Shoulder to the Wheel takes as its starting point the classic 1923 book by the Farnham wheelwright George Sturt, The Wheelwright’s Shop. The exhibition has been curated by the internationally-acclaimed writer and researcher Dr Glenn Adamson. Shoulder to the Wheel is presented in partnership with The Museum of English Rural Life at the University of Reading.
The foundational object in the exhibition is a single wagon wheel from the collections of The Museum of English Rural Life. The wheel has been studied by three makers who have been commissioned to make a wheel in response to it. These makers come from very different technical, creative and imaginative backgrounds. Greg Rowland is a Master Wheelwright with a studio and workshop in Devon. Gareth Neal is a furniture designer-maker based in East London. Zoe Laughlin is co-Founder and Director of the Institute of Making at the University College, London. Their wheels will demonstrate diverse approaches from the traditional to the conceptual, using analogue and digital methods of construction. The new commissioned works mark our own distance from Sturt’s time, presenting the wheelwright’s trade in an expansive and comparative context.
The exhibition will include new studio photographs by Jon Stokes, as well as associated wheelwright’s tools from the collections of The Museum of English Rural Life, and sections from Sturt’s handwritten manuscript of The Wheelwright’s Shop’ kindly loaned by the Farnham Museum.