Mary’s Shell, it may look ordinary but I think it might be anything but.
Not all the locals are fans of the artwork that over the past years has sprung up on the beach and prom. Largely citing money spent by the council that could have been spent on more pressing things and the like, It is a a subject that divides and causes cross words over the odd pint by good mates in the local pubs… apparently.
Being that I am not largely a political creature I love some and I dislike some and try to base my judgement on it by how they make me fee personally when I see it rather than the cost issues (and I learnt today that Fisherman’s Friend have matched the councils contribution for these particular pieces of artwork by Stephen Broadbent, so good on ya Fisherman’s Friends!)
The sculptures that adorn the Cleveleys end of the prom are based on a book called ‘The Sea Swallow’ by the children’s author Gareth Thompson (Illustrated by Hannah Megee.) We have the book, and my daughter loves it. She has met and been inspired by the author and given that this rather lovely fictional tale is so special to where we live I really love that they have chosen that subject to base the artwork on.
Some of them I admit I am not a great fan of. The recent big wooden paddle is great for climbing on and I can see the lads and lasses from the skate park directly opposite it loving it long time but I have yet to be inspired to take a photograph of it. The sea swallow sculpture at the main entrance of cleveleys prom I find a bit bland, it gives me a bit of a crick in my neck to ‘take it in’ and I largely walk past it without as much as a glance.
Mary’s shell though. Oh now, I do like this a lot.
It looks just quite normal if not a little odd viewed side on, a bit like a big old slug heading for the water but get close in the right light (I have not got close in the right light as yet I hasten to add) but I can just ‘tell’ how this gorgeous thing will glow and give and end up being a photographers dream. Which sadly for me means that there will be a billion trillion photographs of it adorning my timeline on facebook. So many that I will eventually get sick of the sight of it let alone be inspired to try and get a decent shot of it so I shall enjoy it whilst I can.
Today was the first time we went to see it properly and to be honest there were so many people there it was hard to get any decent images of it, but I think that one of the things that I like about it is that it just cries out to be got in, climbed on, hung off, swung on and jumped off. It is open, friendly and tactile. Probably a few arms and legs will be broken as kids leap off the top of it, they may even take an eye out on the spike on the way down but hey, that is what memories are made of before political correctness got in the way right? I like that. No, I don’t just like that, I love it. I wan’t to see my kids sliding down it at a billion miles per hour, interacting with art and maybe getting a bloody knee in the process like what I did, I will not be suing the council if that happens although I might draw the line at a broken back.
I feel as if we need to need to enjoy the freedom of this quite quickly and as much as we can right now before some tree mother hugger ends up making them put boundaries around it and none of our children can enjoy it ever again because Tarqjn scraped his knee a bit and it bled.
Apparently in the original plans it was meant to blow water out of the tip during certain times of the day as well although having viewed it compared to the original plans I am not entirely sure how that can happen… I could be wrong and god, I really do hope I am.
So, the side view gives nothing away really but get head on to this beauty and things start to change. They open up and you can see there are a billion angles that will give shafts of light and glistens of sea. You can see the ebb of the winter high tide flowing over and through it as it rises twice a day from high tide, the sunrise and sunset peeking in and around it, there is also the sound that will come from within because as usual acoustics play a huge part in the design of the bigger features on the seafront so on winter windy days sitting in this structure will bring amazing sounds. There are also curves and twirls that are just delightful and the engineering of it is just rather beautiful.
So, my first viewing I have to say, I love it (and to be honest, I have not really ‘loved’ many of the others and it is fair to say that we will be visiting this a lot over the changing seasons and yes, we will be sat inside it wearing our winter coats in December for sure.