Projects / Anchorhold

2013 ongoing

In May 2013, we created this collaborative structure to offer one to one support sessions in a wide variety of disciplines, from product development to primal scream therapy.

To host these sessions - some of which were hosted by long-time GA alumnus Marcus Coates - a small wooden building was designed, forming a junction between the sky and the sea, acting as a connector. Anchorhold offers a multitude of functions ranging from fishing hole, therapy unit and dining room for one, to contemplative space.

The building is inspired by Lloyd-Wright's little-publicised ideas that informed the design of the Guggenheim, New York, suggesting that it be a spiral funnel to draw in and transmit cosmic energy. These slightly deranged ideas in fact formed the underbelly of much of the 20th century understanding of the role and place of art, as inhabiting the 'liminal space’ - with no distinct purpose and no proven outcome. This project aims to channel these ideas into practical, useful and valuable outcomes that will benefit the island of Hailuoto and act as a force for creative development.

'Anchorhold' refers to the cells Anchorites traditionally occupied; an almost completely sealed building in a rural location, into which they would withdraw from secular society in order to contemplate God. Typically sustained by the church and community, Anchorites were a type of living saint or religious hermit that became particularly widespread during the early Medieval Period.

The building hosted a collectively organised artists’ programme, as part of a wider programme of support services that were developed over time. Sessions were organised in response to demand from the community and included business development, mental health, alcohol management and other universal issues faced by small communities. During the summer Anchorhold was situated in a remote rural location, and was then moved onto the surface of the sea once the ice was strong enough to hold it - the intention being to offer silence and retreat, intimacy and distance.

The project is a collaboration led by Grizedale Arts with Charlie Sutherland of Sutherland Hussey architects, artist Marcus Coates and the Finnish host organisation Hai Art, and was originally built alongside local artists and the Hailuoto community.
A short video documenting the story of Anchorhold can be seen online here.

Since its original conception, Anchorhold has been part of The Nuisance of Landscape, Grizedale Arts’ major retrospective show at Abbot Hall in 2014, and was also in of the Politics of Craft: After Ford 151 at the Glasgow School of Art, from 7th February – 8th March 2015.

It has since been installed at Lawson Park in the garden. A version of Anchorhold was presented in 'The Land We Live In - The Land We Left Behind' at Hauser & Wirth Somerset (20th January - 8th May 2018) before being permanently installed at Lawson Park.