"Honest and down to earth"

This public art commission was originally conceived and part of the transport and public realm improvements to Alvaston District Centre by Derby City Council. Consultation began back in 2009 as part of the overall design process and Dufi arts were appointed by a formal commissioning process involving short-listing, interview and popular vote.

From the start of this project DUFI made numerous visits to Alvaston and worked with a large number of groups and involved them in the consultation and research process.

 

DUFI public Art "Honest and down to earth" 

Where we started:

Alvaston & Boulton Old Persons Social Club Anne Riley and Janet Brentnall, Committee Members
Alvaston Junior School Sue Penglasse, Head Teacher
Southgate Youth Centre Claire Sanderson, Manager
Alvaston Art Group, Alvaston Baptist Church Margaret Cowling, Member
Alvaston Poetry Group Jean Macdonald, Member
Alvaston & Crewton Working Mans Club John Bachelor, Secretary
Lakeside Children’s Centre Rowena Connor, Staff
Shardlaw Road Traders David Lawrence, newsagent;
Theresa Beak, pet shop;
Alan Emsley, Mr. Scoop.

FURTHER CONTACT WAS MADE WITH:
Group Key Contact
AORTA Jim Hardy
Keldholme Lane Community Centre Derby Children Services Staff: John Taylor and Carolyn Zivoder
St. Michaels CofE Donald Macdonald
New Testament Church Paul Gordon

DUFI also had a number of discussions with ward councillors Paul Bayliss and Allan Graves, along with many other traders, locals and visitors. At a conservative estimate they met and discussed the project with over 150 people. Along with both audio and video submissions, DUFI also received written submissions from both the poetry group and the youth group. DUFI particularly found the Alvaston & Boulton Old Persons Social Club to be a rich resource. While doing audio recordings they also had the opportunity to do a series of portraits as an additional part of the legacy
and archive of the project.

"CONNECT"
Through a high level of contact with the community DUFI were able to connect with a large number of people who live or work in Alvaston. The purpose of contact was twofold. Firstly, it helped the artists to gauge the response from the community. DUFI strived to maintain this contact over the development stage of the project to keep the community engaged in the process. Secondly, it aided DUFI in gathering the information needed to inform the artworks themselves. This actively reinforces the first purpose of this process and also helps to create connections between the community involved and the artworks.

What DUFI did:
TRUST
DUFI strived to build up a degree of trust with both the community and contributors. They felt strongly that this was especially important as visiting artists. To this end the artists worked with a variety of media and formats capture source material. The use of audio and video recordings allowed statements to be transcribed verbatim. The “words” integrated into the artworks have come directly from these conversations. Everyday stories and words about life in Alvaston literally woven into the street scape.

APPROACH
Alvaston is a place full of stories, and DUFI have enjoyed fi nding the real stories that have come from meeting traders along Shardlow Road, working with Primary School Pupils at Alvaston Junior Community School, consulting with local residents’ and youth groups. This living history forms the basis of the artworks.

"Words form the thread on which we string our experiences"
Aldous Huxley
DUFI decided to use three materials that relate to the industrial heritage of Alvaston. The railway industry and modern engineering engineering. The column has been produced using cast ductile iron and recycled oak beams to represent the railway industry. The central reservation has been produced using galvanised steel, 304 stainless steel, and tensile steel cabling. This represents new engineering by using more modern materials and the future growth of industry in the area. 
Each of the various components were developed in conjunction with, and then produced by specialists working within these industrial fields.
STEEL WORK
M C E Engineering Ltd
Derby, England
CAST IRON
Ballantine Boness Iron Co. Ltd,
West Lothian, Scotland.
Harrisons Engineering
Lancashire, England
TIMBER
Uphall Timber
West Lothian, Scotland.
 
Development of ideas:
Working from their original proposed concept of creating sculptures from the words collected from the people of Alvaston, DUFI have created two sculptures, and have plans for a potential third. Originally their intention was to create a wall of words that was very horizontal, but as the brief and sketches evolved, several key issues came to the surface:
1. The sculptures should work as a series, while at the same time retain their individuality and originality.
2. Approx two thirds of the trees were removed from the central reservation. DUFI saw these sculptures
as representing some of the trees that could not be replaced.
3. The artwork had to be a visual deterrent to crossing the road, whiles still allowing clear sight lines. It could not penetrate the ground due to root systems, or come within growth zones of trees.
4. From meeting with the people of Alvaston, DUFI became very aware of the pride, grounded mind-set,
and the deep-rooted sense of belonging within the community.
5. A number of contributors highlighted the lack of ‘rest stops’ within the shopping district. With these key factors in mind, DUFI designed the artworks to work as columns/uprights with the vertical aspect of the work used to draw the eye upward. All the artworks have been positioned close to the existing (or newly planted trees). This not only gives the artwork a boldness of presence, while integrating
it into the site, but it also draws attention to and complements the trees (something that the locals
hold dear).
 

Location of artworks: Proposed second column

The artworks are divided over three
locations. The main sculpture titled Treeline runs along the central reservation on Sharldow Road. This sculpture has been produced primarily in high-grade stainless steel, but also includes galvanised support frames and stainless wire rope. The cast iron and recycled oak beams column is titled Honest & Down To Earth Part 1 is situated at the corner of Shardlow Road and Beech Avenue. Designs have also been approved for a potential second column to be situated outside the library on London Road.

Development of font:
An intrinsic part of the artwork is the choice of font. DUFI developed a new font for Alvaston. As a starting point they looked at existing typography around Alvaston. Bearing in mind Derby’s industrial past and heavy involvement in the railway industry they looked at fonts that represent this era.

Other key issues that were considered in the font development
include:
1. Technical constraints of material.
2. Legibility - particularly from acrossthe road.
3. Originality - a font for Alvaston.
Alvaston, is a font designed by DUFI ART Ltd and is a stencil font based on the font Century Gothic which uses the classic scale and proportions of fonts like Twentieth Century and Futura. This font was created for the use of DUFI ART ltd in their artwork proposal for Alvaston, Derby. This font is not for resale.

More about the artwork and artists can be found at the Dufi-art.blogspot.co.uk

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