The Diary: They’re made from what? Swarf sculptures to go on show

Sheffield artist Anthony Bennett and Brian Alcock the city's last grinder looking the sculpture of Brian at the Millennium Galleries Sheffield. Picture Chris Lawton.
Sheffield artist Anthony Bennett and Brian Alcock the city's last grinder looking the sculpture of Brian at the Millennium Galleries Sheffield. Picture Chris Lawton.
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THEY are Sheffield sculptures made from a most unlikely Sheffield material: swarf.

That’s the fragments of metal and stone which gather on the floors of grinding shops. The particles are thrown there when steel is pushed against a spinning wheel to shape it.

Now eight pieces carved and moulded from this unusual substance have proven so popular while on show at eight separate city locations they are to be brought together and exhibited at the Millennium Gallery.

Anthony Bennett’s work – collectively called Swarfhorse – includes a body, a lightbulb and a bust of Brian Alcock, the 70-year-old who is Sheffield’s last jobbing grinder. They have been on show, as previously reported on this page, at places as diverse as the Town Hall, Sheffield University and Whiteley Woods. But the new exhibition will be the first time they’ve been brought together.

“It’s about drawing attention to Sheffield’s grinding heritage,” says Anthony, 51, of Hillsborough. “Grinding was hard, dangerous work and Sheffield was the best in the world at it, and this work was celebrating that. The sculptures were spread across the city before so not many people saw them all. It will be nice to now have them in one location.”

Show runs July 9 to August 26