Sunday, 22 May 2011

The finished markers

Here is a photo of each marker and its location, there are eleven in total, 9 granite pillars and 2 rocks clad with mosaic tiles.

Saladin; by the motorway underpass

sunflower at Darnley Steps 

Partrait of Anne Pratt as a girl. (Victorian botanist born in Strood) Rede Common Hyacinth Ave

wild flowers at the entrance to Rede Common on Watling Street

Hertige and Heraldry in Watling Street opposite Elaine Ave

A map of Strood on Gravesend Road
A passer by in Broomfield Park said to me, 'I can see this one depicts wild flowers, but the one on Gravesend Road.....I can't make it out at you know what it is?'
I said, 'As it happens I do'.

It is a map of strood drawn by a young boy with learning difficulties. Starting at the bottom left is his house, on the right is his pet dog, above that is the pond he passes every day on the way to school and on the way home, above that is a door into the school and his friends waiting for him in the playground. I think this may also be his world map too, and the sun is out on the right hand side.

Wild Flowers at the top of Gorse Hill

Marsh Marigolds in Broomfield Park

Heritage and Heraldry on Church Green in Findsbury

A Knights Templar outside Temple Manor Knight Road

A look back in time to a busy River Medway by the railway bridge
 These were all designed with local schools and community groups who have been able to visualise their aspirations and feelings about Strood.................celebrateing where they live.


This went smoothly, thanks to Volker Highways who really did the grafting on this. A logistical exercise involving many sites, heavy granite pillars and many instructions. They did a grand job and I hope the good people of strood appriciate their work behind the scenes. It went so well.... even a friendly resident had the key to a removable bollard allowing me to drive up instead of pushing the entire contents of my car up a hill in a wheel barrow relay.
The granite pillars are kerb stones taken out of the town centre in the mid 80's. These have been laying in a council depot abandoned since then. So Medway Highway Dept have donated them to the project. They are perfect for the job.

Parking was a not an issue on this installation either. My car is a mobile tool box on these occasions and I need it as close to the site as possible. Sometimes it can be a nightmare, but not this time. I think 80% of the scratches, dents, and other minor damages to my car have been done on these types of installations!
Put a traffic cone out, and wear a hi viz vest and access was easy on nearly all the sites !
The mosaic is cemented in, then the paper is washed off revealing the mosaic below.

Map of Strood with the paper half off

The black on the top is grout, which has to be cleaned off before it goes hard.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Dusty work in the hot sun.

 The Strood Community trail mosaic markers are back on the agenda. The building contractor Volker have had a rush of work on end of financial year road works, so have been unable to install these markers. Now there is room in their schedule and all being well they should be going in during the first half of May.

I laid one of the mosaics in the whole to see what it would look like?

removing the waste stone for the
 mosaicsto be inserted in the recess. 

I have spent two days with Volker who have been very accomodating and assisted me in getting this project back on track. I was allowed to cut the waste stone from the markers at their depot. This will save cutting stone on the streets and in the parks of Strood. This is noisey, so far better for the good people of Strood not having to put up with me creating clouds of dust everywhere.

Nine inserts to cut on the face and nine circles to cut on the tops.

I used over a tank of petrol cutting these granite markers.
Above is a Knights Templar which will go outside Temple Manor.

circles on top for the trail logo and painted X's to indicate the end in the ground.

Very hot dusty work over two really lovely sunny days where I would have liked to have walked around Cliff Marshes just very close by. A big thanks to Volker Highways for moving these kerbs around for me.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Finished making the mosaics

I have completed the mosaics today and await installation details.

who is this?

This was drawn by a school boy and it reminded me of when I was a school boy. I used to play with my toy soldiers: Cowboys and Indians, well actually alot of them were General George Armstrong Custer's 7th Cavalry and Indian's. I used to like the Indians best. I really liked their clothes, they seemed so much more interesting and when I played the Battle of Wounded Knee in 1890 the Indians always won.  

I got the same feeling when I saw this drawing as I thought it was not the Knights Templars or King Richard 1st or Crusaders. This I interpreted as a Saracen, a soldier from the middle east in fact, I think it might be even Saladin himself who captured Juruselem and defended it. That same feeling is not to do with religion or belief but a lure of beautiful craft skills, colours, different customs and ways of doing and making things.  In short a kind of emblem for cultural exchange. The armour and battle dress just looks better.
So I have included Saladin as the subject for the stone leaving Strood and venturing out under the motoway to explore the unknown further along the trail towards Cuxton and undiscovered people and places beyond. 
Templar Logos under construction

The logos are also featured on the trail signposts and I will insert them into the tops of the stone posts.
I found this link with a brief historical outline of the Knights Templars.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Almost finished making the main inserts

the last few almost done

I have completed the last three mosaics now. There are the two covered rocks in the background of this photo as well!

There are two spare rocks which, may be one day will get covered with something if I find the time. I liked the faces on the stones and would like to carry on with the idea. But that will have to wait for a rainy day  as I have little time at the moment.

