The alphabet artworks are twenty six sculptures for Netherfield Local Park made by artist Pete Codling. They include seating (the key ‘K’ bench), play equipment (the golden ‘G’ goalpost), planted letters (the daffodil ‘D’) and even a home for birds (the ‘B’ bird box).
Pete developed the idea of an Alphabet of Artworks after he spent two days talking to residents and local children as part of a consultation weekend to discuss the future of Netherfield Local Park in July 1998.
Residents said that they would like the park to be special to Netherfield, and wanted to see more seating and play facilities, as well as a landmark. Pete proposed a series of artworks which would fulfil all of these requests, providing something unique for Netherfield, through a project that would be both educational and fun for local children.
Pete developed ideas for the first six letters spelling my park through workshops with years 3 and 4 from Langland Combined School. The children learned about contemporary artists, made temporary letters in the park from materials they found there – flowers, branches, scrap – and developed their designs for permanent sculptures. The first sculptural letters were installed in July 2001, and celebrated with a part for all those who had taken part.
As there was positive feedback from residents to these letters, funds were raised to complete the alphabet. Pete returned to Netherfield and discussed ideas for the 20 new letters with local people. His research included coffee morning at Buckland Lodge (a residential home for elderly people) and the Coffee Pots group (of OAPs), and a series of creative workshops with the Hog Youth Group, the After School Club, Jill Roaches Youthclub and Netherfield Nursery. Pete's designs were exhibited in a marquee in a park, and all residents were invited to give feedback and comment.
The exhibition continued at Woughton Action Centre and at Buckland Lodge for further feedback and Pete made amendments to the designs.
The second set of twenty letters were made and installed during February – March 2003, with local children planting a ‘D’ of Daffodils and ‘L’ of Lavender. The full alphabet of artworks was opened on the 15th March, 2003 by the deputy mayor of Milton Keynes and celebrated as part of a party to mark the end of Netherfield Single Regeneration Scheme. Children took part in a treasure hunt around the Alphabet Artworks and used the ‘G’ and ‘H’ goal posts for a penalty shootout with Wimbledon football club.
This text is taken from the leaflet ‘Netherfield Alphabet Artworks’ project and is copyright 2003, Artpoint.
If you would like to contact Pete Codling regarding projects, commissions, sculpture in schools and colleges or prints for sale, please use the online form.