Awards, Colour, Exhibitions, Steel

Earlier in the year, in March we found out my husband had won the Public Art Award, FIRST@108, then began the process of making the maquette a reality from a scale of 1:6. Finally right on time, the photo was taken and sent for the publicity at the end of August. This impressive piece will be installed outside The Royal British Sculptor Society in anticipation of the private view on October 30th 6.30pm. We now need to arrange a trip down to London for the event.

The piece is a reminder about how we evolve through our lifespan from infancy to ultimately death and how the energy within us changes us physically. Each minimal figure represents a time span and the colour symbolises that. The subject given for the competition was ‘Transmission’ and this large-scale now looks like a transmission wave, representing the mysterious transmission within us that we either acknowledge, abuse, neglect or take for granted. Still to be polished, transported and placed in situ, it has a journey to go but it has come along way from the start, as an idea in a sketch book long ago to a maquette on our kitchen table. Now evolved into a piece of public art.

The FIRST@108 Public Art Award 2013 Winner’s Exhibition at the Royal British Society of Sculptors runs from 31 October 2013

Evolution and maquetteEvolution7 Evolution 6
Evolution 5Evolution 4
evolution 3Evolution 1

‘Can’t see the wood for the trees’

Colour, Soul searching, Steel


studio 3

‘The Studio’

studio busy

‘Getting Ready’

studio image

Not much space left…

The studio is full, not much space to move around. Whilst those around us have taken vacations we have stayed put and created, flown kites and played on the bikes.

I had a rare day today, I went to our business and my husband had the boys, ‘Freaky Friday’ I was calling it, like the film but it wasn’t at all Freaky. It was great.  I did some lovely peaceful things and then returned home and took the boys to the park and it was such a different experience with fresh eyes. (I wonder what I would be like after a week!)

It made me think about something I listened to recently about, the importance of seeing the forest before going in and deciphering the conifers, the elms, the oaks…. I don’t think it is entirely possible to do that in parenting but having a little ‘break away’ meant today I came back with renewed patience and could somehow deal with both boys individually rather than ‘the boys’. I enjoyed them in the moment as children.

In parallel and more to the point the studio is full with all the pieces ready for a photo shoot tomorrow. The decision process about what goes in and stays out of the solo exhibition will then begin. My husband was saying yesterday that he can visualise the exhibition space, he can see the sculptures in it. He just can’t see which ones they are. Some how he needs to be able to break away from it, to stand back and see the ‘wood from the trees’.

PS. Just literally had a very ‘freaky’ moment, where after explaining to my husband the meaning of my ‘post title’ as I am finishing up writing this the film in the background my husband is watching I just heard the line, “forest from the trees, forest from the trees’.

“Laugh, Cry, or roll your eyes”…

Colour, Conceptual, Making

I love this tag line, used by a dear friend and fellow blogger who writes at  ‘Life in Marrakesh’ and would highly recommend reading it. I have borrowed the ‘Laugh, cry or roll your eyes’ as it was so appropriate for many reasons.  A few weeks ago, in the school playground when I was talking to a mum and friend as we were collecting children, I was speaking about how busy my husband was and I apparently did a meaningful, ‘roll of the eyes’. My friend said this definitely had to go in the blog. I thought it was a great idea but then kept forgetting to put it in. How  ever, since then my ‘roll of the eyes’ has got ever so more heart felt and so it needed its own post.

Today the boys and I are at our business, ‘Arabesque’, whilst my husband is down in London again (roll of eyes). No, I don’t mean it in a begrudging way at all (honest). It has to be done and it’s an exciting trip as a piece has been pre selected for The Threadneedle prize, we just have to pray it gets selected to the next stage on Thursday. I also have no grumbles about being in the shop but with two young boys, one in the middle of potty training it is a bit testing. And tested I have been with three messy accidents and only two pairs of shorts. I really wasn’t planning for so many ‘caca’s’ this morning. So my only solution was to cut the netting out of the swim shorts which happened to be my spare pair of shorts, in order to use them again and to prevent a half-naked child( like those in the East end in the 1950’s) running around the shop. I just hope the delivery guys and customers in today don’t get a strong odour passing under their nose. Not a good business look. I have sprayed the air freshener continually but I think I can permanently smell it (Laugh or cry?)

After a testing couple of hours with the youngest I somehow managed to rock him to sleep and lie him on a table-cloth I had brought for picnic lunch, lunch for the boys I may add. I am doing this on a fasting day with 3 hours sleep. Not that I am complaining at all. Actually I think I have had many blessings in making it an easy day considering. We are also one week into the six-week summer holiday and we have managed a few small outings so far but with the sculptor working all hours it is hard to find a little time to sit and write.

Last week saw another trip to London to deliver pieces to an art consultant and at the end of the month another trip for the Cork Street summer exhibition. This is all at the same time as continually making pieces for the FIRST@108 exhibition in October. The work in progress are the images here;

'The Question'

‘The Question’

The Ride

‘The Ride’

I have come to the conclusion my husband is some sort of bionic man working all ours, though he  does get exhausted and is finding getting the balance of work and life and faith a test, especially in this month. I am hopeful that this week and in the coming weeks we will start to see the hard work pay off a little. Can’t decide if I will laugh, cry or roll my eyes if it doesn’t!

