Sculptor's steel appeal: 'Find name for my tree'

By Grant Woodward IT is a 17ft tall tower of curled metal that draws its inspiration from the proud brewing tradition in Leeds. There is just one problem - what do you call it?

People are being asked to come up with a name for this unique four-tonne sculpture, set to be unveiled at the city's 100m Brewery Wharf development.

Its creator, Chris Knight, says he was inspired by manufacturing in the area down the years.

But the only trouble is he can't think of a name for it.

The 40-year-old, who was commissioned by Brewery Wharf's developer, city-based firm Rushbond, said: "I'm not very good at names, so we thought it would be good for the people of Leeds to think of one.

"My working title for it was The Corten Tree - after the type of steel it is made out of, which was also used for The Angel of the North - but it would be nice to have something a bit warmer."

Chris admits he has no idea what people will make of his work, which he says cost "tens of thousands of pounds."

He added: "Some might think it is just a piece of rusty metal.

"You always hope they will love it, but something like this is always contentious at the start, with people saying it is a waste of money.

Meanings

"Hopefully it will end up becoming something to people and they can take their own meanings from it. Everyone hated The Angel of the North at first, but look what it has done for that area."

Chris, who already has public art on display in Blackpool, Sheffield and London, says he drew upon the area's industrial history and the River Aire.

The sculpture's tree-like shape recalls the former sawmills, while the "leaves" peeling away from it represent the barley used in brewing.

The cutting and bending used to create those leaves is inspired by pattern-making in the leather industry, while the industrial appearance of the sculpture chimes in with the area's engineering past.

Finally, the curl of the steel recalls a wave, linking it to its riverside setting.

But Chris added: "I'm not one of these artists who thinks something is unsuccessful unless everyone comes up with the same meaning for it.

"As far as I'm concerned that should be celebrated."

Brewery Wharf is being built on former private industrial land and will be linked by riverside walkway to The Calls area, which has also been revitalised

The site, which is almost complete, will feature offices, apartments, restaurants, bars and a 248-bed hotel.

l Readers should send suggestions for the name of the new piece of public art in writing, with their contact details, to Shirley Whitehead, Newsdesk, Yorkshire Evening Post, Leeds, LS1 1RF or e-mail: shirley.whitehead@ypn.co.uk.

The winner will be chosen in the next few months by a panel including Chris Knight, representatives of Rushbond and the Yorkshire Evening Post and will receive a crate of champagne.

grant.woodward@ypn.co.uk

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