Bamford villagers were asked for ideas to mark the millennium. I came forward with the idea of boundary markers ‘Touchstone’, to be based on the 4 elements of Earth, Air, Water and Fire to be placed at appropriate view points around a 5 mile walk. I was asked to be the artist facilitator and was awarded a Peak Park Millennium Fellowship Award to work on prototypes with the local school and adult art group. Meanwhile a small committee was formed to gain funding, and to liaise with surveying and gaining planning permission.
The ‘hands on’ Touchstone’ project began when over a quarter of the village population gathered one weekend to create their own small clay tile reliefs and sculptures of environment, ecology, industry or history with attributes to one of the 4 elements. I then collaged the individual pieces onto 8 large slabs and worked in the sculpture department of Sheffield Hallam University to make moulds and to cast the panels in a resin/gritstone mix. These were then later painted and weatherproofed before being erected. The centre piece on the village green is a composite of all four touchstones and is surmounted with a map of the trail.
The project was funded by funded by Nationwide Building Society, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Countryside Agency
2 decades later the Touchstones are merging gently into their environment!