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Arcangel in Bendish create stunning garden focal points

PUBLISHED: 14:59 15 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:34 20 February 2013

Art can add structure to a garden

Art can add structure to a garden

Have you ever wanted to have your own, unique piece of garden art? Philippa Pearson travels to Bendish where Arcangel create stunning garden focal points

'I USED to have a workshop at Kings Cross in London,' says artist David Boyall, 'but I fell in love with this area of Hertfordshire and moved my business here.' The place is Bendish, near Hitchin, where David and business partner Paul Currell have established Arcangel and it's here where original ideas are translated into hand crafted creations for the home and garden using a wide range of workable mediums. Metal is the prime material, but not exclusively, which is transformed using modern and traditional methods into unique and tactile pieces ranging from staircases, chairs and tables to incredible water sculptures and intricate supports for climbing plants. 'We use all sorts of materials, anything that is workable,' says David who lists items from steel, iron, bronze, glass, slate and wood. He trained in 3D design and made items for TV and films from his London studio: his merits include the theatrical table and chairs used in Cruella de Vil's house for the remake of Walt Disney's 101 Dalmatians film. Paul's background is in construction where he made and installed comprehensive interior features.

The move from making interior to exterior objects at Arcangel evolved gradually. 'We kept getting approached to make a gate or water feature,' says Paul, 'and realised we loved working with gardens and outside spaces.' As well as private commissions in gardens large and small, David and Paul create sculptures and pieces of art for community projects and corporate requirements. At Kensington Palace gardens, they created 10 flower sculptures to commemorate the flowers placed at the Palace in memory of Princess Diana at the time of her death: each sphere is made from 650 individual flowers, every one individually gilded by visitors to the gardens. Over at Kew Gardens they are working on a new folly, the Temple of Imagination, which will become a community meeting place. David and Paul work alongside or contrast with nature in their quest to create garden focal points. Recent commissions include a sumptuous water feature in the shape of a flowering hosta. Set on a granite millstone found in the client's garden the stainless steel feature adds impact and drama whilst cleverly making use of open space in the garden. Other features are more contemporary or architectural with clean lines or flowing shapes. 'Our aim is to design and make beautiful things for the garden and home,' says David, 'and we work with our client to produce a piece of art that reflects their needs, personality and dreams.'

The gently rolling Hertfordshire countryside surrounding their workshop, based in a barn at Bendish Farm, provides inspiration for David and Paul. 'How can you not feel inspired by the landscape here, we love it,' they say. For me as a garden designer, art and sculpture in any form add infinite possibilities. The contrast of hard surfaces combined with clever planting produce a three-dimensional element while sculptures as focal points have been used for centuries: just think of statues in the gardens of stately homes. Whatever the size of your plot, adding a uniquely crafted garden feature utilises the potential of the outdoor space.


How to have art in the garden
Philippa Pearson's tips to get you started


Look at places in the garden where a feature would complement the aspect or view. This could be a centrally positioned area, along a rear boundary or near the entrance to your property.


Think about how you will view the feature: can you see it from inside and if so, on how many levels?


Place a substantial marker that can be easily seen on your chosen spot and live with this for a while to make sure you've got exactly the right place in the garden.


Not sure about a theme? Look at your house - in which period was it built, are there any features that can be copied? Or perhaps you love a particular genus of plant which could be translated into an overall pattern or shape?


Consider access for services, such as electricity and water supply.


Thoughtful planting will work in harmony to enhance your focal point.


Visit Arcangel
Visits are by appointment only.
Contact David Boyall or Paul Currell to discuss your requirements.
Arcangel, Angel Works
Bendish Farm,
Bendish SG4 8JD
01438 871100

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