Seven Years of Achievement
William Fairbank was the guest speaker at a special breakfast organised
by Hethersett and District Churches Together and held at the village
William, who lives at
Bridgham in South Norfolk, is known both nationally and internationally
for his extraordinary sculptures, many of which have a sacred theme.
His most ambitious work
to date is The Forest Stations – a series of 15 wood sculptures
incorporating 139 different timbers and marking the stations of the
cross – the journey of Jesus to his crucifixion.
The Forest Stations
took seven years to complete and are currently on semi-permanent display
in Lincoln Cathedral. William’s talk focussed on just one of the
sculptures. He explained its evolvement from a basic piece of timber and
the thought processes that turned a dream into reality.
William was involved in a car accident in 1987 in which he received a serious brain injury. As part of a course in occupational therapy, he began work on the stations of the cross. Over the next seven years he concentrated on developing and communicating ideas as each station led to the next, until all 15 were complete.
The result is a hauntingly brilliant mixture of high art, beauty and thought provoking sculptures that mix timbers from throughout the world with images of both a sacred and secular nature.
William is very much an artist of the people. He wants his sculptures to be living and breathing examples of his work. That's why if you visit the Forest Stations in Lincoln the first thing you notice is a sign encouraging people to feel and touch the wood.
William Fairbank is no stuffy artist wrapped up in his own ego. He happily shows the public round his home in Bridgham and regularly visits Lincoln to give a talk on the Forest Stations.
At Hethersett he focused on just one of the 15 sculptures, explaining step by step how the ideas had come to him and how he had looked at including images to represent landfill sites and satellite dishes amongst many other things. The Forest Station brings an orderliness and ordinariness to a biblical theme.
I visited the Forest Stations in Lincoln last year but didn't fully understand their impact. Now I understand a little more, but will be returning for another visit this year to learn more about the power and glory of the structures. Some of my photographs taken at the 2006 visits are included below.
© Peter Steward 2007