For this winter month I'll focus on a couple of interesting examples of public sculpture in Hove Park.
The unusual 'Fingermaze' in the north-east of the park is a very visible landscape feature (see photograph). Chris Drury, an internationally renowned environmental artist, was commissioned to produce the permanent artwork in 2006 as part of the local 'Making a Difference' initiative funded through the national Urban Cultural Programme.
The giant 'fingerprint', incorporating a Cretan labyrinth, is made from random York stone in lime mortar (which takes less energy to produce and has a lower carbon footprint than cement) set into the turf. Walking the grass path to the centre of the labyrinth and back out again is intended to be a contemplative journey.
The nearby Storyteller's Chair is however easier to miss. This magnificent chair, installed in 2011, is sculpted from a block of oak with impressive relief carvings featuring local wildlife (see photograph of detail). The surrounding circle of logs provides seating for the listeners.
It was commissioned and funded by Bernard Chibnall, a member of Hove Civic Society, both to add a new feature to the park and in memory of his wife Joan.
The adjacent plaque reads:
This sculpture has been presented by the family of Joan Chibnall, who died at the age of 85.
She was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and at one time primary school teacher.
The sculpture will provide a chair and seats for children to have stories read to them, which Joan felt was an essential step to their learning to read for themselves.
The sculpture was created by Woodland Centre, a family-run chainsaw carving business whose distinctive work can be seen in several local parks and other sites in Southern England.