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Discovering, revealing and interpreting views of the Surrey Hills

Ci_qZ8WWgAAWgN9People of all ages and abilities have been getting inspired creating artworks, poetry and sound in response to Surrey viewpoints.  This is a result of the ‘Inspiring Views’ project which has involved five sculptors and designers who have been commissioned to create sculptural benches at viewpoints along the Greensand Way.

Funded by the Mittal Foundation artworks will be installed throughout the summer at Gibbet Hill, Reynards Hill, Holmbury Hill, Winterfold and Hascombe Hill.

UntitledThe Inspiring Views project is opening up hidden views along the Greensand Way, improving access, and engaging with communities. Russell Jakubowski has given children in the Cranleigh area an insight into his own work and passion for layered sculptural pieces.  The artwork produced in day long workshops has been very impressive.  Students from Cranleigh Primary,  Glebelands Secondary School and St. Joseph’s Specialist School & College have been thoroughly engrossed in the process of designing layered sculptures, building clay walls and creating plaster casts.

workshop4croppedRussell comments; ‘The students made some lovely sculptures, worked hard, stayed focussed and we got some wonderful results. It was great, everyone loved it.’
The poet John Wedgwood Clarke encouraged children from Peaslake Free School to be imaginative with words in describing their visits to the Hurtwood.  They came up with charming observations, creating a collaborative poem which ends:

And when we’ve lit our fire and we’re all gathered round
we’ll magnify the little things and clash with our sticks,
then on with our jetpacks and up through the canopy,
to see our little homes in the green clouds of Surrey.

John gained an insight into the Surrey Hills area by meeting walkers, cyclists and members of the Surrey Archaeology Society on a visit to Holmbury Hill.  He is incorporating all this experience and research into new poems about each location.

Sculptor Walter Bailey has been working with GCSE Art students from Woolmer Hill School in examining charcoal at a microscopic level and creating giant charcoal studies.  Walter has created ‘Xylem’ a bench which has been installed at Gibbet Hill, Hindhead. His inspiration for the Xylem bench comes from his studies of charcoal, he examined charcoal under the microscope and made enlarged studies of these to inform his intuitive approach of carving directly out of oak. He also looked at the historical relevance of charcoal to the Greensand Way and how it has supported individuals and industries.


Walter comments; “It has been a joy to return to explore and be inspired once again by the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. I was fascinated to discover that the tranquil Surrey Hills landscape harboured such a hive of industries, all reliant on the production of charcoal over many centuries.”

Musician and Sound Artist Graham Dowdall is working with young people from Cranleigh to capture sounds from the hills and to layer these into a new soundpiece that captures their experience.

‘These are just some of the many activities this project has generated and I’m so excited to be witnessing such focussed  creativity from  local people and their surprising, individual observations on looking at their local landscapes more closely.’  Comments Ali Clarke, Programme Manager.

Surrey Hills Arts is a partnership between Surrey Arts, Surrey County Council and the Surrey Hills. It aims to engage and inspire people with the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and its unique natural, cultural and industrial heritage through the arts.

For more information on Surrey Hills Arts and the Inspiring Views project visit www.inspiringviews.org or contact Programme Manager Ali Clarke  surreyhillsarts@surreycc.gov.uk.