26 Augusta Street in Llandudno has a nice, new staircase. The rickety, old one was recently replaced during renovations. This big, old building (a former RAFA club) had four floors of curved hand rails, chunky newel posts and multiple variations of bannister spindle.
We were invited to incorporate the old spindles into our work, making pieces especially for Llawn01, the first Llandudno Arts Weekend Number 1.
It took a while to decide on a design. Inspiration came via seashells (thanks Kathryn & Isobel), as well as basketry spirals and corn dollies. The repeating shapes formed by numerous maquettes came to suggest the pattern of treads on a spiralling staircase.
We carefully calculated angles, incremental lengths and construction joints.
As they were filthy, chipped and full of nails, we decided to pare the antique spindles back to their original state by removing the various layers of paint and varnish. This revealed the bold stripes of resinous pitch pine, which was wonderfully aromatic when cut.
Then came the labour intensive task of re-shaping each spindle to our exact specifications…
…and forming the hexagons that are the bones of the piece.
The end was perfectly punctuated by the top of a newel post, also from the building.
Then we filled the large, finished structure with Loglike wooden fruit forming a ‘Low-res’ cornucopia, or seasonally appropriate horn of plenty. It was shown during Helfa Gelf at the Haus of Helfa, an exciting, temporary art space, open during September 2013.