In 2015 I was asked by the staff at Centre Parcs in Elvenden Forest to create 10 very large sculptures for their new “Sensory Adventure” family activity area.
The design brief was to create 5 Ent faces depicting the different senses for each area. Sight, Smell, Taste, Touch and Sound. These comical faces are carved into the side of a 6 foot log and are designed to appeal to both adults and children. I also needed to create 5 information posts incorporating an animal found in our native woodlands.
The first step was to design the sculptures, so I got my sketchbook out and gathered some reference images for inspiration, then got busy drawing up ideas for the new sculptures.
Once the designs and final dimensions where approved I got to the fun bit! Tackling 10, 6 foot sculpture at once was no mean feat. The worst bit was sanding all the bases, but fortunately I managed to draft in some help for this. I was focusing on one or two at a time so I could start painting the coloured stains and preserving oils on the finished sculptures in-between carving to give my arms a rest!
Carving the facial expressions on the Ent’s was great fun, watching them slowly come to life. Another little fun addition was a rabbit disappearing into a hole in the base of a tree stump. That’s the beauty of working on these large sculptures, if given enough time there is room to add lots of subtle details.
Everything went well and despite the client shortening the initial deadline all the sculptures where delivered ready to be installed ahead of schedule, in plenty of time for the other contractors to finish their work on the site. Everyone did a fantastic job and the finished exhibit exceeded everyone’s expectations.
So if you ever visit Centre Parcs in Elvenden, why not pay a visit to the Sensory Adventure and take a look. I’d love to know what you think.