2011 - Jude Tucker

The 2011 Noble Sculpture Prize was awarded to Jude Tucker for 'Wavespell'. 

Jude is the first winning sculptor to have visited Colletta before starting work on her sculpture.  Having submitted three maquettes in February 2010, Jude came to Colletta in August and used her time there to walk, reflect, learn and draw.  She subsequently wrote the following.

After spending a couple of days familiarising myself with the village and soaking in the atmosphere, sketching and taking photographs, I was beginning to have some sense of what I would like to make.   

I was struck by how Colletta has been re-built from a ruin and is set like a much cherished jewel in the mountains.  It reminded me of a recently exposed fossil which fills one with a sense of awe and history, so the rebuilding of Colletta makes us aware of the potential links between the past and the future.  I was intrigued also that there is a suggestion that the original design of the town could have been based upon Fibonacci numbers.  This creates a very close link to the natural marine forms found fossilised within the surrounding rock. I was interested in the fact that the mountains are limestone, a sedimentary stone made from detritus which has sunk to the bottom of seas and rivers and is therefore full of fossilised shells.  These layers of sediment are compressed to form the rock which has  been forced upwards and now form the mountains which surround Colletta.  

Thinking about this, I found various repeating forms within the town. Most distinctive are the beautiful arches and when the light moves through them,  the changing shadows echo the natural forms found in the rich and fertile landscape -  winding pathways and streams running through the valley, fig trees laden with fruit growing in the stonework and gardens and everywhere the ground was covered by fruit, nuts and seeds.

I found myself wanting to make a sculpture which would not only reflect the natural beauty of the place, but would also invoke reflections about its origins.

As an artist I am motivated to make sculpture which reflects the beauty of the natural world.  At the same time, I hope that the work has sufficient ambiguity to allow the possibility for various different thoughts and interpretations.  I like to create forms that can be more than what they initially seem to be. 

I would like to make this sculpture using Ancaster limestone.  This stone is quarried in Lincolnshire.  It is a beautiful stone with varied colour.  The stone is full of many tiny fossils and is very weather resistant.  I plan to visit the quarry to choose the stone myself.  Depending on what has recently been quarried, I would hope to find a good, sound boulder which might either contain a mixture of ochre and blue stone or contain strata lines within a more evenly coloured warm brown stone.  The scale would depend somewhat upon the quarried block chosen, as the sculpture takes form from the natural properties of the material.  I would hope to make the finished piece approximately 60cm high and wide and 80cm long (depending upon the maquette chosen).  This can only be a very rough approximation at this stage.

The making of a sculpture is a process of creativity, therefore, whilst I have initial ideas for the finish of a piece, by the time the end form is reached, the stone may dictate something unexpected.  Texture is important, especially with simple forms and I would hope that a combination of smoothly polished surfaces and hand-worked  rough surfaces would be appropriate for the final sculpture.  The smooth surface brings out the different colours and highlights the strata and fossils within the stone.

In May 2011, Anna Best, Clive Best, Neil Burgess and Bruno Noble accompanied Jude to the Glebe Quarry near Grantham in Lincolnshire to select a piece of Ancaster stone.  Ancaster stone is a beautiful, multi-hued limestone that exhibits yellows, oranges, pinks and grey-blues.  Andy Smith, the quarry co-owner, explained that Ancaster stone dates from the Middle Jurassic period and is an oolithic stone (ie made from carbonate particles that formed around fragments of shell or sand) that had been a sea bed some 160 to 200 million years ago.

Visiting the quarry and seeing so many magnificent cut rocks led to our losing our sense of scale: by the end of the day, Jude had selected a two-tonne rock and the finished sculpture comes in at 70cm high and wide and 120cm long. 

Jude started work in earnest after the summer; an assistant helped her with the initial shaping of the stone before she took over defining and refining the shape she wanted.  She worked outdoors on it over the winter months and just about finished the sculpture in February, leaving only a 'strut' in place to minimise the risk of damage while the sculpture was transported from her workshop near Stratford-upon-Avon to Colletta.

The best of Jude's work manages to be both representative and general, sometimes of flora and at others of fauna, always both earthy and universal, always elemental, alive.  It captures her personality, which is to say it is grounded in the everyday organic stuff of life yet open to ideas and somehow reflective of people's greater aspirations.  

Jude has called the sculpture 'Wavespell'.  'Wave' harks back to the the facts that both the Ancaster stone and the mountains surrounding Colletta were once below the sea, the latter before Italy 'detached' itself from Africa and 'bumped' into Europe.  A 'wave' also denotes gentle movement, too, and a greeting, a welcome.  'Spell' captures both a period of time - millenia, in this case - and an enchantment: the enthrallment Colletta casts over its visitors.  'Wavespell' is borne from Jude's quite personal response to this unique village and will resonate all the more profoundly in Colletta's gardens for it.

More photos of the quarry and of the making of Jude's sculpture can be seen here.

More of Jude's work can be seen here.  

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