Introducing 5 minutes with… Steve Messam… I’m an artist, I work for myself and I am presently working on PaperBridge for Lakes Ignite 2015.
Who is… An environmental artist. I create large-scale temporary art installations in amazing rural locations all over the world. I have been creating temporary artworks in Cumbria and the Lake District in particular for the past ten years. Previous pieces have included three thousand sandcastles on the beach at St Bees, a reflective raindrop the size of a three storey building, and an oversized kaleidoscope that you can sit in and look over a lake. My work is based on the surrounding landscape and looks to explore and uncover the layers of narratives that make up landscapes. They’re not really sculptures, but interventions… designed to be seen within the wider view.
Tell us more… This year for Lakes Ignite I am building a full-sized bridge in a remote location made entirely of sheets of paper. The Paper Bridge is bright red and made from nearly four and a half tonnes of locally made paper.
Why is this special to you… I always enjoy creating new works in the Lake District. It has a long and important history in changing the way we look at and understand landscapes and creating work within that is part of continuing that story.
What can audiences expect… A big bright red bridge made of paper in a very special location! The walk from Patterdale to reach it is part of the experience. The journey slows down your pace and gets you to look again at the landscape from many different angles. It’ll only be there for 10 days, then it’ll be gone forever, but I hope the memory of that once in a lifetime experience will be a long lasting and special one.
If you could name only 3 unmissable cultural hot spots or events in the Lakes – what would they be… The ‘Grot’ at Rydal Hall – this is the oldest purpose-built ‘viewing station’ in the UK. A little pavilion that frames the view of a waterfall. This little building inspired countless artists, writers and thinkers and changed the way we look at landscapes forever. There are the musical stones in Keswick Museum – a real musical instrument made out of bits of mountain and you get to actually play it too. Finally I would recommend the life-sized willow pattern painted on the side of a house in Gilcrux. The blue willow tree taken from Chinese porcelain designs was painted by local ceramic artist Paul Scott in 2007. You can find out more about the project here
And after a cultural adventure in the Lakes, where would be your ideal place to eat or stay… Easy. Pizza and jazz at Zeffs in Ambleside.
And we just have to ask.. if you could choose one view in the Lakes where would that be… There are so many to choose from. The one I use the most is Wordsworth’s Point on Ullswater – it’s where the lake turns a corner so you get two very different views from one point.
PaperBridge will be in the Grisedale Valley, OS grid ref: NY 362 144 from 8 – 18 May, find out more here
To enjoy this event and much more, book your break in the Lake District here