The time for installation is still unclear but I have completed all the main inserts now and only need to make a couple of the small round logos which will go on the top of the stones.

two of the final three designs.
The one on the right will go at the bottom of the new stairs at Rede Common, showing wild flowers, drawn by pupils from the first workshop I did.

The one on the left is actually on of my favourites, it is a map of Strood! Originally drawn by one of the the very young pupils with special needs. He took his map home with him as he was so pleased with it and I needed to take a photo copy to keep a record of it. I remember starting work on it with him and  how hard it seemed to draw a map of Strood:........ impossible on fact. But after a while it was ok and maps don't need to look like ordanace survey maps,  they can record things other than roads and the shapes of buildings.

This map shows living in Strood and home is in the lower right corner. I think this family either have a pet or they can see foxes in their garden (lower left). The blue circle is what I imagine is a pond passed on the way to school and again on the way home. This is my interpretation of the arrows coming out of the pond, my photo copy of his map is black and white so I dont even really know if it is a pond? There is a yellow door which is the entrance to the school and children playing in the school playground.

A very simple map, but one that represent hunderds of young school childrens lives in the Strood area. I put a flower or is the sun in a space just outside Strood. I will talk about the final design in my next post.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Mosaic Progress lll

A Knights Templar

Mosaic construction of the inserts are moving ahead while installation details are sorted out. I have continued with the Historical and Heritage theme for a couple more designs.

A finished Knights Templar (the core theme used on the trail signposts)
and a mosaic depicting heritage buildings and history in the area.

I shall shift the focus away from from history and take a fresh look at the design work the schools have done. Revisit the flowers, maybe the trees or animals seen along the trail. I will also look and see if we have any people or faces. You need a balance of content!

It's funny to think back and I was worried about working and installing these mosaics in freezing temperatures, where my cement would freeze before drying and the mosaics would crumble off as a result of a messed up curing process. Touch wood that particular issue never materialised.  

Friday, 21 January 2011

Mosaic Progress II

There is no news on installation so I have posted photos of the finished mosaics completed so far (still on the paper prior to installation).

Wild flowers

Heralic Designs

trail logo

four completed mosaics

Monday, 17 January 2011

Home Made Glue

2 empty jam jars
plain flour (about 6 heaped desert spoons...may be 7 dosent matter, could have eight?)
2 heaped desert spoons of table salt (hard to heap table salt on a spoon)
bring to a gloopy boil (this looks like boiling mud just a creamy colour) simmer for as little or as long as you like and then pour into your empty peanut butter jars.

Sounds easy......the trick is not make your glue lumpy. Mix the salt and flour together dry, than add water that you've already put into the jars, so you know how much glue your making. Add a little water and mix, add a bit more and mix so you make a paste and keep diluting it. If you put all your water in, in one go that's gonna make it lumpy and globules of flour float to the top. Forget that nonsence about sifting flour into boiling water... it's rubbish.

This is a water soluble glue to stick your tiles onto the paper.

Draw your design onto some brown paper. Then take it over to the window and place it flat on the window so you can see through it. Now you will trace the image onto the other side of the paper. This is so your design is now back to front. This back to front version of the design is the one your gonna colour in with mosic tiles. These tiles are stuck onto the brown paper using your home made water soluable glue which in my case was still warm.

This mosaic is from the design of a medieval ship on the River Medway.

completed ship.

So I have several of these to make and have not got photos yet of the ones completed so far, I have also decided that every kerb stone marker needs the little red and white circular logo and that all the backgrouds are green so that they look similar to the new sign posts and are part of the trail. Rather than people think they are just randoms.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Previw of the finished rocks.

I have finished the two rocks and I took them outside and photographed then at the end of my road on the grass bank. These rocks will  be fixed in place at Rede Common and Broomhill Park. So I have photographed them amongst wild flowers and grass.

Wild flowers

face of Anne Pratt as young girl.

wild flowers

Anne Pratt the Victorian Botanist 

 So now I will start the mosaics for the marker posts. I will make them on paper and fix them at some later stage. This sticking mosaic onto a paper face is called the reverse technique and enables me to make them without having the actual markers yet.

Mosaic Progress

I have got a few photos of the rocks being covered with tiles. The original circular designs are really acting as a guide only.  Working on a 3D surface like this changes everything, so I decided I want a flower here, here and here, indicate where that was with chalk and join them together with white lines. It is pointless drawing a design on the rock as I cover it over the design with cement.... and can't see where my lines were. So its all pretty free form.

Covering the second stone with flowers.

This was the final session and as you can see...... er....... one of those chalk lines must be in the right place?

When I finished it I then need to grout them. This is to keep the weather out.
Totaly covered the whole thing with black grout.
 The more you put on the more you have to take off!
I'm sure they will clean up fine.

If all goes to plan the majority of the markers will be on these upright kerbs, so I need to modify my designs again to fit into a very narrow, sort of tall but thin shape. Below is a diagram of what these markers will be like. I think the little round cross logo goes on the top of each stone, so this will indentify them as part of the trail (same as the sign posts).