Artist keeps close eye on demolition

AS the transformation of Cranfields from disused flour mill to hundreds of new homes and a new dance centre continues, Valerie Irwin has been following events every step of the way.

AS the transformation of Cranfields from disused flour mill to hundreds of new homes and a new dance centre continues, Valerie Irwin has been following events every step of the way.

She is the artist who has been recording every change to the building and every piece of work by contractors CDC Demolition.

So far she has produced an amazing 550 charcoal sketches of the work - or at least that was the figure at the beginning of the week. By Christmas the 600-mark will be rapidly approaching.

Valerie, who lives at East Lawn, feels fortunate to have such activity on her doorstep.


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She said: “I have been here almost every day to record all the activity. I am producing different kinds of sketches - some are quick five-minute sketches capturing the moment when something is happening while others are more considered still life images.”

She has become a familiar figure to CDC contractors working on the site to the point where they now keep an eye out for her.

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As she continues her work, Valerie has come to know all the individual contractors. She said: “As I'm drawing I can tell if it's Ralph or Ricky by the way they move.

“This is a very important development for Ipswich and I think it's only right that the whole process should be recorded.

“When I've been doing still life work on a Sunday I've been approached by people who used to work at Cranfields. They've been very pleased that this work is being recorded like this.”

And Valerie said the work gives her a great opportunity.

“Here there is the opportunity to do portraiture, still life, landscapes and action pictures - every type of work.”

The Christmas break - demolition work will stop for a fortnight on Friday - will give her the opportunity to organise her work.

“Until now there has only been the chance to clean the pictures, spray them and catalogue them in the evening after I get home. During the break I will be able to organise them a bit better,” she said.

As yet she does not know what will happen to her drawings.

She said: “It would be good to have an exhibition, I have spoken to the people from Dance East and they seem to quite like that idea.

“But it would also be good to see them published in a book - if there are any publishers out there I'd love to hear from them.”

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