International Sculpture Center
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John Atkin

Wheels of Time
November 2014
197 x 98 x 12 inches
Stainless Steel

This commission reflects a landmark gateway set of architectural gates, which are bespoke to the locale of Stourport on Severn in the West Midlands. The redeveloped retail site was formerly a carpet factory, where the production of carpets dated back several generations. The industrial inventory of cogs, levers and pulleys associated with the production of carpets, as well as other pieces of equipment became the focus of my research. Stourport is also renowned for its canal heritage, which stimulated commerce throughout the UK and overseas. The canal systems have recently been restored to their former Georgian splendor, creating an exciting heritage destination point for visitors to Stourport on Severn. This history is also significant to the research that fostered the development of my gateway sculpture, The Wheels of Time. The use of different grades of stainless steel, as well as direction of polishing, deliberately creates increased levels of perceived space within the composition of the sculpture. The mirror-polished stainless steel reflects the colours and vibrance of pedestrian traffic, shimmering like reflections in the waters of the canals. Two thrust bearings facilitate ease of operation of the 3-ton gates; via stainless steel cylinders that contain carefully calibrated thrust bearings. The opening of the gates has clear analogies to the Lock systems that govern the flow of water through canal gates.