Busy, Busy, Busy….

Colour, Exhibitions, Galleries, Making, Public Art

Have I called a post entry that before? Perhaps, but it’s not been as busy as this. I can’t write quick enough for the amount of work my husband is doing at the moment. This weekend we need to collect the pieces from the Red brick Mill in Batley and bring back pieces from London to get ready for their next visit… busy busy busy.

tall evo

‘standing tall – evolution ‘adult’ piece

ready for shoot

‘Ready and waiting for the photo shoot’

In reality…

Colour, Egyptian, Steel

‘ Evolution’

…my husband is working in our kitchen shop by day and in the studio by night. In other words, he is working flat-out to get things ready for the FIRST@108 award. This is the ‘ elderly’ stage in the ‘Evolution’ piece. We are as a consequence both feeling a bit like this stage at the moment.

sketch cruelty

‘Sketch of cruelty piece’

This is a sketch for one of the ideas in development for the solo exhibition.

cruelty ready

‘Cruelty’ ready for photo shoot

and now in reality, ready for photo shoot.

In a more sobering reality things are not good in Egypt. So we are watching Egyptian news to find out more…

‘Evolution’ is evolving

Making, Philosophy, Soul searching, Steel

This morning the wet damp clouds hung heavy over the hills here in Yorkshire, creating an almost hazy fog interrupted with lush green trees popping through the grey like thought bubbles. Made me think of my husband’s mind! The sun broke out this afternoon and turned into a lovely summer solstice, and the sundown will be around 9.30ish here. It’s amazing how the longer days really shift the rhythm internally and externally.

I am very much ‘The Sculptor’s wife’ at the moment, as the sculptures for the solo exhibition and the large-scale sculpture which will go outside the Royal British Society of Sculptors are all in various stages of progress, and taking up my Husband’s time. The lighter evenings giving an extra momentous for working in the studio.

‘The base complete with holes’

The ‘Evolution’ piece has now been welded and has been moved to the studio. Where they congregated like a family;

evolution waiting in the studio

‘Evolution’ waiting in the studio

The surface is polished and smoothed before the painting, at least he is wearing gloves this time!

preparing fro spray

preparing the surface for spraying

The first to be sprayed was the fist stage in the series of ‘transmission’ the infant. Tonight, my husband has got back from painting the last in the series death’. When he came in he immediately starting telling me that the results had been announced for The Cork Street Gallery summer exhibition, shaking his head and looking all disappointed.I tried to quickly remember what this was all about and he told me the pieces and then said “when I scrolled down to ‘S’ these were the three pieces they had chosen! (I think we entered 6) So it was exciting to find out we have been shortlisted, but now some more form filling and delivery of works and the process starts again.

We often want to see the end product of something, get to our destination, get the result, but most often it is the journey, the process, the ‘evolution’ and evolving of ourselves through the process that is the most important thing.

First to be sprayed – infant

FIRST@108, work in progress

Exhibitions, Public Art, Steel
evol progress

‘Evolution’ in progress

I thought I would just update about the progress for the FIRST@108 Solo exhibition and public sculpture. Earlier in the year, in March it was announced that my husband had won this award and since then he has been busy getting on with the making. The exhibition isn’t until October but deadlines are tight. Images of the finished pieces need to be done by August. So here is a little cheeky glimpse at the winning piece, the maquette now enlarged in it’s full size. This is one of the pieces that could be in the solo show. I say ‘could’ as we have selected 5 ideas from sketch book to make but there could be some changes at the last minute.

studio progress cruelty

‘Cruelty’ – first stage


‘part of the process’

‘From Donald Winnicott to the naughty step’

Colour, Connections, Exhibitions, Making, Mother and Child, Philosophy, Public Art, Soul searching, Steel

‘The mother, ready for paint’

'head in colour'

‘head in colour’

'in colour'

‘in colour’

'from the side'

‘from the side’

'The child'

‘The child’

'In colour'

‘In colour’

'Mother and child' ready for polishing

‘Mother and child’ ready for polishing

'Mother and child'

‘Mother and child’

'Mother an Child' in the studio

‘Mother an Child’ in the studio

‘From Donald Winnicott to the naughty step’ was broadcasting as I drove home last night from meeting up with a group of friends I hadn’t seen in a while. The night sky was still light so it was a lovely spring evening drive back and I found this fascinating and felt in total agreement with what was being discussed. “Seventy years ago the psychoanalyst and parenting expert Donald Winnicott first broadcast his idea of the ‘good-enough mother’; the mother who wasn’t perfect and was free, to some extent, to fail. From 1943-1962 he gave some 50 BBC broadcasts. Aimed directly at mothers, they had a profound impact on popular ideas about motherhood.”

