In 2013, Plymouth City Council commissioned seven waymarkers for the improved Plym Valley Walking and Cycling Heritage Trail which links Saltram Estate to the Plym Woods, via Marsh Mills. This was a particularly interesting project for me for several reasons. It was an opportunity to collaborate with metalsmiths Thrussell and Thrussell of Bodmin, Cornwall - as I work alone a lot of the time, it was refreshing to be involved in a joint project. Also glass and steel are such different materials it was exciting to bring them together, and we hoped that each would enhance the other.
It was a chance as well for me to learn more about casting glass. The galvanised steel frames would offer some protection from potential damage, but even so, we decided to make the glass inserts about 40mm thick, for safety. Glass of this thickness needs a mould to keep it in shape as it melts, so it was a different way of working for me.
The circular shape of each waymarker was formed by the leaping salmon and the locomotive wheel, natural and man-made elements to be found in the Plym valley. The central panel of each is unique - the metalwork links with features in the landscape and the history of the area where each sign is located, while the glass areas of each show different skies and their reflection in the river.