Despite the ravages inflicted by Storm Ciarán on the new flood barrier artwork along Swanage seafront in Dorset, the official launch of the art trail went ahead as planned.
The temporary concrete blocks, put in place over the winter by the Environment Agency to prevent flooding, were not installed in time for Storm Babet and then pushed across the road like Lego bricks by Storm Ciarán.
Left to right: Artist Lynne Dinmore, artist Tom Phillips, Swanage town mayor Tina Foster, the mayor’s consort Leslie Parkinson, artist Andy Knill and artist Sophie Jenkins
Scratched and warped, the panel by Andy Knill shows the damage that the power of the sea can inflict
Damaged overnight by the weather
Sadly, this meant that some of the 70 panels of artwork attached to the concrete blocks that the artists had spent weeks creating, were damaged overnight by the weather.
However part of the point of the Flooding Swanage with Art trail was to raise awareness of the need for a permanent flood defence along the lower High Street, by The Square and on The Mowlem slipway, and that’s certainly been achieved by the project!
Bravely continuing with the official launch on Friday 3rd November 2023, the day after Storm Ciarán, the artists were able to see how the power of the storm and flying debris had inflicted deep wounds and scratches on some of the panels.
Come rain or shine, the official launch of the Flooding Swanage with Art trail went ahead in The Square
A moving art installation! The concrete blocks pushed out of line after Storm Ciarán
Artwork tells the story of the power of the storm
The work of Swanage artist Andy Knill caught the brunt of the storm but he took a philosophical approach. He said:
“We’ve decided to leave the damaged artwork in place to highlight the power of the storm. I’d love everyone to come and see for themselves the scratches inflicted when this huge concrete block was moved across the road by the wind and the waves – it’s quite hard to believe without seeing the evidence.”
Andy is running free guided Talking Art Walks starting from his art studio on Commercial Road in Swanage from 11 am to 12 noon on:
- Friday 24th November 2023
- Tuesday 19th December 2023
- Wednesday 24th January 2024
- Friday 16th February 2024
At the launch, artist Andy Knill (left) chats with Dorset Coast Forum project officer Sara Parker (right) who came up with the idea for an art trail
Left to right: Andy Knill, Sara Parker and Hatty Greenway planning for the art trail back in the summer
Helping the visually impaired
The art trail was also a way to respond to the findings of a disability report commissioned by Swanage Town Council that highlighted that the barriers were too grey for the visually impaired to safely see the contrast between the blocks and the pavement.
Dorset Coast Forum project officer, Sara Parker put forward to the Environment Agency a proposal that would highlight the blocks adequately and provide the community of Swanage with an art trail project on a large scale.
Working with visually impaired local resident Hatty Greenway, the art trail idea was developed to help solve this issue, raise awareness of coastal flood protection, and bring more colour to the seafront over winter. Hatty said:
“I love Swanage, it is a wonderful place to live! My reason for joining the art trail project was to help make Swanage more visually accessible for everyone with a disability and bring it to life.
“It has been a pleasure to be part of the project. I hope the trail makes everyone see the beauty of Purbeck in a whole new light.”
As well as the painted panels, there’s also information about the art trail in braille which has been produced on a ceramic tile by artist Lynne Dinmore.
The tactile tiles created by Lynne Dinmore. A tile with information in braille will also be part of the art trail
Art imitating nature by Sophie Jenkins
Meet the artists
Lynne Dinmore is a ceramicist, working from her family home in Broadstone in Dorset. She studied ceramics at Poole College where she obtained a City and Guilds qualification in 2006. She works equally with earthenware, stoneware and porcelain, building with slip, coils and slabs and an infusion of oxides and glazes.
She has also explored the fun of pit firing and raku. Many of her pieces are linked intrinsically with Dorset and the river Stour, using local grasses and plants that she presses into the clay. She has had several exhibitions and she sells through local shops. She currently belongs to a group of local artists that sell through the National Trust.
Sophie Jenkins, born and brought up in the Midlands, has had a passion for art from childhood. She completed a degree in art and design at Nottingham Trent University and then travelled the world with her sketchbooks and camera.
She then settled in Brazil, teaching art in a school, running her own English school and also painting and designing signs for many local restaurants, shops and bars inspired by the tropical location. Now based in Swanage, Sophie works as a teacher alongside her painting which includes a series of seascapes that show the ever-changing mood of the sea and sky along the Dorset coastline.
Jessamy Keily is a Dorset based artist who likes to explore the patterns and colours found in nature. She loves working in minute detail and gains inspiration from her time spent in and by the sea.
Working primarily in inks from monochrome beach scenes to bright jewel abstracts, her ocean themed works can be found at local stockists and events, and in homes around the world.
Andy Knill is a Swanage based artist who has a shop AndyKnillArt Studio in Commercial Road. Andy used to live in Essex where he was a geography teacher for 28 years with a special interest in physical geography and how it impacts on people.
He moved to Purbeck in 2016 and left teaching to relaunch himself as a self-taught artist drawing in marker pens. Andy’s work includes lots of local landscapes and seascapes viewed from both the land and the water. His interests in sailing and kayaking allow him to understand the dynamics of the bay and he has been watching storm events here since 2016.
Gina Marshall is an artist and the owner of Purbeck New Wave Gallery in Swanage. She began painting in 2013, joining the Isle of Purbeck Arts Club and having lessons from Sharon James at L’Artishe in Swanage. Over the last ten years she has drawn and painted more than 300 pictures.
She is inspired by the beauty of the Purbeck area and uses a technique which draws elements from zentangle, tapestry and embroidery, pointillism, and linocuts.
She uses bold colours in ink with detail added by using POSCA pens. She has an additional technique where she draws an entire picture with gel pens, formed from tiny motifs such as fish, clouds, blades of grass and even sheep!
Tom Phillips is a self-taught street and urban contemporary artist who creates large murals, stencil art, crazy framed graffiti pieces and sculptures using upcycled materials.
Tom works on private commissions and community projects. He was recently a finalist in the Bristol division of the international live art competition Art Battle.
- Find out more about the art trail and the Swanage Town Coastal Protection Scheme
See more work by the artists: