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11,000 Days – A Journey of Recovery & Gratitude

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11,000 Days – A Journey of Recovery & Gratitude

11,000 Days is a work of art, an exhibition and a physical record. Sculptor, stonemason and artist Russ Coleman will create 11,000 stone blocks, each representing a single day of his recovery from alcohol addiction. They will be created, exhibited and given away as part of a project that expresses the profound gratitude, scale and complexity of the artist’s journey in and through recovery from addiction.

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£5,873.00 Raised

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Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, United Kingdom (UK)

INTRODUCTION

Russ Colemen, bricklayer turned sculptor, stonemason and artist is working on a project that will help recovering addicts and give back to the community.

Russ trained as a bricklayer and served a full apprenticeship as a monumental mason and letter cutter. After ten years in the world of graft and craft, he followed his creative urges and started a Foundation course in Art and Design.

He studied Fine art in Kingston upon Hull in the early 1990’s and has created public artworks all over the United Kingdom for the past 25 years.

His latest works extend a long tradition of British sculpture, combining humanity and landscape. Russ is using stone as an expressive medium, producing a set of works that are as rich as they are simple. They are a quiet contemplation of geological time and the brevity of life.

Recovery.
Russ is a recovering alcoholic. Thirty years ago he realised he was in the grip of a powerful addiction. His use of alcohol had strayed away from the social lubricant and pleasurable indulgence it had once been and become a dominant, negative force in his life. Having acknowledged the problem and finding himself unable to stop drinking alone, he reached out to Alcoholics Anonymous and other addiction recovery groups for help. There he found the fellowship, friendship and support that has allowed him to stay sober, one day at a time, for nearly 30 years.

Gratitude.
As Russ approaches and, god willing, passes through that 30-year sobriety landmark he has found himself contemplating the enormity and value of something that has been given to him freely and contributed to by so many generous souls. As many of us do as significant birthdays or other life events approach, he has recalled the people, places and events along his life’s journey. In doing so, Russ has been frequently overwhelmed by feelings of gratitude and humility and sought a way to express those feelings through his art.

Thus, 11,000 days was born…

 

THE IDEA

11,000 Days. ‘One Day at a Time’ is a mantra often repeated at recovery meetings around the world. It is a reminder that the addict is never truly free of their addiction, rather that he or she is offered a daily reprieve from that addiction. Russ will soon have enjoyed 11,000 such daily reprieves – for 30 years, he will have remained sober, one day at a time.

During that period Russ has completed hundreds of projects and produced thousands of works of art. A recent relocation of his work space prompted an audit and rationalisation of the substantial accumulation of objects and materials that crowded the yard he had been working from. The hoarded material left over from previous projects or reserved for some unknown future use mainly took the form of natural and manufactured stone and concrete and bags of coloured sands and aggregates as well as incomplete, partial or abandoned artworks.

While mixing some of this material into large castings for storage and with only the vaguest thoughts to their future use, the ideas and feelings that we are now presenting as ‘11,000 Days’ took hold.

Russ will continue to cast the detritus, flotsam and jetsam of his working, artistic life into large blocks that will then be sawn into slabs and then into cubic blocks. Each block will be 75mm on a side. He will create 11,000 blocks – each representing a single day. He will then exhibit them as a collection before giving them away.

Create. Exhibit. Give Away.
‘Freely you have received: freely give.’
Matthew 10:5-8

The concept of giving back for free what you yourself were given is a central tenet of twelve step recovery. This line from the Christian bible is repeated in Alcoholics Anonymous literature and is at the heart of Tradition Eight and Step Ten of the AA recovery programme. Russ, like millions of alcoholics around the world, has not paid a penny for the knowledge, wisdom and support he has received from the AA fellowship. This support has helped Russ to remain sober and to grow personally and spiritually and to develop as an artist.

‘11,000 Days’ will be given away. The artwork will be displayed as a single body before being distributed to 11,000 individuals. Those individuals will become temporary custodians of the individual cubes before they too are asked to pass on, to give away the ‘Day’ they hold.

The ‘days’ will be reunited at regular intervals, when the custodians will be asked to bring them together again for display as a single body, or as a series of bodies.

A website will be created where each ‘Day’ is registered, and its journey recorded. The approximate location will be recorded on a map along with anonymised details of the past and present guardians.

The blocks will be scanned and photographed for inclusion in a catalogue.

Production of the ‘Days’
Production of the blocks will take place over a 12-month period.

Each 75mm cube will weigh 0.99kg. 11,000 cubes will weigh 10,890kg.
11,000 cubes will have a total volume of 4.65 m3
22 x 22 x 22 cubes will form a single body 1.65m in height, width and depth.

Process
Two staff will process 44 blocks per day.

Person 1
Take enough slab stock to cut 50 blocks.
Polish top and bottom.
Slice into strips turn through 90 degrees, clamp strips together and polish both sides.
Slice to complete the final 2 sides of the blocks, clamp into position and polish both sides.

Person 2
Dry, Seal, number and sign with pantograph or sandblasted signature.
Scan all six sides, photograph 2x3D images collate images for catalogue.
Pack and store.

 

COSTS

Production of the ‘Days’

Personnel
Two people at £22,750 per annum working for 46 weeks (253 days) each. £45,500
Additional admin resource flexing over 12 months £18,000

Equipment & Materials
Casting initial large blocks £1,000
Production I.T. £2,000
Slab Cutter £3,000
Linisher £3,000
Sand Blaster £1,500
Recycling Plant £6,000
Racking £600
Packaging £2,750
Small Tools £1,500
Sealer £2,000
Workshop Rental £20,000
Website £4,000

Total £110,850 – Cost per ‘Day’ is £10.08

Production of the Catalogue
A catalogue, in the form of a multi-volume folio, will be produced. It will feature pictures of each face of each block and a narrative explaining the inspiration for the project, the process followed and the broader activities associated with the artwork.

Blocks 11,000
Face Images 66,000
3D Images 22,000
Image Pages 11,000 (8 images per page)
11,000 divided by 500 = 22
Introductory Volume

Each edition will consist of 23 volumes.
A maximum of 100 editions will be printed

Each volume will cost £36 to print
Each edition of 23 volumes will cost £828 to print
Initial graphic design for the first edition will cost £44,000 (2,200 hours at £15/hour)

Additional graphic design, editing and preparation for print £6,000

Total cost of catalogue production;

Print (£828 x 100) £82,800
Initial graphic design £44,000
Additional graphic design, editing and preparation for print £6,000

Total £132,800

Exhibition Costs
Exhibition design and production £50,000

Total £50,000

Total Project Costs
Production of the ‘Days’ £110,850
Production of the Catalogue £132,000
Exhibition £50,000

Total £293,650

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

‘Freely you have received: freely give.’ Matthew 10:5-8. The concept of giving back for free what you yourself were given is a central tenet of twelve step recovery. This line from the Christian bible is repeated in Alcoholics Anonymous literature and is at the heart of Tradition Eight and Step Ten of the AA recovery programme. Russ, like millions of alcoholics around the world, has not paid a penny for the knowledge, wisdom and support he has received from the AA fellowship. This support has helped Russ to remain sober and to grow personally and spiritually and to develop as an artist.


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    • 25-02-2020 

      Crowdfunding Project Launched

      The 11,000 Days - A Journey of Recovery & Gratitude project launches on the fundr platform.

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