Residents chip in to create abstract sculpture at Radipole Nature Reserve in Weymouth

Dorset Echo: CARVE UP: Mary Harman, Michelle Williams and Sarah Gilpin working on the sculpture at Radipole Lake RSPB nature reserve CARVE UP: Mary Harman, Michelle Williams and Sarah Gilpin working on the sculpture at Radipole Lake RSPB nature reserve

HUNDREDS of people have helped to create an abstract sculpture at a Weymouth nature reserve.

Portland sculptor Sarah Gilpin invited residents and visitors to put mallet to chisel on a large stone ahead of Dorset Arts Week.

She put her proposal for the work on Radipole Lake forward in 2012 and The Heritage Lottery fund granted funding.

Sarah said: “The sculpture is an abstract shape that is evolving as we work, so the final result is still uncertain. “I'm hoping people will find different things within it – perhaps an ammonite, a swooping hawk, a shell, an owl’s face, or even as one boy noted, a ghost.”

The work, which has approximately cost around £2,500, will be celebrated during Dorset Arts Work, from May 24 to June 8, during which eight or nine other temporary sculptures will be placed at the site. In February last year, Sarah was given the go ahead to select a stone from a Portland quarry and get it transported to the reserve.

Now in 2014, the finishing touches will be completed during DAW, two and a half years after the idea emerged to develop into a joint project with the RSPB.

Sarah added: “Over 200 people put mallet to chisel to stone during the summer of 2013.

“Many returned over the months for another go, and several volunteered to help continue the sculpting after the workshops finished.

“The aim was to get more people to come along to the nature reserve and have a go at something different.”

She told the Echo it was the largest stone she had ever worked on.

Michelle Williams, centre manager of the RSPB Radipole Lake nature reserve, said the project had attracted many people to the iconic Weymouth location.

Mary Harman, of Chickerell, has been making regular visits to the reserve to get involved.

She said: “I’d never done anything like before but I really enjoy it. It has been wonderful to see the sculpture take place.”

n DAW is organised by Dorset Visual Arts and is one of the three largest events of its type in the country.

More than 800 artists, designers and makers will exhibit work at over 300 free venues across Dorset. It is one of the three largest open studio events in the country.

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