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Leap into Year of the Stag! 2024

What a fantastic Leap Year- the snow drops are up bobbing in the scrawly weather and my crocus are just surviving the birds! So many hedgerow buds ready to burst forth once February has had its wild way!

So Year of the Stag? well, maybe its Dog but for Fantasy Forest Festival fans it will be a giant willow Stag for the traditional burning ceremony-not mine i hasten to add!

The Leaping stag i refer to is the A303 Blackdown Hills Stag that leaps energetically over beech hedgerow as you drive up the winding Hills towards Combe St Nicolas-if its your daily commute you may have seen it being extracted for a reweave or have missed 'something' form the hedgerow recently! Well Mark asked me to give the stag a re weave and its ready to go back to jumping the hedge effortlessly for a few more years

That fantastic 'are we nearly there yet' can be ear marked by a landmark such as the Leaping Stag and it was the brain child of Colin who spent much time and careful planning visiting various locations before he committed to its current location. He thought of visibility, how long you'll see it for, the sky behind it-would a viewer see its silhouette, the angles from the road, its security. A fine engineer. His attributes went further with the sturdy design for the platform for the sculpture-its ingenious bolted down structure and strength in the frame itself-its lasted years of weathering and we do get some big weather at the A303!

The frame was then sculpted from metal and willow by the environmental artists Sophie Courtiour and Stefen Jennings alongside some sheep and various other sculptures commissioned by the Blackdown Hills Rural Partnership-highlighting to the public the wild life of the Blackdowns-its mystery and per chance find a Black large cat.....

Sadly Sophie passed away last summer and i feel very honoured to have woven a new suit for the deer that was one of her iconic willow sculptures. It proves that although there is longevity in a sculpture beyond the original artist and her legacy pieces can keep being re woven with that sustainable product for many years to come. We found a metal heart welded into the original frame-fitting for a weave on February 14th.

So lok out for the return-let me know when you next spot the Stag on A303!

I have been busy over the winter months-having got a herd of over 260 deer made with students-I took a break! But felt fidgety and started making commissions and things-my excuse to play! So foxes, badgers & bears-another stag-wearing my Bridport Hat festival Hat!

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