finding one’s place in the world
The first stage of work is complete for Hill33 - a 1,300 tonne, 11-metre tall earthwork for the Forest of Dean. Now the structure and the forest will continue to form the work as it settles into the woodland, finding its place in the world. Hill33 is the result of a very unusual coming together of people and places, some literal and some alluded to.
David Cotterrell’s vision evolved from numerous personal experiences. When tasked by the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust to respond to the unique character of the Forest, it evoked for David memories of seeing Mayan temples hidden in the rainforests of Central America. These memories merged with those of being a war artist at Camp Bastion and Sangin, Afghanistan. During David’s early research in the forest, the military and industrial heritage of the Dean became apparent, and eventually these seemingly disparate experiences informed the development of Hill33, resulting in an equally (seemingly) disparate group of people working closely together for almost a year.
Hill33 was envisioned by an artist; funded primarily by the Gloucestershire Environment Trust; located in a woodland managed by the Forestry Commission; constructed with a material engineered for other uses; and built by the 100 Field Squadron of the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers. It is one of the most ambitious land art projects in the UK in recent times.
With passion and determination, and a degree of risk, the work’s existence has moved from being geometrical CAD drawings on a computer to the monumental sculpture that is now Hill33. Nature does what nature does, and to borrow a term that our structural engineer introduced to us, all materials will find their ‘angle of repose.’ This can be seen in the structure now, as it finds its place in the world. The HESCO Concertainer units frame and direct the movement, which will gradually cease as the coal-spoil settles and the landscape recovers from the assault of the build. When the ground is dryer it will be landscaped, and growth will return, eventually embracing Hill33 and surrounding it. At present it is still raw and may even be a little shocking, but it has been designed to return to the forest, and given time it will do so. Like Shelley’s Ozymandias, it is destined to return to its source, obscured by the plant life that takes root in its soil.
The journey for Hill33 is just beginning - we will watch it with interest over the years to come.
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angle_of_repose The angle of repose, or more precisely the critical angle of repose, is the steepest angle of descent or dip of the slope relative to the horizontal plane when material on the slope face is on the verge of sliding. This angle is given by the number (0°-90°)
You can also view the time-lapse film of the build online here
The design for Hill33 was informed by Cotterrell’s memory of seeing Mayan temples hidden within the rainforests in Central and South America, an influence that can be clearly seen in the way the sculpture nestles in the woodland. Hill33 is made of HESCO Concertainer (trademark) units, which are used by the Army to build shelters and large-scale defence structures in Afghanistan, as well as for civilian use - such as providing the protection around Tewkesbury water pumping station during the floods in 2008. David Cotterrell’s first sight of HESCO was when he was based in Afghanistan as a war artist, commissioned by the Wellcome Trust
Rebecca Hooper: student placement from The University of Gloucestershire
Rebecca installed two works discretely in locations along the Sculpture Trail, as part of a series of the displacement of eight, identical and anonymous, handmade bricks, in eight chosen locations around Cheltenham, Gloucestershire; depending upon a relationship between materials, buildings and/or the history of that area - see if you can spot them.
Echo by Annie Cattrell
Annie Cattrell’s first public artwork, Echo, is absolutely landscape and absolutely not landscape. Cast from 310 million year old rocks, it evokes a sense of the subterranean - touch it and discover the detail with your fingertips.
Echo celebrates the life of Jeremy Rees, one of the Sculpture Trail founders, as well as our 21st anniversary.
The Forest of Dean is one of the most ancient and beautiful woodland areas in the country, with a fascinating history. The Sculpture Trail is a fantastic way of exploring the area as well as to gain an understanding of its industrial past.Previously an area of mine-workings, the forest has been transformed by sculptures made by international artists, including David Nash, Cornelia Parker, Ian Hamilton-Finlay and Neville Gabie. The artworks provide a unique encounter with site-specific sculpture in a wonderful forest environment. The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust also host temporary events on the Trail, alongside commissioning new sculptures and working with communities.