The Sockman - Loughborough, Leicestershire
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member SMacB
N 52° 46.262 W 001° 12.403
30U E 620978 N 5848308
Quick Description: The Sock was created by the sculptress Shona Kinloch, having been commissioned by Charnwood Borough Council "to provide an attractive feature and focus of public interest". It was unveiled in 1998.
Location: East Midlands, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 1/24/2016 8:27:21 AM
Waymark Code: WMQANC
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Outspoken1
Views: 4

Long Description:
The statue is of a man seated on a bollard, wearing only a sycamore leaf and a sock, which he is looking down at admiringly.

His sock is symbolic of Loughborough's hosiery industry, and the rest of the sculpture contains images from the town's history.

"The Story of the Sock

When the Council decided to pedestrianise the Market Place they also decided to have a sculpture of some sort to provide an attractive feature and focus of public interest. The site was chosen just in front of Loughborough Town Hall.

It was decided that the town needed something original, that reflected all the history of Loughborough. So the Council set up a competition inviting professional and well known artists, with a particular invitation to those from Loughborough College of Art and Design. The artists were also selected to give a range of styles. For example, one specialising in figures, another in animals, a third in expressing movement, another in abstract designs and so on.
The Brief for a piece of Art

A brief was prepared telling artists generally what was wanted. It listed the important events in the town's history and described the way in which the Market Place was to be used. Each of five selected artists was given £500 to produce their ideas on the themes in the brief. Two of the entrants had strong connections with Loughborough College of Art and Design.
Since this was not a political decision, it was felt that the Council should not be asked to decide the winning entry. Instead a panel of local experts and lay people was asked to make the decision. Experts, because they could comment on the durability and structural considerations - they are also trained to know what lasts in people's affections as well as in all weathers. Lay people, because it is important to have a variety of views and involvement.
After a few months the artists had produced their ideas. There were maquettes (models), as well as drawings and written explanations. These were displayed, as the Council had asked, near the place were the piece was to be erected. In fact the exhibition space actually overlooked the site. The public were invited, leaflets were distributed and an announcement was made in the paper. Over 400 people visited over three days. Comment forms were available to collect views and preferences.

The selection panel decides

After listening to the artists, seeing some of their finished work, the panel discussed all the pros and cons of each work. Then they had to consider the practical as well as aesthetic points. Amongst the public no particular piece had obtained overall support (there were six choices), but there were strong preferences for most of the works. The first preferences (28% for the Bell, 22% for the small group of animals called 'Loughborough Market', 18% for the Sock, etc), and views expressed by the public, were then passed on to the panel of judges.
The joy and movement of The Bell, by David Annand, were greatly appreciated. The work included two lads, cast in bronze from the same mould, dancing on a bell, made of bricks. Technically the mix of brick and bronze did not go too well and there could have been some difficulty in constructing and maintaining the bell-shaped brick base. It was, however, clear that the work did not meet as much of the brief's historical emphasis as other work
The group of animals was popular. There was a difficulty with a basket in this piece which would collect rubbish and rainwater, but otherwise there were no practical difficulties. There was some suggestion that the pastoral view of the Market was not one which represented enough in the brief nor enough of Loughborough as it really is today.
The two abstract pieces, 'the Needle' and 'the Helter Skelter' were thought imaginative but out of scale with the site and received least support from the public. One of these depicted a selection of historical motifs from the brief, the other focussed somewhat on the Millennium using local materials.

The winner

The winning piece, was 'The Sock', by Shona Kinloch. it was the favoured choice, on artistic quality and technical merit, of most of the panel. it was the most durable piece, being both weather and vandal resistant. It was also the one that best met the brief, representing not only the hosiery industry, which has employed so many Loughborough people down the ages, but also encompassing a wider history of Loughborough in images curling round the base. Probably one of the things that swayed the lay members most was the quality and likeability of Shona Kinloch's other work, which was shown on slides to the panel of judges. It seemed gentle, humorous and full of character.

"My idea for the Loughborough Market Place is a man, rather on the stocky side, who sits admiring his zigzag sock. The design on the sock is inspired by the fact of the woollen industry, hosiery and knitwear being the speciality, contributing greatly to Loughborough's prosperity". She added, "He will sit on a bollard, which has been incised with images, in low reflect, from Loughborough's history".
So wrote Shona Kinloch, the sculptor who devised Loughborough's now famous sock man. "It's fun - it made me smile, but I imagine its pretty controversial. I like it". "Something witty and stimulating" went two of the comments at the public exhibition in March. "We don't want whimsy", said another. "Peaceful! Liked the themes around the base" wrote a fourth.The sockman was commissioned in April 1998 at a cost of £23,000.An attachement at the top right of this page,shows images of the sockman during various stages of construction.

The Sock Man, which was designed by Scottish artist Shona Kinloch, has braved all weathers since it was unveiled in April 1998."

SOURCE - (visit link)
Name or use 'Unknown' if not known: The Sockman

Figure Type: Human

Artist Name or use 'Unknown' if not known: Shona Kinloch

Date created or placed or use 'Unknown' if not known: 1998

Materials used: Bronze

Location: Market Street, Loughborough

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