This sculpture sits in the landscape, a near abstract piece that illuminates into the sky at night. I hope the purpose informs and reminds of what was located in its place.

It almost conforms with the surrounding context, however on the contrary I hope it is highlighted from its contextualised past. A contemporary piece of art, that makes a connection to the former coalite.

  • Reversing and mixing up my process that was (A-B) gave me further time and exploration to create a well-informed and polished idea. 
  • Looking at my context, perhaps my sculpture could have been better connected in terms of the sculpture visuals and aesthetics?
  • Perhaps finding a context first, then assuming an idea would be more appropriate and credible in future

Finalised Designs

Going with the reverse idea of my design process, I’ve gone off some vague shapes from the initial sketches and created a model towering shape that subtly references a the industries’ building elements (e.g. Cooling towers).


Paper Maquette


Illustrator Model


Sculpture (Coloured and Textured)

Using illustrator I’ve created an image of the model, adding spillage elements that make point to the Coalite explosion.

( – Report on the Coalite explosion

I’m hoping to light up the sculpture from the inside at night, (look at older sketches) giving two different outlooks, a beaming light similar to work of Anthony McCall.

Context: The Coalite – History and Mystery?

The Coalite chemical company was a thriving industrial business invented in the early 20th century. ‘Coalite’ is the burning of coke then used as a smokeless fuel. The industry began to shrink during the 80’s and closed down officially in 2004, leaving a trail of waste and pollution in its path.

I’m planning on placing the sculpture in this context due to the current nature and surroundings of the location I wish to place it within. Now that the site is discarded debris and contamination resides and rots, which I see as an interesting platform for a response and reminder to the scar on the landscape.

The particular site I’m looking at is based in Bolsover, Derbyshire which was partly the company’s HQ.


Chemical Coalite – Laboratory, Bolsover, May 2010 (

Chemical Coalite, Bolsover, 2011 (

The site is now abandoned and laying to waste, clean-up proposals have been made and put forward however taking years to sort.

I look at the surrounding are and it makes me think of these words:

  • Uncanny
  • Desolation
  • Decay

An ideal location and context to place my sculpture, also it would be a suitable solution as to what will become of the place.


Chemical Coalite, Bolsover, September 2006 (

‘A Towering Explosion’



Notebook pages

Some further sketching, deciding on a number of key things:

  • The sculpture aesthetically works to be made up of two parts
  • a funnel structure best conveys my idea of a ‘portal’ image
  • Title is a personal explanation and relation to the context which plans to be the Coalite industry – based in Derbyshire

Some accidental photo of the unknown?

A post shared by Sam Joseph🖍 (@samjoepp) on


Documenting ideas and research on social platforms

The Maquette: Materials/Change of direction

First question about making the sculpture:

What materials are on offer/shall I use?

I think steel is the most appropriate material to use for the sculpture considering the physical impact that the material needs to have, also the loose relation to the coal industry (manufacturing and machine). (Furthermore looking at ideas and sketches I have been producing in my notebook)


Wood pieces, mesh fabric, sale tape


Notebook pages

I initially thought of the idea to create a fluid funnel, using two block ends to wrap this ‘funnel’ around. The materials proved difficult to work with, especially considering the multiple elements. I’m after a connected form that envelopes itself but also gives the sense of imploding.

  • Perhaps something with more structure? A single sheet of material?

Cartridge paper

This is what I was after. The paper shapes to my manipulation, giving a dynamism and an image of singularity. A dimension that cannot be related to any existing shape or form, it is an unknown object of mystery.

*This potentially could change my process, as the nature of the construction allows for spontaneity, rather than working to a  current design. 


Notebook pages



Felt fabric

I have also been testing felt, which proved unsuccessful, the structure which I needed did not lie here, as the flimsy form was too loose and flexible to the touch.

  • “Too spongy”
  • Fluctuant form is too unstable
  • However the colour emphasises an uncanny, dark tone. something that I could apply to the sculpture?