Illustrious visit by Heaven 17 founder

The founder of Heaven 17, one of Sheffield's most iconic bands, has visited Sheffield Forgemasters to source material for an exciting art and sound Power project.

Martyn Ware is the man behind Heaven 17, The Human League and British Electric Foundation and he visited Sheffield Forgemasters with colleagues from his latest collaboration, The Illustrious Company, to see the legacy of 200 years of engineering heritage in action.

The visit saw Martyn and colleagues Sarah Hopkins and Tracey Moberly, take in the whole 64-acre site tour of Forgemasters' Brightside Lane site to record audio and video of the operation for the forthcoming Power Project which will tour art galleries and public spaces across the UK.

Martyn Ware, founder of The Illustrious Company, said: “Sheffield Forgemasters epitomises the innovation of this country's great industrialists and the visit was a must.

“This industry is important to me personally as I grew up in Sheffield and understand the huge part that steel played in building this city and supporting so many generations of families.

“When Sarah, Tracey and I came together and shared and developed our practices, we found that our fathers had life-long careers associated with and within the UK steel industry. We were brought up appreciating the significance and importance of industry and manufacture on the doorstep.

“From a creative perspective, what we have seen at Sheffield Forgemasters and also at Port Talbot Steelworks is incredibly high-impact, both visually and through sounds. These spaces offer a cathedral-like experience for artists and it has been fascinating to see the skills and choreography employed in working with molten and forged steels.”

The Power Project will consist of a range of collagraphic works along with the beginning of a series of limited edition screenprints, photography, film and an immersive sonic steelworks created at Martyn’s London studio – featuring his company Illustrious’ bespoke 3D sound technology called 3DAudioScape.

Dr Graham Honeyman, chief executive at Sheffield Forgemasters, said: “It has been a privilege for us to host a tour for Martyn and his colleagues. Martyn's music, from the early days of The Human League through to Heaven 17 and BEF, has inspired a generation and continues to be a strong part of Sheffield's extraordinary musical legacy.

“For me, there is something fascinating about the way Sheffield has produced so many innovators from artistic, musical and industrial backgrounds and we are keen to see what happens here documented across all media and artistic platforms.

“We are very much looking forward to seeing the outcomes of The completed Power Project and will welcome Martyn back if he needs anything else from us.”

Sheffield Forgemasters has a long-standing involvement in the arts and once accommodated Bill Drummond, founder of The KLF, as an artist in residence for a period of four weeks, accompanied by Tracey Moberly who produced many visuals & film around the concepts.

The site supports sculptures designed by local artist Robin Widdowson, with the now symbolic Scorpion statue at Gate 2 manufactured by the company's own apprentices and all artwork in the company's boardroom has been commissioned through local artist, Wilda Goyetche.