World renowned sculptor, Walter Bailey was showcasing his skills on Gibbet Hill, Hindhead at the weekend. Visitors to the well known National Trust site were enthralled by Walter’s unique carving technique which involves using a chainsaw as he intricately created a new bench titled ‘Xylem’.
Walter has been commissioned as part of the Surrey Hills Arts, Inspiring Views project which is opening up hidden views along the Greensand Way in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), improving access, engaging with communities and commission artists’ responses to these views. Funded by the Mittal Foundation, five artists have now been commissioned, whose artworks not only respond to the location but also incorporate seating and provide a reason to visit and appreciate the area.
Director of Watts Gallery and Chairman of Surrey Hills Arts, Perdita Hunt comments;
‘The opportunity to bring together art and landscape is powerful and potent. I hope the engagement of artists to create these commissions for all of us to enjoy in five of the most stunning viewpoints in Surrey will give many hours of pleasure and discussion. We are very grateful to the Mittal Foundation for making this possible.’
Walter’s 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 works predominantly in wood, and makes monumental and intimate sculptures for diverse environments; rural, domestic and urban.
Walter also undertook a workshop with students from Woolmer Hill Secondary School in Haslemere. The students got to create charcoal drawings inspired by the Surrey Hills landscape.
Four other artists have been commissioned as part of the project to create artworks at Reynards Hill, Holmbury Hill, Winterfold and Hascombe Hill.
The Xylem bench is now available to see at the National Trust view point, Gibbets Hill, Hindhead. For further information on the Inspiring Views project visit www.inspiringviews.org.