Seed Transcript

Audio Transcript
Seed by Andrew McKeown
Duration: 03:30


This giant sycamore seed in St Philips Place is Seed by Andrew McKeown. Andrew worked with the local community to get ideas for the site.

Artist: 00:13

We were working with the local community, the people in the Angel Centre. I talked to some of the homeless groups in the cathedral. I worked with the children from St Philips Primary School on ideas, workshops, sculpture workshops and then sort of developed their ideas from there into the final piece.

Narrator: 00:36

So just why did he decide on a giant sycamore seed?

Artist: 00:39

I’d visited the site and I think it was autumn and the square is surrounded by sycamore trees so there were lots of sycamore seeds on the ground and when I took the children over they were picking things up. They were quite interested in those; they did some ideas using the sycamore. I had an idea there that the sycamore seed could also link to the classical architecture; maybe it could look like insects wings, bee’s wings. Bees were featured on the armorial bearing of Salford city.

Narrator: 01:12

Andrew’s ideas were also echoed in the materials he used.

Artist: 01:16

Well I could have made it out of galvanised steel and painted it for example or I could have got a blacksmith to make it but I really wanted it to be quite tactile and look very similar to a real sycamore. Using wood and carving the original pattern or shape myself was what I wanted to do rather than hand that over to a blacksmith to interpret, which I think would have looked very fabricated and hard edged. I’ve always been inspired by casting and mould making so it was a desire to make a casting on a larger scale. Cast iron is fantastic and it was a reference to the engineering and manufacturing industry of Salford, the bees of industry, it was trying to make that connection with the material. As well as it being a relatively cheep metal to use, something in bronze for example would have been maybe two foot high or three foot high for that budget. It’s very durable and resistant to vandalism. My father was a steel worker as well and I come from an iron and steel making area in Teesside. It’s nice to be working in that material.

Narrator: 02:33

So what does the artist himself feel when he looks at it now?

Artist: 02:38

Sometimes the first idea is the best. I had that idea, made a model and I just thought ‘that is what I think is right for the square’. It’s often one that people do like when I do presentations and especially children and so on. ‘Oh a helicopter!’ I do like it even though it’s probably one of the more literal sculptures that I’ve created over the years as well but I hope that people might be able to read into some of the other references that, certainly I was inspired by and motivated by. The new seed to signify the potential growth and future regeneration of Salford as it was part of Chapel Street Regeneration Project.¬†

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