I lived with the StarDisc many years before it actually existed. For me it began with a pen drawing Aidan made one Christmas – a stone-paved amphitheatre surrounded by tall pine trees. On the stone the stars of the Northern Hemisphere shone like the reflection of stars in black water. ‘I want to create it by the year 2010,’ Aidan said. At the time it was 2004 and I couldn’t envisage it ever happening. Costing £150,000, it seemed an impossibly ambitious project, never mind finding a location.
Good ideas come easily to many people, but it’s so difficult to bring an idea through to realisation. It takes a particular kind of person to generate the energy and inspiration required, as well as the endless dreary work of fund-raising, writing evaluations, public consultations and project management. Hardly the work most artists relish, but Aidan is dogged and thorough and never gives up.
Over a long time we had many conversations about how the StarDisc should look, and how it could be made – what kind of stone to use, how the stars could be created. There were trials with luminous paint, ideas for lights to be channelled under the the stone, and even plans for different venues. Originally the StarDisc was planned for an island in Dorset, before Aidan finally decided on the hill at the top of Stoney Wood, where he walked our dogs Henry, Kim, and Katy over the years it took for the dream to become reality. It’s a wonderful area, high up, with wide views down the Ecclesbourne Valley, where one summer solstice we watched the sunrise over Barrel Edge.
We’d already reached 2010, and much had been accomplished, until the final funding bid of three was turned down and the project, short of fifty thousand, seemed to be doomed. But the morning Aidan received the bad news, and in the time it took for me to get from Derby to London by train, he’d slashed the budget and secured enough money from family and friends to see the StarDisc to completion. In September 2011, only one year late, we had the wonderful StarDisc launch.
The StarDisc has existed for nearly three years now and is loved by people in Wirksworth and far beyond. Aidan, and his colleague, Phil Bramhall, have inspirational ideas for a StarDisc Array, and have spent hours working on it for little or no income for at least a year and a half.
Now that the StarDisc has reached the finals in the National Lottery Awards – vote for it here – there’s much publicity generated, and a sense of gathering momentum.
I am so proud of Aidan. I admire the way he balances inspiration with the hard work of organisation, and I’m sure the most exciting times are yet to come.
Tricia Durdey dances, writes, and teaches Pilates.