Paul Richardson-Chute
First Cut (Miller UK Ltd)

During my Foundation Degree course I was really pleased to be commissioned to create a sculpture to be situated in front of Miller UK Ltd headquarters in Cramlington UK. I was also proud to work on a local project for a locally founded but international company

There are many concepts within the sculpture. I began by visiting the factory and my first big impression was the repeated forms of both the completed machinery items aligned on the shelving system awaiting transport and their constituent parts before they were fabricated. Miller UK Ltd held patents, at the time, for two of the items of machinery they fabricated at the factory, an excavator bucket design called 'Scoop' and a Quick Coupler (used to attach the bucket to the excavator arm). I was impressed with these innovative pieces of machinery and decided that I would use the profile of both to make a form. Also at the factory were rows upon rows of excavator bucket teeth and it was from this that I took the idea for the form of the sculpture.

I could not create a giant excavator bucket but instead created a giant excavator tooth in the action of cutting the first sod of earth at a new development.

I had been a long time admirer of the Merz Barn Wall by Kurt Schwitters at the Hatton Gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne and within this is a wedge, albeit protruding horizontally from a vertical section of the wall, very much like the shape of an excavator tooth. I took the angle of this to form the angle of First Cut. The sculpture is made from Corten steel, the same steel used to create many of Miller's products. In the foundation block are grooves these represent the teeth marks an excavator bucket might leave when scraping away the first few inches of earth.

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