Object Details

Sculptural bench

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General Information
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Location

Street:Spitalfield Lane
Town:Chichester
Parish:Chichester
Council:Chichester District Council
County:West Sussex
Postcode:PO19 6SE
Location on Google Map
Object setting:Inside building
Access is:Public
Location note:St. Richard's Hospital, in the Seashore Courtyard
In the AZ book:West Sussex
Page:140
Grid reference:D5
The A-Z books used are A-Z East Sussex and A-Z West Sussex (Editions 1A 2005). Geographers' A-Z Map Company Ltd. Sevenoaks.

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Makers

Name : Johnny Woodford
     Role:Sculptor

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General Information

Commissioned by: Donated by Art for St. Richards
Work is:Extant
Owner custodian:St. Richard's Hospital, Chichester
Object listing:Not listed
Description:A carved elm bench facing south in the Seashore Courtyard. The back rest is in the form of curvilinear lines and the seating area rests on large wooden spheres.

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Classification

Categories:Sculptural, Functional, Free Standing, Abstract
Object type1:Street furniture
Subject type1:Non-figurative

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Object Parts

Part 1:Bench
     Material:English elm
     Height (cm):90
     Width (cm):205
     Depth (cm):68

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Object Condition

Overall condition:Fair
Risk assessment:At risk
Condition 1 of type:Surface
     Condition 1: Corrosion, deterioration
     More details:General weather-wearing
Condition 2 of type:Structural
     Condition 1: Broken or missing parts
     More details:One of an original four benches of which only this one remains. Three others were originally in the Cloisters Courtyard but were, over time, damaged beyond repair by the weather..
Date of on-site inspection:28/07/2008

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History

History:‘Urban gardener: If I had a hammer ...
by Cleve West
AS KATY Woodford snipped the ribbon of loo paper draped across a sedan-like carriage in the middle of a Sussex field, she offered a toast: 'To all the delightful bottoms that will forever grace this seat.' Gentle applause, as the invited guests moved to a polite distance making loud small talk while Katy entered to christen the mobile toilet. It was her brother, the sculptor Johnny Woodford, who created the extravagant water closet. It serves as the outhouse to a cabin-like structure in his own private woodland where he spends the summer making sculpture and furniture in the most idyllic surroundings. Following the success of this and other designs, Woodford is now marketing garden structures-cum-sculptures that double as anything from eccentric storage to stylish office space, some big enough to double as an extra bedroom. I went to see him recently in his hometown of Brighton, putting the finishing touches to an A-frame structure in a garden designed by Fiona Geilinger where the client had commissioned a study for his 12-year- old daughter and a climbing frame for his four-year-old son. Inspired by the view to Brighton Marina, the structure carries a strong nautical flavour looking something like an upturned ark. 'It was a fascination with clinker built boats and a short spell living in a Guatamalan hut that has influenced the build method,' explains Woodford pointing to the overlapping elm boards. Woodford, has cleverly designed the structure to fulfil the client's brief by fixing a number of elm balls and cones on the outside. Like animated barnacles on a hull they provide enough purchase and grip for climbing. 'The idea is that as the boy's dexterity increases, so too will the number and height of the fixings until he is able to climb all the way over the structure,' says Woodford. 'I've started putting in the cones and balls on the far side of the structure which, coincidentally, happens to be the North Face.' The ludicrously large keyhole, a Woodford trademark, always brings a smile and an extended beam from the roof's apex provides adequate support for a swing, maximising the structure's playtime potential. Aside from the challenging forms and tactile qualities, the fact that Woodford uses elm for his creations make them instantly recognisable. The elm weather board covering the oak A-frame is sourced locally from council-felled timber as Brighton remains relatively unscathed by Dutch Elm disease thanks to the South Downs that slowed the migration of the deadly beetle responsible for the fatal disease. The twisted grain makes it a valued timber for carving unusual shapes without the wood splitting, something Woodford has exploited with the bizarre forms he is known for. Most of the structure is carved in Woodford's field using anything from mobile saw-mills to chainsaws, with more detailed work being completed in his studio. Brought to the garden in numbered pieces, it is then erected on site. It's a far cry from something you'd buy from your local garden centre '' prices start at around pounds 8,000. This might sound expensive but these sheds are works of art and come loaded with enough character to transform the look and feel of any garden not to mention providing an extra living space. Woodford's next project is building a number of play structures for a housing estate in Dorset. 'The potential for garden structures is only limited by your imagination,' says Woodford showing me sketches of recent ideas: tree houses, follies, climbing frames ... He's also working on a bed that can be suspended, swung and spun from his woodland tree canopy. 'It's not the worry about falling out that keeps you awake,' he says, seeing my look of concern, 'it's the falling acorns. Boy do they hurt!'
Call Johnny Woodford on 07770 758393. Nov 12, 2005
(http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20051112/ai_n15841952)

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References


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Photographs


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