This work is to mark both their anniversary and to commemorate the passing of two of their volunteers. John Hayward and Simon Rutley-Frayne .
Simon and John were 2 of over 400, Devon Wildlife Trust volunteers that generously give their time to support and assist Devon wildlife projects that; educate, improve habitat and increase awareness of the enormous biodiversity found in the county. It is to their very great credit that, despite circumstance and infirmity, they gave their time .
The brief was to provide a wildlife sculpture, it was decided that a dragonfly was most appropriate. As one of their volunteers was a keen motorcyclist. It was suggested that I could include some bits of recycled motorcycle? Yes thank you for that!
Of course I am increasingly reluctant to produce works incorporating lots of scrap metal as it requires a great deal of time consuming (expensive) preparation. The end result can all to easily become unpredictable and relatively costly. As this is a charitable organisation with limited funding I was keen to keep costs under control and produce a work that would not turn into a heap of rust within twelve months.
With this in mind, I eventually settled on using the barrel of a motorcycle engine as the body of the insect. From there I could add the massive eyes, carved from oak and studded with copper roves that will hopefully verdigris with time. From then on it was a relatively straightforward job to fabricate body and stylised wings to suit. It was interesting to see how the whole thing was in near perfect balance about the legs and wings. Just as in real life, that long body acting as a counter weight to the massive eyes and mouth at the business end. This is, after all a top predator in the insect world. much like a shark that can fly like a helicopter, think on that.
Although constantly frustrated by the compromises I have to make in order to render such complex and beautiful creatures in cold steel, I hope to have produced a work durable enough to inspire young and old to appreciate them in the wild, and in so doing, inspire you to do your bit to improve their (and our) habitat.