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Sherwood woven into a giant sculpture at a Welbeck gallery

Laura Ellen Bacon with her new exhibition at The Harley Gallery, Welbeck
Laura Ellen Bacon with her new exhibition at The Harley Gallery, Welbeck

Birch taken from Sherwood Forest has been woven into a sculpture which fills one of the largest rooms of a Welbeck gallery.

The sculpture named LAID was created by artist Laura Ellen Bacon and is inspired by hedgelaying.

Laura, who is no stranger to The Harley Gallery on Mansfield Road, was invited to create the sculpture designed on the 16th century way of bending a small shrub or tree into a fence.

Laura, who also has permanent artwork at Chatsworth, started working on the piece on Monday,July 23, and it was available for public viewing four days later.

The 41-year-old, from Matlock, Derbyshire, was shortlisted for the BBC Woman’s Hour Craft Prize last year and her work has been described as “startling but beckoning”, “monumental yet intimate” and “frenzied yet calm”.

She said: “I am enjoying my time back at the gallery. I was here in 2004 where I had a couple of pieces set outside.

“I’m fascinated by enclosures, including hedges and the ancient craft of hedgelaying.

“It’s the life-seeking sap that inspires me the most, how the hedge responds to the skilfully wielded, fierce blow of the billhook – and flourishes as a result.”

LAID will be Laura’s largest “woven space” in a gallery setting for nearly four years.

It continues her work in making raw materials into large-scale artworks, in both interior and landscape settings.

She said: “Being inspired by hedgelaying is a new strand of my work. It is a wonderful gallery with a great atmosphere, not to mention a fabulous setting for my work.”

Using many thousands of branches, the entire installation was constructed by hand.

Laura and a small team of helpers knotted, weaved, twisted and plaited the birch and willow from Somerset over hundreds of hours to create a “strange and familiar” piece.

Some of her drawings and smaller sculptures are also on display at the gallery.

She said: “It has been nice to show a variety of my work.”