Footsteps travel to corner, crevice. This room
has forgotten the chink of hammer on chisel,
the hoarse voice of rasp on marble. It is quiet.
We study, carefully. Contours, curves, flank, face.
I feel it: that urge to place a hand to element; burmese,
bronze, slate, let my fingers find groove and grain.
A life spent reducing to create, discovering form, shape,
to model thought, love, and landscape. The world is full of noise.
Take note from Hepworth: Start knocking
This was written after I visited Barbara Hepworth’s studio in St. Ives. I was hugely inspired by her work. It is one thing to see their picture, but entirely another to see her sculptures in their flesh and preserve, to be able to walk around each one and know their size and shape.
Her studio is now a museum kept exact since her death in 1975. It’s a home for her marvellous body of work, clearly of passion and love. She had an amazing outlook on the world, too, and her words haven’t left me.
“All my early memories are of forms and shapes and textures. Moving through and over the West Riding landscape with my father in his car, the hills were sculptures; the roads defined the form. Above all, there was the sensation of moving physically over the contours of fullnesses and concavities, through hollows and over peaks – feeling, touching, seeing, through mind and hand and eye. This sensation has never left me. I, the sculptor, am the landscape. I am the form and I am the hollow, the thrust and the contour.”
Extract from Barbara Hepworth, A Pictorial Autobiography, Bath, 1971