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Marches Mosses

A sculpture inspired by a recent visit to the Marches Mosses in Shropshire, which is the third largest area of lowland-raised peatbog in the UK.

Daisy Askins, 'Curlew', dried willow and wooden base. Supported by the New Art Gallery Walsall, 2023.

After centuries of peat cutting and draining, the Marches Mosses is now being restored by Shropshire Wildlife Trust and Natural England to lock in the carbon that is stored in the peat as well as to protect the habitat of rare wetland species, including the curlew.

The curlew is Britain's biggest wading bird and one of our most rapidly declining bird species. Work on regenerating the peat at Marches Mosses has helped to increase the numbers of curlews in the area. The landscape restoration work has included the creation of a network of bunds, which are small dams that capture rainwater needed for bog moss growth and thus the rebuilding of peat. These bunds also provide the perfect nesting site for curlews.

This sculpture is a celebration of the beautiful quirky curlew and all that is being done to regenerate the Marches Mosses. In this sculpture, I used Red Flanders willow for the beak, eye and knee features to provide contrast against the Dicky Meadows willow body. The long crescent shaped beak and knobbly knees are purposefully accentuated to capture the intrigue of the curlew and the landscape from which it originates.

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