Rock floats above water to inspire hope in difficult times.

The Weight of Things.


From this weekend, walkers around Keele University grounds will encounter a huge rock hanging over Pool Three in Keele Woods. Keele are hosting local artist David Bethell’s latest sculpture, called The Weight of Things, for three months as inspiration for students, staff, and visitors during what is set to be a difficult winter.

David Bethell conceived of the project during the first lockdown. He says “During April and May this year everything felt very heavy and impossible, but I was seeing glimpses of hope everywhere in how people were coming together. I normally spend a lot of time running over the Roaches and I wanted to bring that magic to people who can’t make it to the hills. I wanted to give people some magic and I thought having the rock floating over the water would create that small moment of awe in a time when we are missing out on so much.”

David Bethell is a carpenter and champion fell-runner who grew up in Ipstones and lives in Stoke on Trent. He graduated from St Martins College, London with a Fine Art MA in 2017. He answered a call-out from local company Urban Wilderness who were looking for personal responses to lockdown.

Urban Wilderness say: “We have worked with David before and were keen to help him to realise his vision. At first we thought it was impossible, we thought there was no way he could float a rock above water, or even that we’d be able to find somewhere to put it, but David was determined to make this project work and we’re delighted to have supported him with that".

The Weight of Things was commissioned as part of ‘Wastelands 2020’ – an art project which commissioned five new art pieces from Stoke on Trent artists that each answered the question ‘How has lockdown changed how you use green spaces?’

Read more on Wastelands 2020.