40th anniversary art exchange

Artist Philippe Handford with his latest art project.
Artist Philippe Handford with his latest art project.

Pendle and its French twin town Creil – just north of Paris – are wishing each other a happy 40th birthday by exchanging unique sculptures.

Acclaimed French artist Joel Couloigner is bringing a new sculpture over by lorry from Creil, with help from Emmanuel Vanaudenhove who teaches sculpture in the town. They have both collaborated in the making of the new artwork for Pendle.

It will be unveiled and the name of the sculpture revealed tomorrow at 11-30am at the Pendle Sculpture Trail, in Aitken Wood on a biggish hill next to Barley.

Guests from both Creil and Marl – Pendle’s German twin town – will be welcomed and some will be taking part in the international Pendle Walking Festival which runs until Sunday.

Meanwhile, Pendle international sculptor Philippe Handford, who is lead artist for the Sculpture Trail, will return the compliment by loading a specially created sculpture onto the lorry for the return trip for installation in Creil.

He is currently putting the finishing touches to his gift, which has been created from an ancient gritstone gatepost that he found near the Pendle Sculpture Trail.

Joel’s piece has been inspired by the true story of the Pendle Witches: 10 villagers from Pendle tried at Lancaster Castle and executed in 1612. It is made from acacia wood sourced from the Picardy region of France. The new sculpture will join over 20 artworks at the Sculpture Trail.

The trail was opened in 2012 to mark the 400th anniversary of the world-famous witchcraft trial and a guide can be downloaded: www.visitpendle.com/sculpture-trail

Coun. Paul White, who leads on tourism, said: “This will be the first overseas artwork to join our Sculpture Trail, which already has a growing international reputation. It’s quite a coup!”

Philippe added: “A number of Pendle artists got together to celebrate this special 40th birthday by starting artistic exchanges between Pendle and Creil. One of our first ideas was expanding the Sculpture Trail with an international piece.

“It will be in keeping with the other sculptures on the trail which are inspired by Pendle’s turbulent history.”

He added: “As a thank you for Creil’s kind gift, I have created a unique piece from a gatepost that I discovered on the track along Black Moss Reservoir which I pass every time I go to Pendle Sculpture Trail. I acquired it through kind permission of Simon Duerden of Mountain View Farm, Barley.

And Philippe said: “The stone originally came from a quarry at the beauty spot of Watermeetings at the confluence of Pendle Water and Blacko Water. The source of Pendle Water is Pendle Hill and it flows through villages like Roughlee which have strong associations with the Pendle Witches. I’m giving the people of Creil a piece of Pendle’s history and a touch of Pendle’s magic!”