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Chatham Dockyard

In 2012 Jane spent 4 days holed up in Chatham dockyard with a hugely creative group of people, artists and makers from the Crafts Council; urban designers in a number of guises and students from Kent University school of art. After a day of site exploration, visits to the ropery, lectures on a geographer’s approach to site and Sue Clifford’s* exhortations to make place and design fit seamlessly and irrevocably together, the teams gradually evolved their responses to the site guided loosely by the brief set by Kent Architecture Centre and the Crafts Council.

Jane worked with Rebecca Gouldson, a metalsmith with a fantastic eye for the patina, quality and potential of metal as it changes with heat and exposure to acid. Their joint response to the film set space once occupied by the mast pond and framed by a great array of buildings from 18th century brick houses; vast, domed, covered slips through sombre, painted, timber drying sheds and clap-boarded chandleries was all about process, direction and connection. Illustrations here show how their ideas were designed to give a strong sense of orientation across the featureless site of the mast pond and intended to guide visitors in their approach to the dockyard. The installation would entail a series of huge metal structures evoking the masts rising from the pool, interpreted by flat sheets of water. The metal structures would be patinated, distressed and eroded to reflect the process of decay and changing fortune of the dockyard.

Rebecca’s work can be seen at

*Common Ground

Crafts Council

Kent Architecture Centre

Jane Fowles

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Jane Fowles

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