A temporary artwork on a vast scale is coming to Upper Teesdale later this month.

A VAST bright yellow textile piece will soon fill an entire valley feature in the Durham Dales. It’s by Teesdale artist Steve Messam, who produces large scale temporary works in landscapes around the world. ‘Hush’ is inspired by the geology, mining history and landscape of the area and will be sited at Bales Hush, an old lead mining site in Upper Teesdale, County Durham.

“It is made of hundreds of sails suspended above a geological feature on the fells,” says Steve. “This is one of the largest pieces I’ve ever made, and on a scale that just doesn’t happen very often. The Turbine Hall at Tate Modern in London would fit in it three times over, with room to spare.”

His work will transform the man-made valley for just 17 days, between July 19 and August 4, giving dramatic emphasis to the ‘hush’, a feature of the landscape created when miners released water from reservoirs to flush away soil in order to access the mineral riches beneath. Now blending into its surroundings, Bales Hush is a vast gouge in the landscape measuring over 400m long and up to 20m deep. Steve’s artwork will fill the hush with five kilometres of recyclable saffron yellow fabric, forming hundreds of sails across the valley.

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“It’s exciting to be able to make an artwork on this scale, particularly in such a vast and wild environment,” he says. “The way the piece moves with the wind and the effect of the colour on such a scale is particularly exciting. It will look very different depending on the time of day and the weather.”

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The installation was commissioned by the North Pennines AONB Partnership and is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England. An immersive artwork, visitors will be able to view the piece from above as well as explore the hush below. The monumental artwork is on a scale in keeping with the vast landscapes of the North Pennines. Remnants of a lead mining past, like Bales Hush, can be seen right across the uplands of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and UNESCO Global Geopark.

“We’re delighted to announce our collaboration with Steve Messam on this new work," says Chris Woodley-Stewart, director of the North Pennines AONB Partnership. "We know that art in the landscape helps people engage with and understand their surroundings, and this piece will help tell a story of the North Pennines’ lead mining past and also of the landscape as we see it now. We are looking forward to welcoming people to visit Hush over the summer.”

Information on how to see Hush, starting from Bowlees Visitor Centre, is being published on the North Pennines AONB Partnership’s social media channels and on northpennines.org.uk/hush.