The Potteries Museum Dinosaur Sculpture
Recent visitors to the Natural Science Gallery will have noticed a shiny new addition – a stunning metal dinosaur sculpture. Visitors to the museum regularly ask why we don’t have any dinosaurs on display. Without being pedantic (all of the birds on display are modern dinosaurs), the explanation lies in our rocks, as Stoke-on-Trent sits mostly on Carboniferous coal measures. The coal measures provide the bulk of our fossil collections, and we have a nationally important collection of 300-360 million year old fish and plant fossils. But these rocks are too old to contain dinosaurs. So our museum has been without dinosaur skeletons – until now.
We began a project in mid-2017 to work with local groups and communities to build a ‘Stoke-asaurus’. The museum approached the SoTArt Contemporary Artists group with the idea of creating our very own dinosaur – the brief was to base the dinosaur on an easily recognisable shape (we went for a theropod, the group of dinosaurs which includes Velociraptor, Tyrannosaurus and all birds). We also wanted to build it out of recycled materials, to highlight the importance of how we manage our waste and to further strengthen the link between the arts and sciences that this sculpture represents. If you look carefully, you’ll see pen lids as teeth, lamp stands are a substitute for leg bones and a pedal bin lid has been moulded to form a hip bone.
The piece was sculpted by artist SoTArt Contemporary Artists Coordinator, Karen Boulton:
The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery Dinosaur has created many challenges, tribulations and heart searching. As the lead artist on this project the artistic interpretation has conformed in many ways to my own practice, influencing the overall concept and design.
As a contemporary sculptor and installation artist and occasional painter whose work has varied in scale from small maquettes to full life size work, I use a variety of materials but seem to be drawn to the versatility of wire in its many forms. I am an observer of life and its problems, most pieces have slight flaws incorporated within them to indicate the fragility of life which is a huge part of my work.
We all work within the bounds of our constraints and abilities. SoTArt continues to develop its strengths to lead it into the future.
We’re loving having our new dinosaur in the Gallery, and have already had some great responses from visitors. And perhaps the most exciting thing about the sculpture? Despite being several feet long, this is just a maquette – a trial run for a much bigger project. We’ll have more details to share later in the year, so watch this space!