Sshhh by John Merrill forms part of the Ellesmere Sculpture Trail around the Mere. John, who is based in North Wales, creates all his work by hand using a combination of traditional and modern carving and joinery techniques.
He carved his original piece from a Lime tree felled in Castlefields but, in 2017, when the sculpture had deteriorated it had to be removed. However, in 2019, following a successful local fund raising campaign, John re-created Sshhh in oak. Due to its popularity with visitors and local people this area of the gardens has become widely known as Sshhh corner - a favourite spot for photographs.
Community participation is key to John’s work and, for the original sculpture in 2011 he involved local school children from Ellesmere Primary School to help form the design of his sculpture. John worked with the children at the Mere sharing inspiration and ideas and this led to him sculpting of the word, 'Sshhh,' to reflect the peace and quiet of the beech avenue at the far end of Cremorne Gardens.
In 2011 the original sculpture was inspired by school children
Primary school children in Ellesmere helped 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 with Year 3 children in Ellesmere Primary School, gaining inspiration and ideas at the Mere.
John carved his piece from a Lime tree felled in Castlefields near the Boathouse and created 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 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. When it was installed the school children came down to see John and the sculpture.
Sculpture No. 16 on Trail Map
Follow John's progress on his blog at