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John Merrill

Sculpture inspired by school children

Primary school children in Ellesmere have been helping the sculptor-maker John Merrill to create the next art piece commissioned for the Ellesmere Sculpture Trail around the mere in Ellesmere. John who is based in North Wales, had a successful day this summer with Year 3 children in Ellesmere Primary School, gaining inspiration and ideas at the Mere.

John’s piece now forms part of the next phase of the Sculpture Trail around the mere and follows the recent sculpture ‘Stairway to Haven’ created in Cremorne Gardens by Rumen Dimitrov, which visitors have been enjoying greatly.

John has carved his piece from a Lime tree felled in Castlefields near the Boathouse and creates all his work by hand using a mix of traditional and modern carving and joinery techniques.  Community participation is key to John’s work, and for this project John wanted to involve the local school children and use their creativity to form the basis of this sculpture piece.

“The children have enjoyed a lovely time at the mere, looking around them for inspiration to make words and creating ideas that will be reflected through John’s work in a very special way. The end result isa piece of artwork that will be seen by visitors from all over the world and for generations to come’ said Lynn Bartley, class teacher at Ellesmere Primary school. ‘Mr Merrill has been a great inspiration and the children have learned new skills from their experience, a brilliant day for us all.”

John's inspiration from working with the children and their word ideas has led to the sculpting of the word 'SShh' and reflects the peace and quiet felt when standing in the beech avenue at the far end of Cremorne Gardens. John piece is position there now. When it was installed at the beginning of December the same school children came down to see John and the sculpture.

Sculpture No. 16 on Trail Map

Follow John's progress on his blog at