Elvis the Goat

Sculpture installed at Heeley City Farm

Sculpture commission for Heeley City Farm

Last spring I was invited to make a sculpture: Something to catch the attention of anyone passing by the wonderful Heeley City Farm and welcome them in. When I met Sarah Wild to discuss the commission, she was somewhat preoccupied with tending to goats giving birth. I did a quick sketch of the newly born kids while we agreed a sculpture of a goat would be great to make and have! I went away and drew out my ideas.

At the beginning of the summer, I made myself comfortable in the replica Iron Age roundhouse in the corner field with lots of willow: Some grown by Ian at Oakapple Farm near Leek (including some goat willow!) and black maul willow from Somerset.

Then we started constructing with help from children visiting and my good friend, Jo Veal. Working in a field next to 3 different breeds of goats was just wonderful and sitting in their field, drawing them was perfect and at times hilarious.

Tony at the farm made an excellent shed-base for the sculpture and ideas progressed: the shed roof could have sedum growing on it and plans to have creepers, golden hops or living willow planted in and around the sculpture started to flourish.

With the summer coming to a close, the goat finally took shape and was completed in time for the farm’s Autumn Festival and thanks to the excellent suggestion has been named, Elvis after the farm’s Gurensey goat of 15 years ago. An honour indeed.

I’m looking forward to seeing how plants can grow on and around the goat. I like the notion of it changing over time: nature-immersive public art! But whatever you call it, it’s been an absolutely challenging pleasure to create and I feel honoured to have been given this opportunity. I hope you enjoy seeing it as much as I enjoyed making it.