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I love Cannon Hall. It is close to our home, and we go there regularly, both to the farm and to the gardens. Even before my son was born, I loved what I thought was a gothic ruin at the bottom of the garden. Yes, sometimes I'm not particularly bright. Just how several massive church arched windows would appear around the pond at the bottom of a manor house garden, I'm not quite sure...anyway! For me, it was a no-brainer that Cannon Hall would be the first folly to be realised. At first, I had plans for lots of little glass people scaling the windows, however, I quickly realised that the sheer scale of the folly would make any 'little person' look rather diminutive.

So, what to do? They're windows. What do we do with windows? We look out, we look in...we sit by the window and wait. Maybe not so much now, but I'll never forget the snow storm of 2009. My husband was very late home, after picking our son up from nursery. I grew more and more worried - we live on top of a hill, and have been snowed in more than once. Finally, more than an hour after they were due to come home, a figure emerged from the driving snow - my husband, our son wrapped under his coat, forced to walk a mile through the snow storm. I sat by the window for that hour, unmoving, willing them both home, into the warmth.

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So, I don't want to go into too much detail right now, but I wanted to create a window, to commemorate all those people who may have sat at some point and waited for somebody to come home - full of worry, like myself, or full of joy, bursting with news. But I had to measure the stone arches to make sure what I had in mind would work. So, I worked out a frame size that would suit the project. Of course, I could have just taken a tape measure and jotted everything down, but where would be the fun in that? Instead, I decided to enlist a little help!

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You see, it's not a gothic window - it's a shield! At exactly the size I need. It's a little bit smaller than the gap, but I can live with that. And I can also live very well with the able assistant (sorry, knight!)  holding it. Hint: If you ever want to avoid questions from the general public, enlist a three-year-old's help. No matter what they do, it's pretty much accepted. So when we had a little look to see whether the shapes of window and 'shield' matched, there were no raised eyebrows, no questions - just envious other little boys - and I apologise to any parents who were forced to create a shield for their child as soon as they got home!

So, now I have a spot, a shape, and an idea, and I'm in the studio creating. I need a larger kiln than I have for this one, just one of the many problems I'm sure I will encounter (and hope to pass) on this project!

 
 
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Today, I received confirmation that Wentworth Castle Trust are supportive of my suggestion of a 'folly for a folly', namely to dress up the folly Stainborough Castle (the one in my banner, and to the left), with a 6-9m long trail of glass 'Rapunzel' Hair. I didn't want to start anything unless I had the go ahead, but the truth is, I've already been up the abandoned tower of Stainborough Castle, trailed a long, builder's type tape measure out of the top window, and started planning how to suspend approximately 600m of 4mm borosilicate rods from a listed building.

This 'planned visit' followed an informal recce with my trusty co-planner, who, at age 3, usually has some sort of pithy comment to make - upon seeing the castle, he said 'can we stay the night?' I think he may be disappointed, because the sculpture will be for one day only, in May or June 2012. This blog will be used to continually update the whole project, however, as more follies come on board, I hope to create a 'story page' for each, which will give a brief outline of the where, when, how, what, and why. I am incredibly excited to be getting going!