Re-imagining the Circle

The challenge for our young artists has been to respond creatively to the associations and folklore of this special place; prehistoric ways of life, crafts and animals; abstract ideas of form, colour and texture; and deep contrasts of ancient and modern.

The challenge for visitors is not just to enjoy the sculptures, but also experience the stone circle in a different way. Even well preserved monuments seldom reflect their original form: this stone circle was once a continuous ring of boulders with only a narrow entrance opposite the tallest stone. The design is not local but
similar to stone circles found in NW England, which may well be the origin of the community who built it.

Sibford School

The pieces representing the knight and the witch, evoke the famous petrifaction legend from which the Stones take their names: when the King could not see Long Compton the witch turned him and his followers to stone, while she became an elder tree. A third piece, the bridge, recalls the farmer who took a stone to bridge a stream.

Glory Farm School

A mandala (Sanskrit: “circle”) is a spiritual Hindu and Buddhist ritual symbol representing the universe. It is especially appropriate to use this form here as a way of reflecting the special spiritual and ritual space that the stone circle represents.

Sibford School: Wicker and Fabric Series

This sculpture project by young people uses art to fill gaps in the King’s Men stone circle, recreating its original sense of enclosure.

Glory Farm School: Mandala Series

Bure Park School

To an imaginative mind everyday plastic discards — crates, waste pipes, drain junctions, flower pots
and bits of inner tube—make great materials for ready-formed legs, hooves, heads, bodies tails and fur. Some wild animals of the time of the Stones became extinct locally while domestic species are now today’s
rarest breeds.

Bure Park School: Upcycled Plastic Series

When we approached schools and youth groups with the idea of reimagining the stone circle through sculpture, we had little idea of how many would want to take part; what their take on the project would be; what would inspire the children; or how they might be mentored to create interesting, evocative and imaginative pieces.

We gave them a presentation about the Stones that illustrated a lot of different aspects of the site that included past art inspired by the stones (including previous sculpture projects), connected legends and folklore, flora fauna and their place in prehistory, as well as highlighting abstract notions of colour, shape, contrast etc. We then left them to it under the mentoring guidance of three talented professional artists, Merlin Porter, Emily Cooling and Anne-Marie Cadman.

What has emerged from the primary schools who elected to take part are three very distinctive and powerful approaches that are immediately recognisable. The fourth group of works by other groups and an individual young artist are all equally distinctive in their own right.

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