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Tom Hiscocks Sculpture Garden, RHS Chelsea 2024

By George Spreckley
Tom Hiscocks Sculpture garden image 1 from Southern Road

A ‘Sculpture Garden’, created for RHS Chelsea 2024, showcases works of art created by Tom Hiscocks set against a backdrop of both traditional and modern architectural clay landscaping products from Ketley Brick.

Tom’s sculptures reflect the layers of life and experiences that shape us, and which change according to their environment and viewing angle.

Ketley’s landscaping products, ranging from a traditional wall of engineering brick slips to the Dutch influence of Tenger pavers, and bold ‘Vision Brick’ designs create varied contexts and backdrops that are integral to expressing his artistic vision.

The physicality of materials is fundamental to the ‘Sculpture Garden’. One sculpture is made from copper, a material which occurs in nature in its native form and whose warm tones become more beautiful with age. The others are from stainless steel, a modern refined material with a cooler sharper aesthetic.

The warmth and richness of Ketley’s Staffordshire red colours and the cooler Staffordshire blues mirror this physicality. The organic clay tones are produced the traditional way, solely through temperature control of the kiln without artificial pigments, thereby blending with the natural tones of the garden.

They are made from one of the world’s oldest natural building materials to Class A engineering brick standard, whose extreme durability and low water absorption is practical for landscaping. Like steel and copper, clay is also 100 % recyclable and has an existence beyond its current form.

Tenger pavers (200mm x 50mm x 65mm) are laid in a running bond throughout the garden. Their drag-faced texture, which is slip-resistant and warm Staffordshire red tones provide a contemporary rustic setting. Set within the pavers, an intricate circle of (265mm x 11mm) Linium Bricks bordered by Staffordshire blue cobble pavers, draws the eye towards the plinth and the garden’s centre-piece: Snow Drops.

A backdrop of Dreadnought handmade ornamental arrowhead clay tiles laid in a contemporary geometric pattern of textured hexagons contrasts with the concentric curves of the Copper Bull sculpture, and the blend of earthy Staffordshire clay colours complements the warmth of the copper.

Opposite, a lightweight Staffordshire blue wall constructed from extruded 18mm brick slips and corner slips, creates the impression of solidity and permanence whilst discreetly blending with the row of cool stainless-steel sculptures.

Randomly placed within the wall, Vision bricks in interesting contemporary shapes, add an element of surprise to the regularity of the backdrop. On top of the wall, foliage spills from Ketley’s new extruded planter bricks. The hollowed-out Class A engineering cant brick is a practical and versatile way of introducing greenery that softens the sharp-edged aesthetic and helps deliver a nett biodiversity gain.

“The backdrop that the Ketley Landscaping products delivered to my sculptures exceeded all expectations and generated a fabulous response from the public and the judges who awarded the installation four stars. The natural clay colours enhanced every viewing angle of the sculptures and, together with wonderful planting, create a garden I am so proud of,” commented Tom Hiscocks.

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