Sculpture will be a reminder of Art in the Park in Leamington for years to come

Sculptor Jay Partridge will be creating a new scuplture for Art in the Park
Sculptor Jay Partridge will be creating a new scuplture for Art in the Park

Sculptor Jay Partridge has been commissioned by the organisers of Art in the Park to create a “permanent reminder” of this year’s festival which takes place in and around Jephson Gardens next weekend.

He is making a Seed of Life sculpture which will be a giant series of acorns and oak leaves.

Contributors to the A Flight of Fancy installation for Art in the park 2018 let their knitted birds take flight. Photo courtesy of Linda Scannell.

Contributors to the A Flight of Fancy installation for Art in the park 2018 let their knitted birds take flight. Photo courtesy of Linda Scannell.

Carole Sleight, the festival’s director, said: “This sculpture will be a permanent reminder of this year’s festival theme of trees and the festival of oaks which was held in Victorian times.

“Leamington Town Council is delighted to be supporting the “seed of life” project at this year’s Art in the Park Festival.

This project has demonstrated the skill of the artist which will provide an object of lasting beauty as a permanent feature within the sculpture trail at Jephson Gardens.

It also provides a unique illustration of the willingness of local people to reflect the history of our fine town through innovative projects that are environmentally sustainable.”

Jay has a passion for turning and carving bespoke pieces of artwork from what nature provides in wood, seeds and grass roots in to something beautiful for people to enjoy.

He said: “Nature provides me with what I need.

“A fallen tree is a gift which lends itself to being turned. “It’s not until the tools meet the timber as it turns on the lathe that it finds its own natural shape.

“Each piece has its own feel to be turned into something individual.

“I enjoy crafting a natural material which has uniformity like a seasoned oak, to the chaotic form of an Australian banksia seed.”

Another feature of this year’s festival will be the A Flight of Fancy installation.

More than 150 people from a variety of community groups, including community centres, knitting groups, Asian Ladies groups, mental health and well-being groups, as well as public workshops at an Eco Fun Day and at the Peace Festival , have been making and individualising their own birds, to create a diversity of flocks and species just as in nature.

Funded by Warwick District Arts, the project team has been led by Ali McKellar.

He said: “I created a simple knitting pattern that allowed anyone to take part in the project, but some people have knitted and crocheted larger birds, some using online patterns and some innovating with different stitches and creating their own designs - literally ‘winging it’.

“For example, we have a flamingo, a vulture, a peacock and seven-swans-a-swimming.

“We even have a knitted treehouse for some to roost in.

“Each group decided on their own flocks and each has decided whether to keep their birds, donate them for sale, or in the case of the Grace Café group, they will be taken to an orphanage in Romania.”

For more information about this year’s Art in the Park, which runs from 10am to 6pm on August 4 and 5, visit www.artinpark.co.uk