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Deptford Plinths

by Studio Weave

Deptford Plinths 

by Studio Weave, commissioned by Tideway

Studio Weave has been commissioned by Tideway to create a series of artworks that will be integrated into new landscaping at entrance points to Deptford Church Street’s Crossfield Open Space.

The heritage theme for the East section of the tunnel in the Heritage Interpretation Strategy is ‘The Shipping Parishes – Gateway to the World’. Within this theme, the site-specific narrative for Deptford Church Street has an association with Mary Lacy, whose 18th century memoirs describe her life as a mariner and naval shipwright while disguised as a man under the adopted name William Chandler.

Studio Weave take the story of Mary Lacy as a starting point for considering the ‘everyday values’ or common virtues that characterise contemporary Deptford and have proposed a series of four metal plinths as markers of them. The values relate to themes of heritage, resilience, variety and liveliness and are expressed in phrases used by residents of Deptford to characterise the area in which they live. Each plinth is inscribed with its respective value, and each value has also affected the shape and design of the plinth.

Historically, symbols of collective idolatry – gods, leaders and high achievers – have been enlarged within public space to celebrate the grand ideologies they were associated with and elevated above the ground, in heroic positions that removed the artwork – and the ideas it symbolised – from the mortal realm. For Deptford Plinths Studio Weave has proposed the ‘plinth’ as an object of value in its own right and have chosen modest positions for the four plinth artworks  – among trees, perched near a bench, or resting in a meadow – recognising their value as a part of the everyday

The ‘everyday values’ were identified through consultation with the community at an event held at Deptford Lounge to contribute their ideas in response to the question ‘what values would you like to see celebrated in Deptford?’. The discussion covered a great spread of highly specific objects, places and people – typically personally significant to the individual contributors. However as conversations unfolded, a range of themes emerged which began to articulate the key principles of this cross-section of Deptford residents, commonly shared amongst the majority of participants.

“For Considering Our History” reflects the heritage of Deptford
Including historical events, artefacts, stories and consequences

“Dead Bolshie” reflects the resilience of Deptford
Including spirit, togetherness, support, passion and fight

“It’s Complex” reflects the variety of Deptford
Including diversity, individuality, expression, visibility

“Good Spirit” reflects the liveliness of Deptford
Including vibrancy, energy, inventiveness, positivity

The nature of each value has influenced the form, for instance “It’s Complex” is the most complex of the works, “Good Spirit” the most aspiring and the arrangement of the plinths. “For Considering our History” is located at the apex of the Crossfield Open Space site near to St. Joseph’s Primary School; “Dead Bolshie” is also at a key entry point; “It’s Complex” is located on the grass where it might form a gathering point; and “Good Spirit” is located in the tree canopy, creating a marker within the space.

The art work