Patrick is a lives in Bath and has a studio at Spike Island, Bristol
In recognition of the slow worm population that has been temporarily relocated to Prior Park from Bath Riverside, Patrick Haines is sculpting and casting slow worms to be fixed into the walls and railings.
Making the Comet Sweepers commission has taken my work on a new journey. Generally my sculptures seek to explore society’s conventions and bring the untamed natural world into the ordered domestic environment.
When I was asked by Debbie Aplin and Ian Steed from Crest Nicholson to create a new work for Bath Riverside it gave me the opportunity to reverse my process and take a very formal object such as a Georgian chair and take it outside to interact with the river view and night time stars. My original thought was to imagine walking along the city landscape next to the river and you see two antique chairs seemingly left as if the people sat in them have just walked away. They would look so familiar but totally out of context, part of our indoor life that rarely ventures outside, but would look very welcoming and invite the viewer to take a seat and reflect on the view.This was exciting enough but when I started to explore the local industrial history there appears to be a number of cabinet makers who were working in this area during the 17- 1800s perhaps I could find a chair from this time to reproduce.
It was just at this time I became aware of William and Caroline Herschel who lived in New King Street from 1777. William was working as an organist in the Octagon Chapel and by night explored the night skies with his sister Caroline with his home made telescopes. They discovered many comets and planets becoming important figures of astronomy. But where I found the link regarding my sculpture was with the references to Caroline sitting in a chair out in the street with William sweeping the heavens with his telescope for new planets and studying the moon. I had the feeling of the pair being like two moths being drawn to the moonlight.
Finding a chair from this period was going to be tricky and I found myself being turned away from many of the antique shops until Bank Antiques came to my rescue, not only did they have furniture from the period but possibly even by a local maker. It appears they had a chair, which resembled the same ones in the Mayors Chapel, which may even, have been around in Bath during Herschel’s time here.
I have been working with an excellent foundry based in Cheltenham Faber Pyropus. They have transformed the two wooden chairs into bronze but without losing any of the nuances and history the chairs have accumulated over the many years.
Now the sculpture is taking on a life of its own, fitting into my own body of work but also referencing the local industry and reflecting the actions of two people who changed the very way we look at the universe.When people see the sculptures I hope they are intrigued enough to take a seat and perhaps reflect on the natural world in the sky above and the river below.
Patrick Haines 2013