Judith teams up with Martlets for three in a row

Judith Berrill is returning for our third sculpture trail, having taken part in both Snowdogs by the Sea and Snailspace. She writes about why she wanted to get involved in Shaun by the Sea as an artist and volunteer below. 

I’ve been really lucky to be involved in the previous two Martlets trails as an artist and volunteer. The Snowdogs trail in 2016, when I painted “Horatio” and “Patch, The Unfinished Quilt” was my first experience of taking part in a sculpture trail. Since then, I’ve been an artist for many other trails: from the south coast to the north of Scotland and Wales!

Getting started

It’s always a challenge to come up with a design. I like to design something that is relevant to the city or the charity or has a story behind it. Hopefully it will also be fun to look at for the many people that get to see the sculptures on the streets.

You start with a 2D design that you then have to face the challenge of translating onto the 3D sculpture. It takes many hours of painting and some athletic moves to reach around and under. I trained in Fine Art at Leeds University and my main love is painting but I have turned my hand to book illustration, graphic design, theatre set design and props making, among other things.

Painting together

When it’s a local trail it’s possible to paint with other artists in a communal space which is a great experience as painting is usually a pretty solitary existence. It has been lovely to work on the Shauns in the same space as lots of other Brighton artists and very exciting to see the designs come to life with such a variety of techniques and skills.

But for the trails that are further afield I have to paint them at home. During lockdown several of the trails were postponed. At one point there was a 7-foot-high hare, a giant lighthouse and a book bench in my living room as well as a colossal ram in a workshop as I’d run out of space at home.

So far, the money raised through the auctions of the sculptures I’ve painted is over £90k and I’d really like to break the £100k mark. Hopefully that will be achieved with the two Shauns that I have just finished painting for Shaun by the Sea.

The special nature of Martlets trails

A work in progress snippet of one of Judith’s two Shauns

The Brighton & Hove trails are special to me. It’s my hometown and for a charity that I want to support.

I volunteered with other Martlets volunteers during the Snowdog and Snail trails to check on the sculptures, hand out maps and talk to lots of lovely people who were following the trail – it was astonishing how many visitors had come just for the trail. I will be doing this again for the Shaun by the Sea trail. I have also volunteered to run model making sessions for children and community groups.

Being involved in the trails has led to all sorts of positive things for me. I know it’s a huge undertaking for Martlets, so I wish everyone involved lots of luck. I hope that Shaun by the Sea is the best trail yet!

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