Shoal’s first outing – in Staithes harbour

Sculptor Ste Iredale's carved shoal of fish.
Sculptor Ste Iredale's carved shoal of fish.

Staithes Harbour is to host the first ever exhibition of ongoing experimental art installation Shoal by local sculptor Ste Iredale.

A school of individually carved wooden fish up to 1.2m in length will rise above the sea at high tide, creating a stunning spectacle for visitors to the fifth annual Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage during the weekend of September 10-11.

Biggest glowstick installation.

Biggest glowstick installation.

Each fish is sculpted from durable Douglas fir timber using Ste’s trademark chainsaw and then finer tools adding detail and pattern and sealed with varnish.

Mounted on the railings of the little pier in the harbour, they will create a wonderful illusion of flying fish swooping out of the water.

“The fish are unique and crafted separately,” Ste told the Whitby Gazette, “but it’s the site specific arrangement of the shoal that makes the artwork.

“My intention over time is to add to the shoal and place it in a variety of locations in different arrangements celebrating both the fish themselves and the setting.

“It’s an experiment to see how Shoal works in a range of sites and how it responds to weather and time.

“Staithes Harbour will be a perfect first outing for the piece.”

Ste, who lives and works in Staithes, is highly regarded in the region for his powerful public art pieces for local councils and the Forestry Commission as well as private commission and community projects.

He has delighted festival-goers in previous years with spectacular demonstrations.

Shoal will be among a multitude of treats in the harbour.

Whitby sculptor Emma Stothard is working on a vast plesiosaur, bringing to life a creature that once roamed these shores, while light artist Mick Stephenson who enchanted last year’s visitors, will return to make the harbour at night a sight to remember.

Staithes Festival is one of the friendliest festivals on the coast.

With 100+ artists showing in pop-up galleries around the village in a unique selling exhibition, imaginative exploration of the area’s rich heritage, music, talks, walks, workshops and demonstrations, it has become a must-go event in the regional arts calendar.

For more information see www.staithesfestival.com