Design and Artwork

Design and Artwork....

Meet the Maker: Andrew McKeown

'Oak and Iron’ - the Land of Oak & Iron Heritage Centre entrance sculpture takes the shape of a double helix. The sculpture is fabricated from more than fifty rusted Core Ten steel spheres and it stand five metres high. 

The sculpture aims to highlight the industrial heritage and the stunning natural environment of Derwenthaugh Country Park. ‘Oak and Iron’ appears industrial yet natural and organic, industry and nature combined. One strand of the double helix features raised pattern work taken from the molecular structure of cast iron and the other strand is sculpted with raised patterns derived from the microscopic wood cells of Oak trees. These different patterns are united by the continuous shape of the spheres and the rusted steel surface which is also a reference to the ironworks that once stood on the site.  

The idea for the sculpture by the artist Andrew McKeown came through work with Winlaton West Lane Primary where Andrew and fifty year five children explored the history of Winlaton Mill and Crowley’s Ironworks, and the natural environment of Derwenthaugh Country Park. Andrew and the schoolchildren looked at the theme of iron and oak, how they could be connected and intertwined, woven together. Many ideas were explored, and created by the children and artist.  
The shape and idea of the double helix was the one that was selected and developed into the final sculpture.

The double helix shape offered a means to create the height required in the brief, while the two strands allowed both the oak and iron textures to be incorporated. The steel spheres bind the sculpture together and give it strength and unity. The repeated sphere forms could be a reference to mechanisation and the industrial revolution; process and reproduction or biological cell division and natural growth.  
Combining microscopic elements of both Oak and Iron within the sculpture may lead people to think about the hidden beauty and similarities within natural and industrial processes and how with a little help new life can be created and natural habitats restored and regenerated once the industry has gone. 
It is hoped that the sculpture will make people think about the history and the future of the site and that different interpretations will occur at different times to different people. The ‘Oak and Iron’ sculpture aims to change and grow over time in people’s minds like the story of Winlaton Mill and the Derwenthaugh Country Park and how this has changed and grown over the centuries.   
Andrew and the schoolchildren also designed the car park Press Sign, Cycle Stands, Drainage Grille and Planter text. 

Drainage Grill

Timber Planters


Find out more about the Land of Oak & Iron here

"Oak and Iron" Sculpture


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