Amblehurst Green, Billingshurst

Detail from one of the houses – with Buttercups

The new development in Billingshurst incorporates the remnants of Hammond’s Mill, The mill stands as a reminder of a previous way of life when there was a network of farms and bakeries with the mill at the centre of activity.  The land has since been used for hay and the fields have a tangle of grasses with mature oak trees dotted along older boundary lines.   This now forms the public open space running through the parcels of new housing being developed.

The artist, Helena Roden, has developed a series of sculptures that are inspired by the chaotic tumble of the grass lands compared to the neatly mowed lawns of the neighbouring gardens. There are three forms; a traditional ‘stook’, a contemporary circular hay bale and a shed.   Each form is neat and tidy on one side and deconstructed on the other.  Placed within the open spaces they will form navigational devices to characterize areas within the otherwise anonymous fields and invite investigation and exploration.

The creation of the public artworks has been a series of unfortunate events; waiting for soil heaps to be relocated, lockdowns during the pandemic, waiting for foundations to be installed, finding illness interrupting work programmes. Finally the works are underway, materials are delivered and large scale shaping of sheet metal is underway. The images here indicate the scale of the smaller ‘green houses’ and a February will see the works finally installed.

A series of workshops invited Billingshurst residents to participate in creative activities and the ideas for the project were shared at a series of talks and exhibition. The works are due to be manufactured later in the year.

Commission: Amblehurst Green

Artist: Helena Roden, Blacksmith: Gideon

Materials: forged steel, painted

Location: Billingshurst – public open spaces through the new development ‘Amblehurst Green’

Client: consortium for Amblehurst Green, comprising Persimmon Homes, Bellway Homes, Devine Homes


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