Local artist Jill Gillings unveils new public sculptures, supported by Hartford Homes

Wednesday 26th August 2020 |

Earlier this year, we were delighted to announce our sponsorship of a brand new series of sculptures created by renowned local artist, Jill Gillings.

Of course, quite a lot has happened since then.

Thankfully, the Isle of Man has made remarkable progress in tackling the coronavirus; a true testament to the dedication and hard work of all the healthcare and key workers who form such a vital part of our community.

In recent months, it’s been heartening to see our much-celebrated island way of life return to ‘a new normal’. Families have been enjoying more time together in the great outdoors, local businesses have opened up again, and the island is in the enviable position of having ended mandatory social distancing. It’s a good time for good news.

With that in mind, we think a catch-up with Jill is well overdue. We’re thrilled to announce that her three sculptures will be publically unveiled on Friday 28 August, just in time for the extended bank holiday weekend. Each piece will take pride of place nestled by the lily ponds in picturesque Silverdale Glen as part of The Creative Network’s Bayr ny Skeddan Art Trail.

Crafted using stained glass and Manx larch wood, the imposing triptych has been inspired by the mauves and purples of rhododendrons, illuminated by the soft light in the surrounding landscape.

Jill has treated us to some tantalising previews and the pieces are just as stunning as we imagined they would be. With so many of us enjoying ‘staycations’ this summer, it’s worth planning a day out to follow the Art Trail and catch a glimpse of this wonderful public art display.


Artful beginnings

But let’s take a brief step back in time to see how Jill’s project started life.

Before the lockdown, we were lucky enough to accompany Jill as she sourced the very first materials for her sculptures. Since then she has been kind enough to keep us updated every step of the way, documenting her creative journey.

The first port of call? Glorious royal Ramsey. We joined Jill in January for a (slightly drizzly) bimble deep into the sublime greenery of Claughbane Plantation - just a short drive from our popular Royal Park development. Part of the Ramsey Forest Project, a local initiative to considerably expand woodland cover with the planting of new trees and groves, Claughbane proved the perfect spot to find Jill’s primary material - sustainably sourced Manx-grown larch wood.

Expert millers Richard Speight and Sam Jones of Manx Marvel Gardens were on hand to help Jill locate, saw and carry. Having worked closely and frequently with the Manx Wildlife Trust, they know the woods inside out and knew exactly where to look for the ideal larch.


Heart of glass

At the heart of Jill’s creations is a beautifully colourful core of stained glass, supplied by Kansacraft near Barnsley, UK.

Jill explains:

“I didn’t want anything too obscure, as the glass needs to be fairly transparent to allow the light to shine through, even though the pieces will be a distance away.”

“The colours are really a reflection of the natural colours of the area. For instance, one design will pick up on the purples and mauves of rhododendron blooms.”

With her primary materials sourced and initial designs in place, Jill was now able to begin work on her new masterpieces.


Public art for our Island community

Public art trails play a hugely positive role in enhancing the environment, providing a great attraction for locals and visitors alike. Importantly, research has consistently shown that the presence of accessible art in our daily lives can have a beneficial effect on mental health and our general wellbeing.

Congratulations, Jill. Hartford Homes is beyond proud to have supported you and your fantastic contribution to our Island’s culture and community.


For more information on Jill Gillings, visit www.jillgillings.co.uk

For more information about The Creative Network and the Bayr ny Skeddan Art Trail, visit www.creativenetwork.im



Jill's initial sketchesJill in Claughbane PlantationManx Marvel GardensManx Marvel Gardens with the perfect treeJill begins workVibrant stained glass sits at the heart of Jill's colourful worksJill's first sculpture in situJill's second sculptureJill's third floral-inspired sculpture

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