Mill makes new art

Artist James Pyman, with a 'wrap' of the old water mill, new outdoor installation at The Hepworth Wakefield
Artist James Pyman, with a 'wrap' of the old water mill, new outdoor installation at The Hepworth Wakefield

a NEW art installation at The Hepworth Wakefield is helping preserve a piece of the city’s industrial heritage.

The gallery commissioned artist James Pyman to capture the Grade II listed watermill opposite The Hepworth in a series of drawings, which have been turned into a wrap to preserve and protect the building while plans for its future are finalised.

The result, Upper Mill, will be on show until July next year, and joins a series of outdoor works at The Hepworth in the gallery gardens.

James made a series of highly-detailed drawings of the mill, which have been blown up to life-size scale to cover the building. The process enlarges the pencil marks and tones of the original drawings and converts them to the marks, blemishes and textures of the bricks and plaster, creating a three-dimensional drawing.

He said: “I tend to work either on large scale pencil drawings for exhibition or small ink on paper for reproduction, and this was almost halfway between the two methods.

“Essentially it’s part-survey, part-illustration of the mill, with this mood of dereliction and decreptitude that the original building had.”

James added buildings are usually covered to demonstrate how they will look after restoration work.

He said: “This is a reverse of that, recording the state of the building now. It’s all been a kind of working in reverse – if you are working for reproduction, you are drawing something large that is scaled down, so this was the opposite process, when I was doing the scale drawings I was making this little, tiny pencil marks which have become coin-sized marks of the brick work.

“It was an experiment in a different way of working.”

James said he hoped the work would almost disappear into its surroundings, adding: “I’m trying to create a sense of mood, a sense of a drawing being put back into the landscape – if you didn’t now it was a drawing you wouldn’t notice it.

“The best time to see it is twilight or when it’s raining and you’re rushing past and don’t notice it.”