This month we’re excited to report on progress at Monchelsea Park, Maidstone where Kent-based sculptor Jason Mulligan has been busy working on a commission at a new development for Redrow Homes.
Published date: 27 September 2022
Having originally produced a public art delivery plan for the development, FrancisKnight appointed Jason as Lead Artist for this project to create a bespoke installation that will be sympathetic to the location, complementing the overall design for the 302-dwelling residential scheme.
Earlier this Summer, Jason led a series of collaborative workshops with local schoolchildren at Langley Park Primary Academy. Year 6 pupils were invited to create draft designs and motifs for decorating sculptures which will be considered as part of the final works. They also had the opportunity to work with hammers and chisels to bring their ideas to life and heard Jason share his plans for the installation while getting a unique insight into his work.
Mr Dodds, a teacher at the school enthused: “Jason’s brilliant workshop for our pupils left many feeling inspired. It was a great opportunity for the children to show off their creative skills while learning about how art can interact with the built environment.”
Alan White, Marketing Manager at Redrow, South East added: “We are delighted to be working with Jason Mulligan at Monchelsea Park. His workshop with Langley Park Primary Academy is a great way of ensuring that local students can hear about the project and feed into the designs, all while learning about sculpting as a potential career path.”
Jason has been spending time visiting the development site, getting a feel for the local area where he says he ‘was drawn to the woodland in the distance and the sense of habitation for both wildlife and people’. He has also been undertaking research to better understand the local history – some of which has been revealed through an archaeological dig and evaluation undertaken by Swale & Thames Survey Company (SWAT Archaeology).
Jason reported: ‘Ditches, pits, postholes and a possible ‘trample layer’ associated with the Iron Age and Roman-British periods were all discovered through these excavations along with 229 shards of pottery (weighing 3,006g), which included Coarse Late Iron Age and Roman fabrics, along with fine Roman wares, mortaria and post-medieval material.
These uncovered fragments of pottery indicate and give way to theories that there may have been a previous settlement here. The terracotta vessel fragments have got me thinking about celebrating this historical timeline of a space having been previously used as a dwelling to its revitalised use and development by Redrow to conserve a modern day use and need for homes, habitation and the building of a new community.’
Jason has also recently been making visits to a quarry in Ancaster in search of suitable stone for his sculptures for this project, which he describes as being like hunting for a needle in a haystack! On his first visit to the quarry a few weeks back, there were only a few suitable pieces that he provisionally marked as being suitable. He reported: ‘Since then the quarry has been organising and going over their stock which has brought a few more slabs to my attention. It’s good to come back with fresh eyes, a spray water bottle and a tape measure. By wetting and spraying the edges of the blocks it helps high light any faults or venting which can normally be hidden by the mud!’
Jason is now working on an approved design and has the task of shaping the stone to fabricate the finished artworks to be installed in Spring 2023. The journey from working with a development on plan to commissioning an artist to locate a new piece of public art takes time. If you are interested in following Jason’s practice as a sculptor, please visit his blog.
We look forward to sharing more details as the project continues to move forward. In the meantime, if you’d like to read more about it, please click here: