The name – and my unveiling notes

Heirs and Ancients has it! By a good margin, with over 120 votes. There were 200 people at the NT Northwood event on the dull half-term Wednesday. Faces of the South Downs Photographer Anne Purkiss dropped by and took an image for posterity, recording the people – Hannah Woodhouse, Bob Epsom, Mike Imms and the sculptor, who received the virgin block on that cold morning in 2014.

My notes for the unveiling follow; referred to after Hannah Woodhouse’s introduction and prior to David Hunt’s unveiling of the stone.

A commission by the National Trust has allowed 35 days of outreach to Slindon visitors – and to tell them more about the Rise of Northwood.

A sculpture has resulted.

We scheduled those days very carefully to make contact with people; over 14 months in 3 separate calendar years.

we have moved the stone to 8 different locations, turned it 4 times… and it has involved 1350 of you, tapping away with mallet and chisel, wearing safely goggles…or talking about the forms you see in the stone

it has GONE LIKE CLOCKWORK – a major logistic operation – so all credit to Hannah Woodhouse and the other National Trust Rangers, staff and volunteers, and to the contractors who have moved the stone with dexterity and precision

its resistance to erosion will mean that it will mark Northwood and the memory of John Springthorpe Hunt – whose bequest has made the restoration possible …. for a long long time.

Both the new woodland and stone are monumental, but created in many small yet persistent actions by kind hearted people

My carvings rely on the block being opened up quite randomly, before pictures and stories start to imprint on the forms of the rock. This results in far richer imagery than if things are pre-planned

the old Sussex word BEHOWTEL – letbehowt’will  – sums it up – let the consequences be what they may.
Two quick stories to account:
on Day 15 at Gumber, a tiny tree was carved upside down on the top edge of the block, as one boy had listened to me talking about the block being turned. It still exists

the Pynn family from Worthing turned up for the last public carving day, after having been at the 5th session carving and planting trees a year earlier and having followed the slindonsculpture.wordpress.com sculptor’s Journal to keep up with news
won’t it be good when rather than just the sculptors descendants, HUNDREDS visit in 100 years time to say: ’my Grandfather or grandmother made that!’

I have been quite surprised at how the block’s stories have stayed very close to home, despite the great cultural connections unearthed around the Northwood area. (I’m talking to the Petworth Society 7.30 tonight about some of that, if anyone is interested)

Remember to vote on the names over lunchtime…. but ideally after you have looked at the stone, walking around and seeing what YOU can see. The hard work has now been done by me and my 1000+ apprentices – now it’s time for you to see what it means to you!

Jon Edgar 17/2/16