Internationally acclaimed artist, Kieron Williamson has painted a 1.6m owl sculpture in support of CT Baker Group’s Charity of the Year, East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).
Kieron has used his exceptional creative talent to paint the landscape of Morston Harbour, north Norfolk, onto the owl sculpture which has been affectionately nicknamed ‘Molly Morston’.
To mark its 250th anniversary year, CT Baker Group staff committed to raising £25,000 for EACH and it is hoped that Kieron’s wonderful creation will go some way to achieving that target.
From her current perch in the store window of Bakers & Larners of Holt, Molly Morston will spread her wings to The Gallery, where she will be the key feature of an exclusive Kieron Williamson exhibition hosted from 24 July – 4 August* (*Kieron’s 18th birthday). It is intended that Molly will go to auction later this year.
Jane Gurney-Read, Managing Director of CT Baker Group, said: “Kieron’s renowned artwork has attracted global attention and so we are delighted and very grateful that he has chosen to support CT Baker Group with our endeavours to raise much needed funds for EACH. Molly Morston is a wonderful piece of art; she’s currently perched in the store window at Bakers & Larners for every visitor to Holt to enjoy. ”
– Bakers & Larners Press Release
Kieron’s new 2020 collection ‘The Next Chapter’ is available to purchase online now from The Gallery, Holt
What inspired Kieron to take part in the project with Bakers & Larners of Holt and EACH, 2020?
I was seven years old when I first raised money for children’s charities and when I met the Duchess of Cambridge, who is Royal Patron to Each, East Anglian Children’s Hospice.
To be invited to join Bakers and Larners this year, in their efforts to raise funds for EACH was an easy decision to make. I was excited about the opportunity but equally daunted by the shape and size of the owl.
Michael Baker was such an inspirational character and what he has achieved for Holt as a town is unprecedented, it is a privilege to be able to help Bakers and Larners celebrate their 250 years by doing what I love to do.
How did Kieron decide upon Morston as a landscape?
I knew I would change my mind half way though painting! With something 3 dimensional it’s hard to get your head around wrapping it in a painting.
My first version included vignettes of Holt and Spout hills, Holt being my home town and the owl is the town’s symbol. It was important for me to choose a landscape that I loved to visit as a child that would work as a 3D painting.
Growing up in a first floor flat with no garden encouraged us as a family to visit wide open spaces around our coastline. Morston was a place that offered a young boy plenty of mud, water, wildlife and offered an artist endless opportunities to paint scudding clouds across an estuary that forever changes.
Was the creative process different in any way – if so, how?
The sheer size and shape of the owl meant it was going to be time consuming and physically challenging, getting it into the house was difficult and we couldn’t get it into my studio so it lived in my sister’s craft room and then at the bottom of our stairs while I finished it. At least I’m taller now and found reaching the top of it easier.
Going to take photos at Morston at sunrise is always a treat and two days of trying to get perfect lighting yielded the best photos I have, so it was then an easy and enjoyable process for me to share a beautiful place.
Did painting a 1.6m owl pose any challenges that Kieron has not previously encountered and if so, how did he tackle them?
The owl was propped up on a box so I could paint the lower portion, this meant kneeling and laying on the floor in quite a confined space, often the dogs would join in, I then had to swap over with the owl, so I stood on the box to paint the top portion, as an artist you always step back and squint at your work to check for composition, proportions etc, but I wasn’t able to get away far enough from it to make judgement calls. Changing my mind half way through increased the time it took, but it was important for the owl to depict what I wanted it to, although the colours are quite dark it is important to appreciate the promise of a new day. Sunrise for me is the best time of the day and I am often up and out of the house before sunrise.
It is hoped that the owl will raise money for EACH to help families and children when they need it most – Kieron will have helped make a huge difference. It must make Kieron and the Williamson family very proud that his talent is able to help others? Bakers & Larners of Holt is certainly very proud to have Kieron’s support for its fundraising efforts during the store’s 250th anniversary!
I am really proud to have been invited to work with Bakers and Larners, they have printed tea towels using a watercolour I painted when I was 6 years old of their iconic shop front that they are selling to raise funds and now this year a piece of my work will sit inside their shop front! I really hope their fundraising efforts are a success.
I am sensitive to the fact that I have had a very different childhood to those children and families who Each support on a daily basis, but that is why raising money for Children’s charities is so important, so that all children get to spend time doing what they love to do and making memories that count despite the challenges that they face.
Does Kieron have any thoughts on a name for the owl? Did it have an adopted name while he was painting it?
It would be lovely for children to think of a name for the owl.