Stephen Turner was commissioned by Space Placemaking and Urban Design to work with architects PAD Studio to develop a workspace to the artists original concept for the Beaulieu River on the Exbury Estate, Hampshire. In Exbury the Egg was developed as an artwork and as a place to stay and work in a laboratory/studio for the creative study of the life of a tidal creek. It took on the patina of the daily tides over 18 months of weathering by wind and rain and bleaching by the sun.
“The ‘blueprint’ for the Exbury Egg, echoes its symbolism as a blueprint of life. Aesthetically perfect, eggs contain in embryo the essentials for new life. From primate to plankton they embody the idea of new birth and renewal, protection and fragility. In an urban 21st century world where we are increasingly disconnected from nature I wanted to use this ancient archetypal symbol to nurture re-enchantment with the natural world, as a step toward a sustainable future. The Exbury Egg is a sculptural form that evolves and changes though time as it is bleached by the sun, scoured by wind and rain and below the waterline accrues algae, worm and barnacles; an evolving form that echoes changes to the surrounding landscape itself and turns the egg into a calendar of the seasons. Inside, my own journey is catalogued in collections of digital imagery, found objects, drawings and personal maps that are all derived from its particular estuary location. In this way the Exbury Egg becomes a major sculptural element in a time based happening, integrating inside with outside in a creative archive that reduces the distance between people and nature.” Stephen Turner, 2014
The Egg was ‘tethered’ like a boat in Exbury rising and falling with the tide. The light touch and basic nature of the 'Exbury Egg' aimed to re-appraise the way we live; to properly consider sustainably and future use of natural resources. Stephen Turner is interested in exploring a more empathic relationship with nature which reveals the precious and transcendent in everyday life. The Egg’s shifting patina, the impact of Stephen’s occupation on the interior and artworks created all developed through direct experience of local natural cycles and processes and the relationship of the environment to the narratives of human activity.
Climate change is already creating new shorelines and habitats. Established salt marsh is being eroded by a combination of rising sea levels and falling landmass and the entire littoral environment is in a state of flux. The implications for wildlife and for the flora as well as for people are challenging. Raising awareness of the past and the unfolding present of a very special location will be the task, whist living in an ethical relationship with nature and treading as lightly as possible upon the land. Stephen Turner
Stephen Turner's Exbury Egg was built by Paul Baker of Lymington and received a significant amount of local support from a range of businesses including Exbury Estate, Bradley engineering, Versa Dock, Totton Timber, Anesco Energy services, H&DB Kitchens, Latham James, LYC Events, Lambert Brothers Haulage Ltd, Lymington Yacht Haven, Howdens Joinery Co, KJ Kilford, Marineware, Click4Internet, Etch, Nick Cox Chandler, Solent Covers, Enistic, Sign It, SJG Carpentary, Solent Cellar and Knights.
The original Exbury Egg project was financially supported using public money from the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Barker Mill Foundation and Hampshire County Council.
Stephen's original blog for the Exbury Egg and his residency in Exbury through 2013-14 is here: www.exburyegg.me
The original Exbury Egg project website is www.exburyegg.org. The project won a number of awards including winner of RIBA Small Project Award 2014, winner of RIBA South Award 2014 and winner of LEAF Sustainable Interior of the Year Award, 2013. It was also shortlisted for RIBA Stephen Lawrence Prize 2014, LEAF best use of Space Award 2014, The Wood Awards: Small Project 2013, Architects Journal Small Projects Awards, 2014 and Architects Journal Small Projects: Sustainability Award, 2014