One of the unique features of this project is the period over which it has been sustained. Marcus Vergette started research on the design of the bell, to create a shape that would be rich in harmonics, in 2008.
The first installation was in Appledore, Devon in the next year (the bells are listed in order of installation in the menu above), and they followed every year or two for the next decade. As the project grew and evolved, its richness became ever clearer; above all, its potential to act as the focus, the crucible or springboard, for further creative activity, be it artistic, educational, and more. Writing in the summer of 2019, we have every intention that this will continue and expand.
The Bells have a unique position as public artworks. They are not commissions; no individual, developer, local authority or other institution has paid the artist to make them for particular locations. Although a number of copies have been and will continue to be made, they are not in the conventional sense an ‘edition’, let alone are they numbered. They offer very limited recognition for the artist; they are not vehicles for an ego.
What they are is a gift to the host community, and owned, in every sense, by them. A gift both literal and metaphorical; to date the funding structure has covered the cost of their casting ‘centrally’; and completely free rein has been given to communities in the form of their mounting, their naming, and the inscriptions they bear. All installations have come about because by one means or another – often by visiting an existing bell – potential hosts have embarked on the very substantial labour of getting a bell installed.
Funding for early bells came in part from the Arts Council, but very largely from private funds raised by Marcus. In 2018 a grant was provided from what was then the Big Lottery Fund, now the National Lottery Community Fund. This will provide for much greater support for the project and will allow for the installation of up to 16 bells in total. Please get in touch if you would be interested in hosting one – details of parts of the country where we are particularly keen to site them are here