The herring

Public art in true Bohus granite becomes ever more beautiful with the passing years. A clearer legacy for future generations is hard to imagine. Ivana Machackova is an established sculptress who, since the end of the 1990s, has been involved in creating public works of art in Bohus granite.

Born in Prague, the Czech Republic, in 1960, Ivana is now active in the Bohuslän region of Sweden. She was trained at a Gothenburg art school and has now been creating sculptures for a little over 20 years. Known for her artworks for public places, Ivana is most famous for creations in Bohus granite. “The herring” is one of these.

Located at Lysekil’s northern harbour, “The Herring” has become both a landmark and a tourist attraction. Sawn from a large granite block, the sculpture, as the name indicates, depicts a herring. Herring and herring fishing recur frequently in the history and development of Lysekil and Bohuslän. As early as the 16th century, herring fishing was of great economic importance for the people of Lysekil. Herring and fish oil became Bohuslän’s prime exports.

With the aid of our expert stonemasons, Ivana’s granite sculpture was created at the Ävja quarry. She relates that the process from granite block to finished artwork imposes severe requirements as regards meticulous planning, extreme precision and very careful handling of the specially selected stone.

“I have created a number of highly unique pieces with Benders’ help, in particular, the expertise and craftsmanship within the company. I’m speaking here of the handling of very large and enormously heavy blocks of stone. The desired block must first be extracted from the rock and then, using two to three wheel loaders and concerted effort, be taken into the sawing shop,” Ivana Machackova, artist.

Creating “The Herring” and Ivana’s other works of art in granite involves a great deal of skilled toil. Once the block has been quarried, there follow test benching, measuring and locating of the centre line and centre of gravity. The block then undergoes several sawing operations. This is because, to achieve the desired shape, the block has to be turned between cuts. It is not unusual for cutting to take several days before the semi-finished work of art emerges from the sawing shop. Ivana then manually crafts the sculpture to completion.

Ivana feels that it is her skills, combined with the craftsmanship of stonemasons, that allow the creation of fantastic and unique works. Sculptures that can indeed be seen as living advertisements for the quarrying industry. Monumental sculptures in stone often expand the limits of what can be achieved using the day’s technology. Furthermore, works of art in granite have proven to be highly appreciated features of public spaces.