The Ambler

Amble's Community Newspaper: News & events from Amble in Northumberland – The Kindliest Port.

Mosaic placed at Harbour Village

l- r Julie Smith and Judith Bulmer with the mosaic on the Seafood Centre

l- r Julie Smith and Judith Bulmer with the mosaic on the Seafood Centre

A beautiful mosaic by artist Julie Smith and blacksmith Stephen Lunn has been placed on the Northumberland Seafood Centre, in honour of the man who envisioned the first design for the Harbour Village.

The mosaic, entitled ‘An Architect’s Dream’ was commissioned by Judith Bulmer, whose late husband Ian Clarke was the original architect on the Amble Harbour Village project.

Ian was a big fan of Amble. As an architect with Newcastle firm Jane Darbyshire and David Kendall Limited, he was involved in the Town Square project, and he drew up initial designs for the Harbour Village. On a personal level, he and Judith liked the Friendliest Port so much, that they bought a house here.

After Ian’s sudden death in late August 2015, Judith had the idea of commissioning a piece of outdoor art in his memory.

“We were great collectors of all sorts of art and craft and Ian was intending to devote his retirement to stone carving,” said Judith. “The council agreed to the proposal and I asked two local artists if they were willing to be involved.  Stephen Lunn (Anvilman) is a well known blacksmith from Red Row and Julie Smith is a mosaic artist who lives and works in Amble and whose work Ian and I have admired for several years.  We have some amazing examples of Julie’s work in our house and garden at Amble.”

Ian's name appears in the mosaic along with the letter J for Judith. Julie Smith and Stephen Lunn's names are also depicted

Ian’s name appears in the mosaic along with the letter J for Judith. Julie Smith and Stephen Lunn’s names are also depicted

Judith initially imagined a small mosaic, but Julie and Stephen worked together to explore ideas of design and scale. Judith explained how ideas for the theme came about.

“Ian was a great lover of seafood and, married to a vegetarian, he took every opportunity to eat seafood whenever possible; we always said that if there were a fish desert he would have gone for it. This and the location led to a theme related to seafood and the sea.”

Julie explained her thoughts during the making of the mosaic.

“It came into my mind immediately because of the shape of the building. I wanted to create something using his initial ‘i’ and put it on the horizontal to go with the curve of the roof. I wanted to keep the pattern and images as natural as I could, and highlight with ceramic tiles, sea glass, shells, pebbles, coal and mirror.”

l- r Ashlee Lunn, Julie Smith and Stephen Lunn underneath the mosaic

l- r: Ashlee Lunn, Julie Smith and Stephen Lunn underneath the 4 metre long mosaic

“My work is influenced by aboriginal patterns and I try to put in as many ideas as I can for what it’s based around. I interpret my work through music, and I knew Ian liked Kate Bush. I thought ‘An Architect’s Dream’ was perfect because the Harbour Village was a dream of his.”

Award winning blacksmith Stephen Lunn and his daughter Ashlee fabricated a stainless steel frame and created sections and metal artefacts; including seaweed and the lettering. He also took charge of fixing the mosaic to the Seafood Centre’s wall, on a wet and windy day in April. Judith and Julie watched nervously as it was lifted into position.

“Stephen is a true artist. He’s a friend and he’s very talented. He let me work in his workshop, it was the first time I’ve worked outside my workplace, and he and Ashlee made me feel part of the family. His input was really helpful. He got the scale perfectly. I’d love to work with him again,” said Julie.

“This is the biggest outdoor project I’ve ever done myself. I hope when people see it, it will stay in their minds and lift their spirits. I hope they’ll take something away that reflects the atmosphere here; the people, the food, the easy way of life.”

Ashlee Lunn and her award-winning dad Stephen Lunn

l-r: Ashlee Lunn and her dad, award-winning blacksmith Stephen Lunn

Judith was keen to acknowledge the tremendous support she has had from colleagues, friends and family.

“It is 10 years since Ian and I came to Amble,” she said. “Since Ian died, friends in Amble and Warkworth have shown me so much love and support, influencing my decision to make this my home.  I hope that everyone will enjoy the mosaic and that those of us who knew and loved Ian will smile at the crabs and kippers, remembering his love of art and craft and all things fishy.”

Anna Williams

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2 Comments

  1. The coming together of two good artisans, combining great traditional skills and art. “Only connect the prose and the passion.”
    Well done!

  2. A beautiful piece of public art. The combination of Julie ‘s mosaic with Stephen’s metalwork is a triumph and a fitting memorial to dear Ian Clarke, his brilliance as an architect and his love of seafood.

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