Burnt Wood Circle comes home for Liverpool Biennial

The Burnt Wood Circle is coming home! This much loved evocative circle of dramatic pointed spires of burnt wood, inspired by the charred wood roof structure of St Luke’s (The Bombed Out Church) at the top of Bold Street is back for the Biennial – 16th
September to end November. Its down at Buckfast Abbey for the Summer, but it’s coming home for the Biennial. There’ll also be some drop-in arty workshop things going on too, so come along. Free entry (donations to USL/St Lukes). The Bombdie is home to Urban Strawberry Lunch, Friday Fling, Films Nights and lots more.

This atmospheric piece invites viewers to contemplate the cycle of destruction, death, rebirth and growth into new life. It is inspired by the opportunity for spiritual growth following periods of trauma. It forms a dramatic circular ‘henge’ of charred wood, 10’ across and 6’ high made from salvaged timber that has been burnt as individual pieces in a fire pit in a meditative, ritualistic cleansing process to produce a charred surface layer. The pieces are fixed together to become an evocative sculptural circle with pointed spires, striking shapes and well defined negative spaces. By the elemental power of fire, the wood has been transformed and preserved into a beautiful textured surface as it splits and burns in the extreme heat. Exposing the wood to fire preserves it from further decay. Although carbon is formed from the process of destruction, it is the basis of the formation of new life.

I make sculptures and installations and sometimes drawings too. I do this because I am trying to find a visual language to express my idea of ‘continuity’ – about rebirth, renewal, regeneration and the desire to keep going, recover and  persevere. I’ve made sculptures using burnt wood because it looks like its been destroyed, but its also preserved when its burnt. I’ve also made installations with hand cut paper which has been meticulously cut into long tendrils, and sculpture using long threads like contours on a map and I’ve also made piles of handmade paper and layers of torn pages. To me, there is a consistent theme behind all my work, but what I feel is more important to me is for people to tell me what it means to them, because this continues the network of meaning.

Prior to coming home to Liverpool for the Biennial the burnt wood circle is spending the Summer at Buckfast Abbey. Set on the Southgate Lawn of Buckfast Abbey surrounded by the Monastery, Medieval Hall, Abbey Church and Southgate retreat. Buckfast Abbey is home to a community of Benedictine monks and is a working Abbey open to the public with daily services of worship. The Abbey and gardens attract 500,000 visitors a year.