Wednesday, 25 November 2009

The metal tree

I don't always know what to make of Blackburn's sculptures. They are something of a mixed bag. Some are very beautiful, some aren't, some are badly situated and some are visually impressive until the local newspaper tells you how many notes the sculpture cost. Blackburn is a working town; you cant get away from that. My family can trace its way back at least two centuries and find hardly any ancestors that weren't cotton weavers at some stage in their lives. The mills are gone but the town still prides itself on its industrial heritage. Many of the sculptures here have some social or industrial connection. There seems to be very little celebration of nature. Even the Bee Hive (one of my favourites) could be interpreted as celebrating the industrial nature of the bees and how they work together for the common good.
This metal tree even seems hard pressed to escape connections to the steel producers that our town is also famed for, with its plane polished surfaces, its riveted on leaves and pipe trunk and branches. This one also seems to have been hidden away among the bushes at an out of the way spot between the retail and industrial parks of Whitebirk. Perhaps it once had a more visible spot and was moved to make way for a larger more showier sculpture - I don't know. It does seem to me to be somewhat outclassed by the beauty of the bushes and trees that surround it. I think nature generally will win these comparisons regardless of the quality of the sculptures. And maybe planting a real new tree could well be just as creative as sculpting one.

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