The Chelsea Experience

May, 2012

Scouting around for information to prepare me for the Chelsea Flower Show installation, I was struck by other exhibitor’s use of the word “Build” in relation to the preparation of their exhibit / garden.
Not “Set-Up” but “BUILD” –a touch pretentious perhaps?  Now that The Chelsea experience is two weeks behind me, I can safely say that BUILD is the perfect word to describe the stress, strain and long hours of set-up that precedes the Chelsea Flower Show. This blur of activity is but a distant memory that started in Heathrow, 5:00am on a bitterly cold morning after 18 hours travel with my wife and 17 month old daughter. From Heathrow I proceeded directly to the Chelsea Flower Show grounds to receive the container that was trucked straight from the docks. Three of us unloaded more than 2 tons of sculptures in 3 hours with the use of the telehandler (You are forgiven for not knowing what this is – think of a genetically modified forklift, JCB and small crane all rolled into one and you will almost be there) with not one piece broken. Five long hard days of BUILD followed.
The Chelsea Flower Show opened on the Monday to the press. Months of doubt concerning the  reception my sculptures would receive evaporated within minutes of opening. From that Monday morning until close on Saturday afternoon, rare were the moments when there were less than a dozen people taking shots of the Two Rutting Stags.
The Show could not have been better. The weather was incredible, the appreciation and comments were sublime and almost all of the sculptures found homes within the first couple of days.
Of course the life size sculpture of Two Rutting stags fighting their battle on a weather worn driftwood trunk gained the most comments and attention, however the Rearing Stallion at the other side of the stand prooved quite an attraction.
It was an unforgetable experience and I would like to thank all the people who visited my stand.

James Doran Webb