"Belle" the Knutsford Blue Bird – Video report included
Last Friday saw the unveiling of the the first ever FAT BIRD ON THE MOOR – Belle the Knutsford Blue Bird in the presence of the sculpture’s creator, renowned Cheshire artist Patricia Lee (whose ‘Mandy Mandala’ Superlambanana mosaic design sold at auction last September for £25,000 to TV producer Phil Redmond and is now in a Liverpool museum).
The overriding aim of the ‘Fat Birds on the Moor’ project is to engage the local community in a celebration of Knutsford’s environment, culture and identity. The Moor and its wildlife are quite unique and the art will help enhance and promote the distinctive character of this important area of green space.
Patricia explains the origins of this unique installation of Fat Birds. “ When Mandy Mandala went into the museum I was stunned at the level of interest she generated as well as the sense of community she stirred up in people across all ages. For my next project after Mandy I’d begun work on a new quirky-creatured theme – this time with unusual birds… So when I was asked by Cheshire East to help devise a piece of public art that would involve local communities and increase interest in the unique wildlife on Knutsford Moor – it was a perfect fit. Enter the Fat Birds!”
Cheshire East’s Kathy Swindells agrees; ‘The Fat Birds have really captured everyone’s imagination … from the early community workshops where Patricia tutored 150 residents as they worked on a Royal Crested Moor Hopper and Red Billed Sneezer Birds … to the Scouts’ Triple Velvet (because they’re so soft!), the Heritage Centre’s ‘Old Knutsfordian’ (who knows all the town’s secrets and wanders the streets muttering interesting historical facts)… to St Vincents’ fabulous flock … everyone has been inspired to conjure up all kinds of weird and wonderful birds to create in mosaic.”
“I’m passionate about creating art” Patricia explains “and even more passionate about helping others discover their creativity. I believe everyone can be creative and working on a collaborative art project is one way of doing this. By playing even a small part in producing a piece of public art can instil a sense of pride, ownership and a sense of place. I really am delighted to have been asked by Cheshire East, the Friends of the Moor and Knutsford’s Heritage Centre to be part of this.”
Whilst some of the artwork produced from the workshops will be installed on The Moor, other pieces will be displayed at their place of creation (scout huts, community centres and schools) as well as forming part of a major exhibition at the Heritage Centre in August.
“It’s a fantastic community project which the cubs have thoroughly enjoyed being part of. Creating something for posterity has a unique value for the children” believes Cub Leader Sue Primrose ‘as far as I’m aware, it’s the first time since the tapestry there’s been an art project on this scale so we’re very excited to have been involved”
About the Artist Patricia Lee is based out of a studio in Holmes Chapel Cheshire. Her Art Gallery / Workshop is situated Hills Garden Centre in Allostock. From her Salford roots, Patricia went on to study Graphic Design in Blackpool and more recently, gained a First Class Honours Degree in Design and Technology at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Patricia creates unique and beautiful, indoor and outdoor artworks using glass and complimentary materials. She also works in schools and on projects across the North West as a community artist and is available for commission work.
Knutsford Heritage Centre is an independent charity working to ‘protect, present and promote Knutsford’s rich and diverse heritage for the benefit of its residents and visitors’. Established in the town Centre for over twenty years, it is home to the famous Knutsford Millennium Tapestry, an extraordinary example of community artwork created by other 3,000 local residents. The Centre strives to enable the community to acknowledge, celebrate and recognise its heritage encouraging a greater sense of community and civic pride.
The Friends of The Moor is a group of volunteers in Knutsford who work together to promote the use of The Moor for leisure and recreation. The group provides a link between the local community and the Outdoor Leisure Section of Macclesfield Borough Council as well as organising and providing support to activities that take place on the Moor.
Mandy Mandala Superlambanana was originally commissioned by Liverpool charity ‘Arts in Regeneration’ for the ‘Go Superlambananas’ Project being run by the Liverpool Culture Company and organised by Wild in Art, as part of Liverpool’s Year as European Capital of Culture. Mandy is now homed at World Museum Liverpool until she moves to the new Museum of Liverpool when it opens in 2010.
“Mandy is a stunning and significant piece of art”.Phil Redmond, Chair of National Museums Liverpool
Cheshire East is working towards Green Flag status – a symbol of excellence in park management. Inspectors from the Civic Trust will visit The Moor during the Spring 2009 to determine the application by Cheshire East Council.
Councillor Andrew Knowles, MBC Portfolio Holder for Community and Wellbeing, says: “The bid to achieve Green Flag status for The Moor in 2009 has really spurred the community on. It would be great for it to become one of the best parks in the country but I’m equally thrilled with the energy of the Friends’ group, working with our Parks team, in improving the amenity.”