Over the past few months whilst we have all been learning to live with the Covid-19 virus, an amazing art installation has been slowly emerging in Crock Lane. It all started with a rainbow with a dove suspended beneath it and has bloomed into a stunning creation that brings joy to all who see it.
Since then, the man behind it, artist Ian Williams, has allowed his creative juices to flow and the result is truly wonderful. But where did the inspiration come from? The Covid-19 pandemic has been in the background throughout the whole process and there is a subtle message of hope and renewal underpinning it all. Stylistically the influence of artists Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee and Georges Braque are clearly to be seen in the work.
The dove, for example, is a symbol of peace and hope but is clearly an homage to Picasso. His dove became a symbol for the Peace movement, and for the ideals of the Communist Party, after it was used to illustrate the poster of the World Peace Congress in Paris in April 1949. In the same month, Picasso named his fourth child ‘Paloma,’ the Spanish word for ‘dove’.
Other inspiration has come from simply observing and being in tune with the natural world around him. When Ian started work on his creation, the birds were just beginning to build their nests and by the time he was putting the finishing touches to it the next generation had fledged. I was particularly taken by the blackbird feeding its chicks.
Another source of inspiration has been the people around him. One day, his neighbour’s children came home very excited from a walk and told him all about the Greater Spotted Woodpecker they had seen. That thrilling moment is now recorded as part of the installation. Another neighbour is a nurse and key worker.
Observing bees flying in and out of a hole in the wall close to his gate inspired Ian to beautifully craft the scene and incorporate into one of the installations.
A ‘pondscape’ forms the base of the largest piece which takes the form of an arch. This stunning creation, as with the other arches, was installed in its current location with the help of Ian’s neighbour Ged Stocker. The image below captures a small part of it and once again the level of attention to detail is astounding. For example, what to the unknowing eye are random white forms with black dots, are actually frog spawn on the left and toad spawn on the right – both correctly fashioned. There is a mini life cycle in this small section for you to discover.
There are several of these dove nests along one section of hedge. They are all different and have been installed in a precise way to tell a story. When you visit see if you can work out what story is being told.
Driving past you catch a mere glimpse of something beautiful – mainly rainbows and doves as you speed along – but there is so much more to see and take in. As Ian said to me “Every little piece you see took more than 5 minutes to make and you need to spend more than 5 seconds to look at it” I could not agree more, a quick glance from a car window as you drive past is insufficient if you are to fully immerse yourself in the intricacies of what you see before you.
I took my daughter and her young family for a walk along the road to see the installation when they visited us a few days ago and they were absolutely enthralled. I only had to point out a couple of little details and my grand daughters were soon excitedly spotting things themselves and eagerly telling me about them. Have a look at the video she sent me as a memento.
Parking in Crock Lane is extremely limited. If you are planning on coming to see the Doves of Crock Lane I encourage you to do so on foot. Incorporate a stroll along Crock Lane into your daily exercise regime or take your children out for a brisk walk in some fresh air.
Most importantly stop and take time to fully appreciate and begin to decipher all of the little details and messages incorporated the inspiring creation before your eyes. I am fortunate to live close by and regularly walk past and every time I do I see new things and marvel at little details.
I have purposely not shown you any images of the full installation, that is for you to discover when you go to look at it. Apart from the little gems I have already mentioned here are some other things to look out for and think about why they are there and what they represent: a black dove, an upside down duck and a key.
Remember the more you look the more you see.