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The Decorative Hermit and the Machine for Draw

The Decorative Hermit and the Machine for Drawing

Drawings, designs and maquette in the stables

Meadow Arts commission 2012

The work references a performance piece at Croft by Mark in 2012 ('make of me what you will') and the tradition whereby aristocracy in the 17th and early 18th centuries would house and support a hermit in their picturesque landscapes who would then become an object of fascination to visitors.

This project is a collaboration between designer David Connor and sculptor Mark Richards. The work displayed in Croft Castle's stables is the design and model for a floating hermitage, which David has designed, in which Mark would spend nine days drawing as a means of contemplating nature. David and Mark are seeking further funding in order to build the hermitage as a real dwelling.

Over the course of the Time Will Tell programme, Connor & Richards have been to Croft to gather information about the site. Mark Richards has completed a series of artist's talks with members of the public, including guided walks around the property's grounds.

The hermitage (or hermitcЯaft) is an extraordinary object.  A dome shaped two-storey cabin clad in sycamore shingles stands on a raft supporting a deck chair, which can be extended over the water and swivelled in any direction.  Drawing will take place from the chair as well as at other positions around the craft and will be visible from the shore.  The drawings will be cabled to shore and be free for visitors to take away. 

It is hoped that, in exchange, food and water will be left for the hermit to sustain him throughout the duration of the performance.

The hermitcЯaft continues a theme in David's work based upon the folly. It is a habitation, observatory and studio that functions like a hide but which itself is being watched.

David Connor/Mark Richards

An inspiring and imaginative designer, David has an enduring interest in the Folly, both as pure decoration in 17th and 18th century gardens and in more functional, and sometimes unsettling, roles such as watchtowers.  The eye-catchers in his CV are diverse and include "Seditionaries" and "Worlds End" for Malcolm McClaren and Vivienne Westwood, and TV studios in Canary Wharf for Janet Street Porter.  He has made two collaborations with Anish Kapoor and his work features in numerous publications. 

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Mark Richards

Drawing from life and nature is the bedrock of Mark's work.  He has a particular interest in reflecting environment and mood through drawing and explores this in diverse contexts.  As a sculptor, he responds directly to specific private and public commissions and has built an international reputation for work that exhibits both cohesive composition and great beauty of form.  His work includes sculptures and portraits of The Royal Family, commemorative statues of The Gordon Highlanders in Aberdeen city centre and, most recently, the renowned hurling legend, Nickey Rackard in Wexford.  

David says of Mark, 'Whether he is drawing on his own, with others or in performance, he transmits so much of what is around him directly onto the paper.  His work is sensitive, courageous and dynamic'