In tandem I was thinking about writing about the progress that was being made for the pieces for the solo exhibition as part of the FIRST@108 award. Up until now I have mostly written about finished works and only occasionally  the process but actually now there is a need to document the process running up to the exhibition in October. The first piece for the solo exhibition is a reoccurring theme both in colour and subject, as are the discussions like the one I was hearing on the radio about;

Mother and Child

Winnicott’s ideas seemed to fit perfectly with this piece, “the idea of the body as important and needing to be taking seriously in bodily complaint but also the part the mind has to play in organising those or influencing them or producing them.” In the sculpture we see the mother in pink but if we look closer there is a subtle difference between the ‘body’ and the ‘mind’.  The mother is facing the child, the indicators of eyes from the tiny holes suggest visual contact. So important in seeing the child from a psychological point of view as well as a bodily and physiological one.

It is one of the reasons I find it so easy to write about the sculptures my husband makes, in that they visual pictorial observations of human society, the human condition. Winntcott observed and was alert to the tiny signals, observation and listening to mothers and he documented this. It was almost mesmerizing listening to his strange dictation played back and it connects so well with this sculpture.

He spoke of the child being separated from the mother, “you are always an isolate, by the time he is born he has had experience both pleasant and unpleasant” which is visualised in this sculpture. The baby separated visually, literally from the mother yet fitting like a puzzle into one shape.. I can see this but I also think in the first three years there is a slow physical and mental detachment from the mother in to the ‘world’. The child in this piece also looks like a step, the naughty step we so often here spoken of today. Winnicott tells mothers to trust their instincts and I think in general I do. In some ways it is the only thing I am fully impassioned and feel confident about. It irritates me when that is thrown off-balance. That can so easily happen in today’s society where we have all kinds of information and view points being bombarded at us. The questions are the same now as to the time he was speaking, and we seem to be in a constant battle between those very strict methods and ideology  a pose to more gentle approaches which I would class his as.

There are lots of mothers out there writing about motherhood and here are three I picked out of a bunch;




I do think we live in a society which down plays the importance of the role of the mother. We seem to focus on the wrong aspects. I would highly recommend listening to the programme and see what you think. Either way, it is one of those subjects which is going to be endlessly discussed and analysed. Some people write about it, some people analyse it and some people depict it. This one is to be polish and put aside ready for exhibition in October.

The morning follow up….

Colour, Public Art
'Receiving the award'

‘Receiving the award’

Last night was so very exciting, when I talked to my Husband he said the Judges told him it was a unanimous decision and they decided the minute he stepped out the door. “He is a breath of fresh air in the art world”. Today they announced “An exciting yet challenging few months lie ahead for sculptor Sam Shendi who has been awarded £10,000 towards the cost of producing his large-scale sculpture, which will be exhibited for the first time in the Forecourt of the Royal British Society of Sculptors in October this year. Congratulations!

The jury were looking for a realistic and achievable proposal, an innovative and exciting concept and very importantly, someone who would maximize the potential of this career-changing opportunity. Sam Shendi ticked all of these boxes and convinced the jury that they deserved to win this prestigious award.

The five Finalist’s maquettes, all interesting and exceptional in their own way, can be viewed at the Royal British Society of Sculptors from 31 January – 29 April 2013 Gallery open: Wednesday – Friday 12.30 – 5.30pm (or by appointment)

The website says that The winner of 2013 FIRST@108:

  • will be awarded £10,000 to create a full-scale sculpture based on their proposal and maquette.
  • be contracted to produce and exhibit the work at the RBS in South Kensington, London from October 2013 for three months with a possible later exhibition at another London venue.
  • have the opportunity to be mentored by an RBS sculptor with substantial experience in public art commissions.
    At the same time The Affordable Art Fair also had a preview last night and my husband has work there. This morning he rang me and within the conversation he said a friend of his had ‘tweeted that he was talking to Bob Gelllloffffff whilst looking at his work. Did I know who he was…?? No. I was a little perplexed, how would I know who he was. “The Guy who sings for Africa” he said Oh Bob Geldof!There have been numerous messages of support on twitter @SamShendi. So a really HUGE thank you to all the lovely support. I am so proud, really is an understatement.

    To see work at the moment they will be showing with Stark Gallery, stand K8 at the Affordable Art Fair ,Battersea Park, London
    7 – 10 March 2013AAF



Exhibitions, Public Art

“It’s so exciting” my boy said this morning, “isn’t it exciting, don’t you think it’s exciting, Mama”? He was speaking about the beautiful heavy falling snow. It wasn’t so exciting to start sliding on the hill home. So I parked at the bottom of the hill with a car full of huge shopping bags and then had to heave them up the hill with a toddler. However, it was a bit of an adventure. It was so exciting to go sledging with my eldest boy, just the two of us this evening after school. I wondered if he was overly excited but would get too nervous about doing it but in true child like spirit, he laid on the sledge and away he went. Fearless at falling off and eager to find the best positions. I suddenly had inspiration and got on to and then we were heading down the hill formula one style (almost!) It was great fun!


We got this through today, exciting! However, we are knotting ourselves up with nerves, excitement,hope and worry. I say ‘we’ as I feel I have been infected with anticipation. Gone, has the child like fearlessness. We are sledging into the unknown. If you are in London then do please drop in and take a look. After all, “it is so exciting”.