THE BEESTON SEAT was designed as a quiet meditative resting place at the centre of a busy shopping street. The idea was encouraged by the borough council's use of bees and other visual puns, seen in the existing street furniture. ('Beeston' is actually a name for a local marsh grass).
A particular set of urban needs were identified as part of the design brief: a difficult pedestrianisation; continuous subterranean services; a will for inner-city re-generation; a wish for a meeting place; and above all a need for a symbol for the town's identity.
With the beehive, tree trunk, and hedges - it brings a piece of countryside into the townscape - whilst responding to the formality of the paving design.
Sioban invented The Beekeeper - a 'local hero' - fit for the purpose (along with an implied history!). Quietly smoking his pipe, he is just the fellow to sit and muse with. Always calm, he knows it's unwise to rush at bees ... or at life.
THE BEESTON SEAT also provides two benches for passers-by, over seventy bronze bees, two wrens and two fishes in the hedge.
The image of the BEEKEEPER has also been used to identify the town. In 'Poems for the Beekeeper' he was used as the focus for an anthology of poems from an annual festival held at nearby Nottingham University. There are numerous anecdotal stories of the 'BEESTON BEEKEEPER'. He has 'arrived' in Beeston Society.
THE BEESTON BEEKEEPER
Sioban's BEEKEEPER was modelled on Steven Hodges, a friend who has that timeless ability to exude calm when all else are succumbing to stress. Maybe his years spent on the sea have instilled a sense of proportion in him or maybe he just looks the part?
A stack of mail from residents confirms that the BEESTON BEEKEEPER has been absorbed into the life of the community.
This piece was commissioned.
This piece can be viewed by the public.
Medium: Ferro-cement; Re-inforced Concrete; Re-constituted Stone & Bronze
Edition size: UNIQUE
Collection: Beeston High Road, Beeston, Nottinghamshire. (Collection of Notts County Council and Broxtowe Borough Council)