMINAR ENDS
The Portland Sculpture Trust was formed after the first Sculpture event in 1983 to develop the creative and educational resource that the quarry offers to Portland and to the wider national interests. Among the first Trustees were Artists, Portland Quarrymen and Masons, a Natural Historian, and a Solicitor.
The five areas of the project are:
• Sculptors in Residence
• Student Workshops
• The Schools Programme for local schools
• The Living Archive of Interviews with Portland Quarrymen and Masons and
• Research into the Ecology of Tout
During September 1993 Portland Sculpture Trust held a follow on meeting from the Seminar at the St. Georges Centre on the Tout Project, with documentation, photographs and video, to include the “Winning of the Stone” Event.
Artists Quotes on Their Work in Tout Quarry at the 1994 Seminar
‘LOOKING OUT FROM TOUT’ – The Relationship Between Art and Place.
“This wonderful site provided the inspiration for the sculpture as well as the material to make it. The site is permeated by the history of stone, fine stone won to construct beautiful buildings; wandering around the city or through Greenwich, I connect the Isle of Portland with Wren and Hawksmoor. In Portland evidence of the formation of the stone is everywhere; giant ammonites spiral through this raised sea floor. The Portland Sculpture Quarry makes it possible to learn how to make sculpture, often ambitious in scale; but Tout is supremely a stimulus for the imagination.”
Keir Smith – “Dreaming Head with Estuary” – Tout Quarry 1983
“I regard the period I spent at Portland as a learning experience. Most of the processes of stone carving were taught to me by another artist on the project at the time. The pressure wasn’t on to make finished pieces of work. In my case it was a way of learning how to deal with the vast masses of material – the piece of capstone which made Estuary weighed in the region of seven tons. I found that quite exhilarating.”
Keir Smith – Extract from paper given at 1993 Seminar ‘Looking out from Tout.’
“Tout was for me, and the young sculptors I took from Brighton, an inspirational experience not only in terms of first hand working with natural materials in their place of origin, but because of its peculiar beauty. The works carved in situ have a unique dialogue with their environment, and I think that Tout, both in terms of its history as a quarry, and its recent history as an open air sculpture workshop, is unique resource for both artists and the public.”
Antony Gormley – “Still Falling” – Tout Quarry 1983
“It was the most energetic summer I spent. In contrast to Paul Cooper’s extraordinarily focused project, everyone seemed to disappear in different directions, and emerged in the evening. I haven’t worked in stone again. I found it difficult to recreate the kind of excitement that I felt here. I have a crane bring some sea-formed boulders and carved the Man Rock series, shallow reliefs based on the body, left at the point where one was still very conscious of the mass of the rock form sculpted by the force of nature and by a human being.
Antony Gormley – Extract from paper given at 1993 Seminar.
“Tout was my studio for ten days, as I lived and worked from my surroundings. It was both demanding and invigorating, with a good community feeling.”
Richard Wilson – “A method of setting out” – Tout Quarry 1983
“The piece resembles a fossil only vaguely, it is more a symbolic architectural statement which implies a positive column form with flower-like capital having originated from a wall or face of living stone. The positive image lies on the ground in three fragments. In the light in which the two elements, vertical and horizontal, share a partnership, the grounded and fragmented column might be seen as the more passive element, the vertical more assertive.”
Stephen Marsden – “Fallen Fossil” – Tout Quarry 1985
“Fallen Fossil looks back towards fossils, and forwards towards architecture. For me, tout is a place of reflection. You think of London as a positive sculpture – you can’t think of it without this stone, the positive outcome of this negative space here. In terms of the future – for me it was the experience of working collaboratively, this wealth of material, this wealth of space – a contrast to perennially under-resourced, over-crowded art schools. Stone has such a very strong feeling of permanence, of geological time.”
Stephen Marsden – Extract from paper given at 1993 Seminar
“Above all at Portland one needs to be resourceful; perhaps because it is such a unique and extraordinary place, one wants to complement it with something equally wonderful.”
Shelagh Walkely – “Representation of a Baroque Garden” – Tout Quarry 1985
“It’s not so much the influence of the actual piece, but up until then I’d always made very small pieces. I learnt I had the capacity for very tough physical work.”
Shelagh Wakely – Extract from paper given at 1993 Seminar
“The sculpture provides an incongruous corner of domestic comfort within the exposed setting of the quarry; the fire surround refers back to a time when the quarry was being actively worked, functioning as a memorial to the lives and skills of a generation of Portlanders.”
Timothy Shutter – “Hearth” – Tout Quarry 1989
“A fascinating aspect of the quarries is the confrontation of the quarry faces and the chaotic walls made of the piling up of the rejected blocks of stone, the space between them being somehow still pregnant with the architectural landmarks quarried out of it. I have carved large imprints of Doric columns on both types of faces as a kind of fossil mark reuniting the two sides through the memory of the absent stone.”
Pierre Vivant – “Be stone no more.” – Tout Quarry 1985