There are many ways to make a wish from blowing out candles on a birthday cake to throwing a coin into a fountain, breaking a wish bone to spotting a shooting star- the list goes on. But have you ever made a wish by hammering a coin into a giant seed?
An experimental new sculpture by well-known artist Luke Jerram has just been installed in the grounds of Bristol’s Ashton Court, which gives you the chance to do exactly that. The giant wooden seed sculpture will slowly be transformed by members of the public by hammering in a small coin into it and making a wish.
Similar to throwing a coin into a well or fountain, the idea of hammering a coin into a tree to make a wish is a phenomenon which has existed since the 1700’s. As a method to create good luck or good fortune, some people used to also believe that if a sick person pressed a coin into a tree, their illness would go away.
Investigating notions of hope, aspiration, superstition, and belief, the artist behind the popular floating installations, Gaia and Museum of the Moon, hopes the coin studded sculpture will gradually become an intricate and complex work of public art. Known as New Beginnings, this giant wooden seed at Ashton Court is the first in a series of coin sculptures to be made by Luke Jerram which are animated and completed by members of the public.
Some sculptures will be temporary, whilst others, will be permanent, creating a slowly changing landmark in the landscape, a destination and focus for public discussion. Created in partnership with carpenters, craftsman and local communities, each artwork will be made from locally sourced materials and will vary in response to its location.
Luke Jerram said: “I love the idea of a seed: as a capsule of information and an object of potential that contains everything inside, a plant needs to grow. I hope the public enjoy interacting with this new sculpture and it acts as a capsule for their hopes, dreams and imagination!”
Visitors to the sculpture at Ashton Court Estate are invited to hammer a coin into the giant seed and make a wish for the future. The hammer is attached on a chain to the artwork, together with a pair of pliers to hold the coin and to help save people’s fingers.
New Beginnings was made by Jerram in collaboration with Alistair Park the sculpture was made with support from Artspace Ashton Court, We Are From Dust and Artspace Lifespace.