Peter Slight and the friendly fish

As many visitors here will know, Peter Slight is guest curator for this years Artlog online exhibition, the Puppet Challenge. His delightful graphic designs that regularly pop up in the Puppet Challenge posts, have been one of the great and unexpected pleasures of this project.

puppet challenge logo

While Peter is a tremendous supporter of other artists, he’s quite shy of the limelight himself, and so I’ve decided that todays post is not going to be Peter writing about puppets, but me writing about Peter.

You might remember the wonderful little figure of Krampus that he made as a gift for me last year.

Most of Peter’s creations, his meticulous models and his paper-sculpture pictures, are on a relatively small scale. One of the earliest paper-sculpture pictures he made was of a boat burial with a grave-marker above it. It was the first appearance of what would become the Friendly Fish

The Fisherman’s Grave

Friendly Fish began to appear in Peter’s sketchbooks. The artist was exploring the idea of saints and beasts… a subject close to my own heart… and drawings evolved of a saint and his dog, and what might even be a charming take on Saint Kevin, with the nest resting on the saint’s head like a beached boat.

From the drawings you can see that Peter had begun to imagine a figure in the round, albeit flattened out, as though the original paper sculpture of the grave-marker had uprooted itself and gone walkabout. As the image evolved, the artist settled for his subject on Saint Neot.

Peter writes:

‘St. Neot was a monk and hermit at Glastonbury Abbey in the 9th century. Neot is said to have worked miracles with animals and birds, but is particularly linked to a story involving a holy well an angel and some fish. According to some sources he was only 15 inches tall.’

The original scheme had been for a statue of five and a half feet high, but Peter’s discovery of the legendary saint’s tiny stature pointed the way to a different scale, and the finished work stands at two feet, excluding its oak plinth.

Peter writes:

‘The idea was a natural choice for my first sculpture. I hardly noticed it evolving over time. To me, it felt as though it just slipped into being. I plan to revisit this theme and particular saint again, in some form or other.’

Friendly Fish was made in an edition of nine, one of which can be seen in the Pride of the Valley Sculpture Park near Surrey

10 thoughts on “Peter Slight and the friendly fish

  1. I’ve been struggling to find the right words to express my gratitude to you for taking time to write about my little sculpture Clive, but I’m no wordsmith, and cannot express these things as well as I would like, so I hope a humble but heartfelt ‘Thank you’ will suffice?

  2. Lovely drawings and ideas. The sculpture is a beautiful piece. I especially like the choice of different colour for the fish, bravo Peter!

    • Thank you for yourkind comments Liz.
      The sculpture park must take credit for the two tone patina, it was their idea to liven up the surface of the piece which I think works really well and certainly draws the eye toward that fish!

    • Thank you for your lovely comments Phil, they are very much appreciated.
      The ‘clarity’ in my sketches comes from endless redrawing which allows me to trim the ‘fat’ off of an idea and pare it down to its essence in as few lines as possible as slowly but surely it evolves across my sketchbook pages, until i can draw the form or shape of the idea almost with my eyes closed.

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