The Staffordshire Saxon began with an article published in The Sentinel back in March 2009 which championed the idea of using the discovery of The Staffordshire Hoard as a force for good in the region.
That article suggested a public art project in the form of a sculpture of a Saxon warrior who would have worn, carried or used the items found a part of the priceless treasure trove gifted from the county’s soil.
It was envisaged that the Staffordshire Saxon would be a proud standard bearer for our region: a symbol of hope; a unifying figure; and a driving force for re-branding and regeneration.
Upon reading The Sentinel’s article, social enterprise company PM Training contacted the newspaper offering its help to turn the vision into a reality and crucially, brought Potteries’ artist Andy Edwards to the table.
Fuelled by Andy’s enthusiasm for his home city and his passion for Dark Age history, The Staffordshire Saxon project gained momentum.
Other partners followed, offering expertise, support and resources which helped turn the initial 18 inch maquette designs into the nine foot warrior now on display at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery.
Most important of all, Stoke on Trent City Council funded this spectacular piece of legacy art which will welcome generations of visitors to the city centre attraction which is the recognized repository for all the county’s archaeological finds.
As part of his research for the project, Andy made allegiances and friendships with a range of experts on the Anglo-Saxon period – from eminent historians, professors and archaeologists to principal medieval re-enactment societies.
Pottery giants Wedgwood were also key in providing Andy with a specially created laboratory like Perspex studio at its Barlaston HQ as well as materials and collaborative expertise.
Andy began work there on January 17th 2012 assisted by two apprentices from PM Training, Jak Forester and Dan Cutter welding the steel skeleton armature to support the clay giant. Three months exactly later on April 17th, the mould for the statue was removed with Jak and Dan lending vital hands at the end as they had at the start. The team reunited once more when the completed cast returned from Castle Fine Arts foundry to help install the Staffordshire Saxon exactly again another month on.
The statue adds another dimension to the stunning artifacts on display standing as gatekeeper for the Staffordshire Hoard treasure. It intends to be an inspiration for any visitor and a catalyst to help regain pride and belief in Staffordshire and a sense of worth and well-being among the people who live there that could well prove as valuable as any amount of traditional regeneration investment.
The Staffordshire Saxon’s journey and mission have only just begun. . . . . .