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Pilot piece for my 'Endangered Species' project. Produced using FEAST commission funding for Yorkshire Festival of Story 2022 produced by Settle Stories funded by Craven District Council and Arts Council England.

With this piece I worked with the storyteller Sarah Deco, looking at the Nightingale which is on the red list of endangered species in the UK, meaning that they are of the ‘highest conservation concern’.

'Nightingale' sculpture


Bronze and steel

This sculpture is 1.3 meters high and half a meter wide and designed to hang on the wall. The background is painted steel with a line cut through it. A rusted steel line sits raised above this and there are a number of bronze pieces affixed to this and the background.

At the outset of the project I was looking for a ‘fragment’ which I would use to connect the sculpture and story. In this case it was the brambles which make up the thickets in which the Nightingale nests. I modelled this in oil based clay, took a mold of it and cast it first in wax and then in bronze. As well as providing a link between this story and the sculpture, in the wider project I see these fragments all coming together into a combined sculpture.

The bramble ‘fragment’ could have been the only link between the story and sculpture, but on listening to Sarah tell her story, I was inspired to create a piece about the two journeys. For the journey of the real life Nightingale, I created a journey line in steel, from Guinea Bissau around the coast of Africa, then across Europe to Kent. This was welded together from steel bar, rusted outside for a few weeks, then sealed and varnished . For the characters in the folktale I cut a journey line into the steel background. The two journeys meet at the tower in the desert of Morocco which I have depicted in this bronze piece as an aerial view. Also dotted along the Nightingale journey line I have placed other aerial views depicting the flight along the coast, with the final piece showing the destruction of the bird's habitat in Kent to make way for development.

A video on the making of and inspiration behind this piece can be viewed here:

The video of Sarah Deco reading her story at the Yorkshire Festival of Story 2022 is below:

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