It is a matter of yards from the Jesmonite UK head offices to this beautiful sculpture of elephants with their trunks entwined. It is the work of artist Christopher Groombridge who was commissioned to create the latest in a series of sculptures around Bishop’s Castle as part of the March of the Elephants art trail. Chris has worked with Jesmonite for many years, but this was the first time he used the AC730 and the terracotta finish.
“A lot of my work is about understanding human and animal forms as a landscape,” he said.
“For example, looking at the lines or wrinkles of a face and how a different angle can reveal mountain ranges or ravines - exploring the contours and gradients of a natural form,” he said.
“An elephant’s skin is perfect for this, but I also wanted to create a piece that engaged with people. Some may view it and just think ‘that’s so cute!’ while others might really relate to the interaction of care from mother to child.
“Jesmonite worked really well to get the texture of the skin. It was more of a challenge using a different kind of Jesmonite, but I am very pleased with how it has turned out.”
He added: “I love using Jesmonite, mainly for its environmental credentials and from a health and safety point of view, it is also fire rated so great for hanging indoors.
“A lot of my work is in relief to go on the wall so Jesmonite is perfect for this in its lightweight form. I then make the sculptures look a lot heavier and metallic with the finishing.
“The material is versatile and, in many ways, underrated, I enjoy using it for a range of projects and this elephant sculpture was no exception.
“I am very pleased with how this has contributed to the overall trail around the beautiful town, it looks great on the white background and you really can’t miss it!”
The March of the Elephants aims to create an innovative world-class elephant-inspired walking art trail to showcase the skills of local artists. Artistic director Bamber Hawes came up with the idea of using Jesmonite for one of the sculptures because he knew how well the material would work for this project and he was proud of the fact that the UK headquarters were in Bishop’s Castle too.
He said: “I am a big fan of Jesmonite, it is an important and world breaking material.
“It is surprising how many people don’t know that it is around the corner in Bishop’s Castle so that’s one of the reasons I wanted to use it.
“This is the first of our elephant sculptures that has used it and I am very pleased with how it has worked out.”
The entwined elephants are the eighth project to feature as part of the trail and more are to come. You can find out more about the Bishop’s Castle March of the Elephants here. Chris Groombridge continues to create intricate and exciting designs from his studio and sell them on his website, including fantastic book ends which are rams heads and a relief panel featuring three horses heads, both of which are in Jesmonite.
For more information or to buy the sculptures he creates visit his website here.