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Padstow to vote on interactive mussel art

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: September 13, 2012

  • LANDMARK? Andy Nicholls with a model of his mussel sculpture, left, at its proposed location holding a larger model of one half of the sculpture.

  • THE BIG SHELL: A model of the mussel sculpture which could go up in Padstow.

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A NEW landmark could be heading for Padstow in the form of a giant mussel sculpture.

But the five-metre-high interactive installation, which will use the tide to open and close the mussel, will only get official approval if the people of Padstow give it their backing.

The galvanised steel sculpture, which will light up at night, has the support of the harbour authority and the Environment Agency.

Padstow Town Council will have the final say on whether it is installed on the harbour wall, and it is awaiting the views of local residents before making the decision.

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The artwork by Trevone artist Andy Nicholls will cost around £70,000 and, if residents back the project, he will apply for Arts Council and Lottery funding.

The piece is titled Mytilus, and will celebrate the hooked Padstow mussel, a type of mollusc that is unique to the area.

Mr Nicholls believes the installation will be a focal point for visitors to the town and locals alike.

He said: "I hope very much that the residents of Padstow will support the sculpture, but if they don't want it, that will be the end of it.

"I've been working on the project for 18 months, and have had the help of Tony Coles, a former Rolls Royce engineer, because there are many technical aspects to it involving levers," said the 59-year-old.

Mr Nicholls said the mussel sculpture would open and close slowly with the ebb and flow of the tide, and would have subtle lighting at night.

"It has been designed to last a long time, and is intended to be installed on the flood defence wall at the harbour, which has been supported in principle by the Environment Agency.

"The Harbour Commission have also supported the installation as it will not interfere with the working port.

"The town council has agreed for a public consultation and exhibition to take place on October 1 between 4pm and 9pm when residents will be asked to fill in a questionnaire.

"It will then be up to the people of Padstow if they want the mussel sculpture or not, but I very much hope they will support it."

Padstow mayor Terri Walter said her town council would only allow the sculpture to go ahead if residents wanted it.

"It's very important that the people of Padstow decide whether it should be installed, as it is their town, and we as a council will follow what they have to say on the subject," she said.

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  • Lannwedhenek  |  September 20 2012, 10:46AM

    by bissoeboyMonday, September 17 2012, 2:30PM "If the people are so anti, why not give it a town capable of appreciating artistic efforts and welcomes tourism. That's an easy one old buck, He wouldn't get the glory from most other towns in Cornwall, Padstow has been so ruined that it is now famous for it. Oh and we do welcome tourists around £19,000,000 worth a year to Cornwall's economy... its second home owners who overload and over burden infrastructure and amenities without paying a penny for it that we have a problem with, especially when Everyone in Cornwall has to pay extra just to live there even with the lowest wages in the country. As for Mr Nicholl's 'the artist' well it really does appear that he is trying to control the vote now too. Makes a sham of the whole idea that public consultation was ever really his aim.

    |   6
  • cheekyman_jr  |  September 17 2012, 3:18PM

    Looks like a set of lungs to me (or is that a pair?). Still, one mans art is another mans pornography and all that...

    |   3
  • josdave  |  September 17 2012, 2:36PM

    The Arts Council need their heads examining if they think this is educational. This is the same body that gave £500,000 to some so-called artist who towed a raft loaded with rocks around the coast. When it comes to art it's a bit like the Emperor's new clothes if enough "experts" call it art then all the sheep who take notice of them will applaud it. But £70,000 could have been better spent certainly.

    |   8
  • bissoeboy  |  September 17 2012, 2:30PM

    If the people are so anti, why not give it a town capable of appreciating artistic efforts and welcomes tourism.

  • Carvath  |  September 17 2012, 10:54AM

    It looks completely naff and totally inappropriate.

    |   7
  • Big_Ger  |  September 17 2012, 10:16AM

    Looks daft to me, and what is "interactive" about it?

    |   7
  • Lannwedhenek  |  September 17 2012, 9:20AM

    people who have visited Padstow have little understanding of what Padstow is about. Those who live there and where born there, who's family line extends back into antiquity weep in anguish to see the town in its present form. You cant just add a sculpture to make the place look ace? get a grip. Padstow isn't famous for mussels. You have no idea how locals feel about this contraption. As for personal pops. well the guy wanted feed back and then kept mailing everyone that he is listening and he cares and its educational and how much he thinks he can enhance the view..... let us tell you all now and be clear about it. He doesn't listen, he has money riding on it and wishes he never told anyone... wishes it had just floated through and made him a cool £75000 when the heart of the town is in tatters. As for hating tourists we cant afford to... the Governments have destroyed our fishing industry by opening up our waters to the Spanish and destroyed our tin industry leaving the whole country vulnerable to off shore prices which has proved to be a bad move. Tourists however come to Cornwall and indeed Padstow because of its quaint charms and atmosphere. Second home owners are destroying that with silly sea gul house names, exploitation and creation of ever dwindling local populations. jennybox12 you may think this is progress.... I say to you it destroys the very thing it pretends to love about Padstow. It isn't art its a 5 Meter ego trip for the artist who cant afford to loose hence all the hype. A way he can obtain fame and glory. He doesn't even have a clear idea of what it looks like or represents.To any Padstonian its the wiping of our history and us from the pages of our town in favour of an art installation, If it wasn't for face book there would have been no proper debate about it and few would have known about it until it was erected. to late then it would have been to ask the question why. If you want anyone to believe in a project.... being deceitful and underhanded and not listening to people about it isn't the way to go. But then like most of Cornwall's new home owners he couldn't care less about Cornwall or mussels or for that matter Padstow, its all about the money. The fact we can see this shames him.

    |   8
  • D-Head  |  September 16 2012, 8:14AM

    I fully support this idea with one proviso: that it be used to generate electricty using tidal power. If it opens and closes with the tide any engineer could use this movement to power a generator. With secure funding and appropriate size, this work of art could be powering the whole of Padstow. Cornwall Council is keen on providing money for all sorts of daft schemes and a good idea like this could well be the target of a fat cheque.

    |   2
  • jennybox12  |  September 16 2012, 1:36AM

    I really cannot believe how negative these comments have been. We should be encouraging creativeness rather than slamming it down and take personal pops at those only trying to make this town a better place. I have visited Padstow since I was a young child and it is horrible to read comments from locals against tourists. It sounds to me like years of frustration at the towns big tourist following has blown this story well out of proportion! To the previous post, maybe you should move to wales, I hear that they hate tourists too which is why no one holidays there anymore and they have one of the biggest unemployment problems in the UK!

    |   -14
  • Lady_bird  |  September 15 2012, 10:37AM

    If you look at it side on, it reminds you of a ladies ovary! The sculpture is hideous, but I am sure all the luvvies and darlings that come down in their second homes will think it is wonderful.

    |   10

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