Public Art Research Archive, Sheffield Hallam University

Ian Cooper
'Vulcan', 1989
Graves Park

Graves Park on a bank opposite the 'Poggy' bench. (A-Z p. 111 6E)

'Vulcan' holds a bird high in his right hand, the bird's flight indicated as a spiral counterpoised to Vulcan's body. The tree stump is about 20 feet high, the upper portion being carved.
Update [Feb. 2001]: The carving is in remarkably good condition but the tree trunk beneath is beginning to deteriorate significantly.

Sheffield Recreation Department.

Artist recalls that the sight of starlings swirling round the statue of Vulcan on the Town Hall, in particular seeing one perch on the thunderbolts, was the inspiration for his piece. Their upward flight seemed conceptually linked to the city undergoing change, and Vulcan's attributes of thunder and fire as well seemed related to both its past and future "It (Vulcan) was an appropriate symbol for the city, for the direction in which it was heading." Because of the height of the piece from the ground the artist worked from scaffolding built up around the tree stump. Cooper speaks of a studio space, 8' x 8', and having to carve from the top down with no way to step back to look at the piece. It was awkward talking to the public whilst trying to carve on a platform 10 feet above their heads. The piece has appeared on a commercial postcard produced by Hedgerow Publishing of Abbeydale Road, as one of their images of Sheffield.

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Last updated September 5, 2006