River benches


Artist: Zoë Cull & Alex Evans
Location: Courtyard outside PFI building

Three hand-carved benches in Portland stone by Zoë Cull and Alex Evans reflect the theme of a ‘swirling stream’ in both their form – the meandering curves of slate and rippled surfaces – and in the lines of poetry exquisitely carved into the stone.

Zoë said, “The benches are intended to provoke thought and to provide inspiration and pleasure to those who use them. The forms and textures of the pieces is important and users are very much encouraged to touch them.”

The bench with slate inlay suggests the languid atmosphere of a river winding through summer meadows, with the slate ‘water’ slipping gently over the ‘falls’ at the ends of the seat. The split bench represents the geological impact of the river on the landscape, literally carving the land as it goes and the bench with the hole makes visual reference to the ripples caused by a stone being dropped in the water.

The lines of poetry were written by poet-in-residence Rose Flint and are integral to the finished benches. The appearance of each bench relates specifically to the lines of poetry inscribed on it and provokes thought about both the overt meaning of the words and also the deeper underlying sentiments.

Poem for stone seats

Avon, Ebble, Bourne, Nadder, Wylye
shining rivers
carry light
sun moon star
light into land
and hearts of people
whose lives
wind through green hills
where hares race over primrose and trefoils
and trout snooze beside rushes
where larks sequin the air with songs
and herons gaze into crystal
rivers of life
connecting us all
in circles of brightness
with no end or beginning
only patterns of light

© Rose Flint, 2005

Audio description of River benches

Visit Zoë Cull & Alex Evans’ website