Block Works

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Block Works is the latest concept based practice from Alison Little: comprising of a series of sculptural forms which represent areas of urban residence. An ethnology process where collections of discarded objects are cemented together in block form. The artefacts are selected and encased in the common urban material offering an explanation of those who occupy the city space, their lifestyles and methods human existence.

Everton Block Works engages our attention with the towering form of the engine suspension system, reflecting the second-hand car culture commonplace within the area. Several narcotics smoking devices emerge from the upper surface, indicating drug use within the external environment. Homelessness or the misguided pursuits accountable as youth culture. Contrasted by the healthy activities of dog walking, shown by a lead and enhanced by an exercise equipment suspension spring. An adjacent feather shows the ever present urban pigeon, commonplace within cities globally. The top surface encases a heavy industrial ring, accompanied by screw findings, rope matter throughout the form. Manual work being common with local inhabitants. Child’s playthings are present, but items from £1 stores from lower-income families. The edges of the block are lined by food consumer packaging waste: crisp packets, fizzy and alcoholic drinks cans. A suburb where the unhealthy diet is prominent and drink alcohol a persistent activity. The greens and greys of the blocks finish reflect the mix of residential and urban green space which dominates the Everton area.

The top section of Anfield Block Works is entangled by the dynamics of a discarded cable. Other electric wastes reflect a culture where the inhabitants are happy to discard debris freely. An array of drinks top illustrates further examples of poor diet, however, an exercise water bottle top suggests healthy activities. This is joined by a dog toy and tennis ball, positive pursuits within a leisure space. Again, a pigeon feather evidence of urban wildlife. Examples of gambling additions within the district can be drawn from the miniature blue pen of the bookies. Wire wool, cable systems and sponge matter indicating manual tasks occurring within the outdoor spectrum. The Liverpool football stadium ‘Anfield’ being a central hub of the district. The inflatables from matchdays, the drinks straws from spectators present in the block formed in the shadows of the Kop. The final colour showing a degraded range of greens and blacks, an urban green space heavily polluted by the traffic of the stadium.

The Block Works Collection with expand across the city and further afield. More collections with be collated, encased and presented as representations of the city and occupants.

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Lister Steps Up!

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Last weekend for Heritage open day the former library, Lister Steps throw open the doors for the public to see how the £3.9 million restoration project was progressing.

Lister Steps, the Andrew Carnegie library, based on the corner of Lister Drive and Green Lane in Tuebrook, Liverpool, was opened in 1905. The building was funded by the wealthy philanthropist: Andrew Carnegie, it became Grade II listed in the mid-eighties due to being of architectural and historical interest.

After serving as a functioning library for over a hundred years it was forced to close in 2006 due to health and safety concerns. Under the period of closure, the library suffered from theft and vandalism in addition to general neglect. The major damage was as a result of the lead flashing being stolen from the roof, resulting in rain waters flooding the interior. Severe damage to the timber structure was to follow.

After a small grant in 2014 to run a feasibility study for restoration a large scale funding bid was progressed. In 2016 a £3.9 million grant was awarded from Heritage lottery funding, Liverpool City Council, Hemby Trust, Eleanor Rathbone Foundation and Power to Change.

The final development is intended as a community Hub offering; childcare, café, meeting space, hot desking, events and services for the community including volunteering opportunities. The exterior ground looks to offer a variety of landscaping. The customary formal garden and traditional lawn, but also wild woods, the green credentials of allotment planters and a faraway land designated for use with the youngsters of the nursery.

H.H Smith Construction was offered the renovation contract, utilising many trades including those with traditional craft skills. Currently, a large pod has been set up inside the building to allow for work to continue. The foliage of the grounds has been cleared fully to allow for new planting from next spring. Flood damage and dry root are being repaired, internal structures and staircase put into place. The original high windows which were ideal for the bookcases of the library are being lowered in the nursery area to bring light in at child height.

A great start, we will look forward to developments!

More about Lister Steps

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in the woods

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‘in the woods’ was a commision proposal for a nature trail to be sited near Alder Hay hospital by Alison Little.

in the woods….
Trail, Woodland Walk, Springfield Park, Knotty Ash

Specifications

The trail looks to present a selection of 15 signs based on an element of nature, wildlife, insects and local history relevant to Springfield Park.

Each signpost to measure around 150meters high in Oak. The top section of posts to be hand carved with either a creature, plant or feature related to the specific sign presented. The services of a woodcarver to be engaged, the finish to be left rough, not finely polished. On the first appearance, walkers may get the impression they have been carved randomly not commissioned craft-works. This is to be complemented by a matt lacquer giving the forms a natural woodland finish.

The signboards are to be A2 and landscape in design. Printed directly to Dibond with an enamel coating to ensure they remain graffiti free. The ‘in the woods…’ logo to be drilled directly into the Dibond then to incorporate the use of small prisms to reflect sunlight either within the holes or on adjacent nature growth structures. The logo has an interactive potential for visually impaired visitors, place braille panels to be added to the lower section of the signs.

Each sign to focus on a different element of the ‘in the woods…’ trail, the design shown has focused on wild garlic. There is great potential to work with local schools and community groups in workshops for slogan generation, image production and using recipes with wood foraged from Spring field park. The results of these workshops to be incorporated within the graphic design of the signage.

carved squirel copySign Board copy

More about Alder Hey in the Park

Eco Chamber Marks it’s Territory

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Last week saw the arrival of the various components which will make up the Eco Chamber arrive at Rimrose Valley Country Park. Nestled into the appointed hill they have carved out a route over the brow. Each component is made from re-claimed tyre rims with additional textures of biodegradable plastic bags added using a heat seal process. Next week after a much needed few days of rainfall the Eco Chamber will be built into the landscape.

The Eco Chamber is part of the Rimrose Valley Art Trail as part of the Biennial Independents. Seven artists will present works throughout the Park. Alice Lenkiewicz will transcribe poetry directly onto the pathway in the Goodness Trail. Throughout the Biennial, Sarah Nicholson will present Ir/revocable adding to the entrances of the prominent greenspace. Then in September, after an exhausting walking challenge on the continent, Sarah Jane Richards will bring us Willow Nests.

Environmental Art at its finest, activism to Save Our Park!

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A Light from Above

Ogdens image copy

A Light for Above is a Flash fiction piece written by Alison Little, potentially to be used for the opening of a short story or Novella, the text is read by herself. All characters and events are fictitious and not based on real life. 

Reading of text by Alison Little

In the distance, she can see the tower of Ogden’s rising over the West Derby Road. The nights are beginning to get dark sooner as the winter approaches, but tonight twilight is nearing even earlier in response to the waterlogged clouds charging across the Atlantic. She is soaked again, still wet from the afternoon downpour, a quick snack had followed, now she was out again in more flood like conditions. As the traffic charges by on route to the finer suburbs, she does not bother to flinch away from the puddle water lash as there is no point. Her clothes are soaked through, her underwear is stuck to her and her hair is itching against her rain-soaked face. Trainers squelch and split out fluid from all sides as she tries to hurry forward. Equally to the rain, there is the discomfort of it being a warm evening, a second soaking from the clamminess of perspiration, bad weather clothing needed to be worn on a humid evening.

The lights are on in Ogden’s shining from the tower, the pains of the glass looking degraded from decades of road pollution from the dual carriageway. She can envisage them in there, waiting for her, conspiring their next plan. She was there to meet her Brother and his wife, she only met him when it was necessary, the last time being their Fathers funeral. They had to sort out the financial matters over the ownership of the disused factory. As she enters the code, a simple 6666, Damien plus an extra one, had been the same since the Seventies. Light beams down on her from above, she feels exposed, her clothes stuck to her, will her brother be able to see her nipples or the curves of her thighs through her fitted black trousers? She fastens her coat tightly around her to disguise her body. The light seemed to suggest it was her fault everything had been exposed, what was supposed to remain hidden was now in the open.