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Breathing new life into the Irwell Sculpture Trail: 3 new sculptures launched

Date uploaded: November 28, 2011

Breathing new life into the Irwell Sculpture Trail

Three new commissions announced

As part of the relaunch, the Irwell Sculpture Trail are delighted to announce the addition of three new sculptures to the trail.

The Irwell Sculpture Trail, which spans over 33 miles, is the largest public art scheme in the UK. Winding its way through Greater Manchester and Pennine Lancashire from Salford Quays to Bacup, it features around 70 artworks by local, national and international artists in rural and urban settings that provide some unusual responses to the local history, people and landscape.

Started in 1993 to contribute to improving the environment and encouraging cultural tourism, the Irwell Sculpture Trail has been given a new lease of life by a grant from Arts Council England aimed at developing it into a major visitor attraction in the North West.

The latest addition to the trail is Ron Silliman’s text piece From Northern Soul featuring the line ‘Poetry has been Bury, Bury good to me’. Recently unveiled at Bury Metro Station, it comes from the American poet’s new work, Northern Soul, written after a visit to Bury in 2009. Ron Silliman, a major figure in international poetry, worked on his single huge poem, the Alphabet, from 1974 to 2004. He is now working on a second long poem called Universe of which Northern Soul forms part.

In development is a piece by Mark Jalland, whose well known sculptures in Radcliffe’s Close Park have become popular landmarks along the trail. He is currently working on a new sculpture for Openshaw Park in Bury and early this year carried out a workshop with pupils from St Thomas Primary School, which sits next to park. The pupils came up with the idea of a bunch of balloon-like dogs hovering in the air anchored by steel rods to the ground after spending the day putting papier-mâché and painted decoration on inflatable dogs.

Another work in progress is by Jack Wright who is creating a decorative fence for the Ashfield Grange housing development in Bury. Carved in oak, the fenceposts have been created to resemble ash twigs and metalwork. The top of the fence has been cut out to form the compound leaves of an ash tree in a nod to the name of the development. Work is underway on the fence and it will become part of the trail very soon. Wright previously created Nailing Home in Radcliffe, a key piece along the trail.

The trail is currently under development and work will provide a series of suggested walks throughout the trail, providing information on artworks, places of interest and other cultural attractions. Providing a great day out for all the family, whether on foot, on a bike or accompanied by a four legged friend, the trail provides a fascinating backdrop to the local landscape.

Innovative new technologies will bring the trail to life with on-site digital interpretation. A new website will provide interactive and downloadable maps for the new routes, audio tours and MP3 downloads.

The Irwell Sculpture Trail is managed by a partnership between Bury Council, Lancashire County Council, Rossendale Borough Council and Salford City Council.

Some of the highlights of the current trail include:

  • Tilted Vase by Edward Allington in Ramsbottom town centre - Inspired by the Industrial revolution, the British sculptor’s landmark sculpture is a classical vase bolted together to look like a machine. 
  • The Lookout by Tim Norris in Clifton Country Park – Carved into the bank of the Clifton Marina, The Lookout provides a quiet place to contemplate and rest.
  • In the Picture by Richard Caink in Rossendale – Located in picturesque Irwell Vale, In the Picture plays on the traditional idea of landscape paintings by providing a picture frame for the rural setting.

Visit www.irwellsculpturetrail.co.uk

Tilted Vase by Edward Allington in Ramsbottom town centre

Tilted Vase by Edward Allington in Ramsbottom town centre