Symbolic artwork unveiled at our natural burial ground
Published: 25 June 2015
Sharpham Meadow, our natural burial ground near Totnes overlooking the River Dart, saw the unveiling of a new art installation at the weekend.
A specially cast 8ft wide bronze ring emblazoned with a line of poetry from Mary Queen of Scots: ‘In my end is my beginning’ now surrounds the Ancestors’ Fire pit at the burial ground, which occupies a spectacular setting within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Cedar seat posts have been set into the ground around the fire-ring decorated with bronze sun and moon ornaments to mark the passing of the seasons, with niches for candles, flowers, offerings and notes to the deceased.
The piece – entitled The Circle - is the result of our Artist in Residence programme, and is the creation of Totnes artist Robin Lacey. The artwork creates a sacred fireside space at the burial ground and symbolises the eternal circle of the fire, the Sun and the Moon.
The Circle - at Sharpham Meadow Natural Burial Ground
Created by Sharpham's Artist in Residence 2015 Robin Lacey
The Circle was unveiled with a ceremony at the natural burial ground on Saturday June 20, 2015, by Rupert and Claire Callender, who manage the site on behalf of the Sharpham Trust. The site is in the national Association of Natural Burial Grounds.
Guests at the ceremony included people with family and friends buried or interred at the site, which opened on the same Summer Solstice weekend in 2013.
Actor-playwright Peter Oswald performed a piece at the ceremony and harp music was played by Totnes musician Boe Huntress.
Our Programme Manager Ben Ballard said: “It was a simple ceremony and a moving event. The artwork is ideal for the site up there – it provides the perfect place for visitors to sit beside the flames, to remember the people buried here and to be a meditative spot for mourners and visitors.
“We’re really pleased with Robin’s work, which was in response to a brief to connect people with the natural world and life cycles, whilst improving the experience of those visiting Sharpham Meadow,” he added. “We’re sure visitors to the burial ground will welcome The Circle and its enduring message.”
Art in residence at Sharpham
In planning his artwork, Robin spent time at Sharpham Meadow Natural Burial Ground to see how visitors used the site: "I commonly witnessed that mourners were leaving tokens or lit candles to express these things.
“I felt that by incorporating candle niches and a secure receptacle, the Circle would offer the opportunity to light a votive candle and leave written or drawn expressions of their feelings.”