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Weaver Bird

Project Year

2019

Client

Darwen Council

A piece of public art like no other- Weaver bird stands proud and tall residing over the newly renovated market square in Darwen, Lancashire. 

The impressive sculpture sits in the heart of the exterior space which hosts large scale outdoor events, the area also boasts landscaped areas, seating and artwork honouring fallen Darwenian soldiers from WW1 

The bird was designed and created by head of Lazerian- Liam Hopkins with the culture and history of Darwen in the front of his mind

Close up of the weaver bird public art sculpture showing details of its face including beak and eyes. in the distance you can see one of its wings. Background is a blue sky scattered with clouds

Working closely with the people of Darwen was always at the forefront of the project with their stories and heritage inspiring the creation of the bird enormously. After extensive conversations and research of the area it was interesting to see how much the history of Darwen is revered. With this in mind an obvious connection began to form.

After hearing many stories about the iconic India Mill (which is a chimney that dominates Darwens skyline and was built to resemble an Italian bell tower) and Darwens geographical surrounding with the moors the connection to create the weaver bird came to life.

The chimney at India Mill is home to a bird of prey who has nested in the structure  -the Peregrine Falcon. The copper sculpture is based on the Peregrine Falcon in honour of the birds that have made Darwen its home.

It was designed so that the bird sculpture would have no feathers to represent Darwen and its changing textile industry. Stripped back to the core (both the industry and the sculpture) it epitomises the reduced production the town now operates with.

 

Another iconic piece of architecture in Darwen was inspirational in the positioning of the public art sculpture. High on a hill in the distant skyline is the Jubilee Tower, which was built to partly commemorate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee and also partly to celebrate the success of a campaign to open the moors to the public. The arrangement of the copper statement piece is connected to India Mill as several Peregrine falcon nest in the mill
Close up of a public art sculpture of a falcon weaver bird made from copper stood in the market square of Darwen. The weaver bird public art sculpture is facing the iconic Jubilee tower in Darwen

Another iconic piece of architecture in Darwen was inspirational in the positioning of the public art sculpture. High on a hill in the distant skyline is the Jubilee Tower, which was built to partly commemorate Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee and also partly to celebrate the success of a campaign to open the moors to the public. The arrangement of the copper statement piece is located with its head facing towards the tower.

The connection between the contemporary sculpture and the historical architecture of Darwen is considered and intentional. It was important to give the people of Darwen something that will be as treasured in years to come and admired as much as the commemorated and preserved surrounding structures.

Heritage Inspired Creation

Side view of a piece of public art in Darwen. A large falcon bird made using weathered copper and using a new weaved technique.
The Peregrine Falcon represents the people of Darwen, the bird is strong and resilient as are the many members of the town.

The Peregrine Falcon represents the people of Darwen, the bird is strong and resilient as are the many members of the town. Many residents travel miles and even migrate but they always seem to favour the place they call home. Which has obvious parallels to the nature and lifestyle of the bird. 

 

It was important to the council to not just commission a piece of public art to attract visitors to the area, or to help local businesses by doing this but they also wanted the views of the Darwen residents to be at the heart of the plans. As with many public art community lead projects this is essential and therefore several art and design experience opportunities were actioned. Incorporating Lazerian ‘On the Road’ (brief description) was a unique and memorable way to do this. The 1950’s citroen HY Van was taken to the market square to create bespoke art styled portraits mixing handcraft techniques with modern technology to create this but more importantly it also gave people the opportunity to share their tales whilst being photograph This was the perfect antidote to combine all these elements together in an interesting and contemporary way. 

Side view of a piece of public art in Darwen. A large falcon bird made using weathered copper and using a new weaved technique. Looking at its head and neck area