A MENAGERIE of clay and metal animals all awaiting adoption will be on display in a heart-warming exhibition at the Town Mill in Lyme Regis, from November 22 to 28.
Three friends – Hilary Bradt, Penny Ireland and Pat Greenland – met while studying animal sculptures in clay with Brendan Hesmondhalgh in Yorkshire, and are now sharing their collection of endearing creatures (real and imagined) made out of clay as well as scrap metal in the Town Mill’s Malthouse Gallery.
Seaton-based Hilary is a travel expert, publisher of the Bradt Travel Guides, who has been awarded an MBE and Lifetime Achievement Award.
Explaining her fascination with animals as well as different media, she said: “I love the combination of skeletal consistency with the excitement of working in a wide variety of media.
“I progressed from wood to stone carving, then to clay, but I when I get the chance I particularly enjoy forging and welding scrap metal for the challenge of achieving an animal likeness with the most unlikely materials.”
For Pat Greenland, who has spent most of her life in the New Forest, her attraction to the three dimensional form dates from childhood, and her current preference is for working in clay.
“I have used several media for sculptures but I find the plasticity and strength of stoneware clay superb for bringing to life the animals I find endlessly fascinating,” she said.
“Finding attitudes that express personality and often humour, the tenseness of the body and muscles, all this I try to achieve in each piece.”
Penny Ireland is Kentish and spent most of her career in scientific research centres in Kent and London. Now settled near Axminster, she started by sculpting the human form but, as she puts it, “became intrigued by the similarities as well as differences in morphology across the animal kingdom”.
Penny added: “I like to undertake less familiar subjects and try to use a study of their evolution as part of the creative process. I have worked with wire, wood and plaster but clay is my favourite medium.
“The malleability allows for detailed features to be incorporated and the glazing provides the opportunity to experiment.”
‘Animals in Mind’ will be open daily from 10.30am to 4.30pm, admission is free and further details can be found on www.townmillarts.co.uk