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Feature 12 Months of Neon Love

Lighting up Wakefield with a new art project

Feature: 12 Months of Neon Love

Love, love, love… it’s a thing that never goes out of fashion. Love somehow manages to unite people like nothing else (well, perhaps with the exception of football). And right now, there’s a great, highly ambitious, new love-themed art project, taking place in Wakefield. Like love itself, 12 Months of Neon Love will light up the dark with a rosy glow and leave you with a smile on your face.

The project is masterminded by the artist who founded the Neon Workshops, Richard Wheater; and another artist and bookbinder, Victoria Lucas. In fact, it wasn’t all that long ago that we were enthusiastically saying how amazing the neon-making courses in Wakefield are (read our review here). They are regular and intensive day and week-long courses, giving you the chance to learn how to sculpt glass tubes into interesting designs and fill those tubes with luminous neon light.

The courses can cater for a range of different abilities and interests, whether you’re interested in the material from a fine art perspective or a practical angle. And the best thing is, even if you have no technical ability, like me – you’ll come away with a fantastic neon sculpture. “People can come and create something in a day,” say Wheater. “They make all sorts of weird and wonderful things in the workshops, from chillies to high-heeled shoes.”

The Neon Workshops are the only place in Europe where you can learn, hands-on, the craft of neon. And now they’re pushing the boundaries of neon as an art form even further with their ambitious 12 Months of Neon Love.

In keeping with the theme of love, the year-long project launched on Valentine’s Day this year, and will run until February 14th, 2012. The driving idea behind the project is to feature a different song lyric every month – all of which will be united by that wonderful word, ‘love’. The lyrics will be emblazoned in huge neon signage above the Neon Workshops studio; the position means each will be visible to people on the trains travelling between Leeds and London.

Together, Wheater and Lucas decide which lyrics will be made each month and they are then crafted in the Neon Workshops studio. The first in the series was a lyric from the classic Elvis song, I’m All Shook Up, emblazoned in red neon – “…I’m in Love / I’m All Shook Up / Uh Huh Huh…” which was visible above the rooftops of Wakefield until 14th March.

The next in the series, on show now, is a Beautiful South lyric: “… Don’t do all the / talking Let love / speak up itself…” The next lyrics in the series are “closely-guarded secrets” say Wheater and Lucas. They did reveal though, that each lyric would relate to the months in which they appear and “follow the highs and lows of a relationship”.

The pieces take hours and hours to make and use a huge amount of glass tubing and neon. The finished products are worth hundreds of pounds and after they have been exhibited, the signs go up for auction on eBay. Just think, you could be the proud owner of a huge neon love sign, blindingly positioned on your living room wall.

Until 14th February 2012. For more information about the Neon Workshops contact 01924 200 069 or info@neonworkshops.com, or visit www.neonworkshops.com and www.12monthsofneonlove.blog.com

Posted on Friday 25th March 2011

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