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      Richard Layzell – Didcot      
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spacerarrow Introduction
spacerarrow The Window Wall
spacerarrow Perforated Panels

spacerarrow Love Handles
spacerarrow Everyday Jewels


Love Handles

The workshops with Style Acre provide continuity, even in the stasis. I run further sessions with a much larger group who meet weekly at a community centre in Didcot. Disco is often on the cards. I'm convinced that casting handles in bronze is the way to go, following on from some dynamic work in clay in an earlier session at Style Acre.

I take examples of possible materials along to the group. There's a clear message from them. Metal is too cold to the touch and they prefer wood. For later sessions I have wooden forms shaped by a wood turner to the approximate dimensions of the handles and we also explore colouration.

We'll produce three sets for the building: two for the auditorium doors, one for the dance studio, with a fourth matching set for their own Style Acre building.

And that's what's produced a few months later at Butlers of Willenhall, near Wolverhampton, before a brick is laid in Didcot. These handles have to be made now or the money will be lost. I'm there to oversee the templates being turned in pine. They arrive in London in gleaming hardwood a few weeks later.

I then have a large cardboard box containing four sets of turned and finished ash handles sitting in my studio for three years. I'm starting to think of how to incorporate them into something else when the news comes in that the builders are finally on site.

Ironically, after caring for them for so long, I wasn't allowed to install the handles myself at Cornerstone on the inappropriately grey painted auditorium doors (whose decision was this?). But shepherding the act was almost enough. The stewards who open the doors will take them to another place in their history.

We made the formal presentation of the Style Acre set of handles at Cornerstone, after the building had opened. Several of their clients came along for a tour and a social, including Jenny, who'd seen the project through from start to finish. It was her improvisations in clay that had sparked off the whole idea. Again, events had overtaken the time delays. Style Acre were about to move out of their building and weren't sure where their next home would be, so their handles would go into storage…

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