Fiona Blair is a returning artist for Shaun by the Sea, following her Snailspace debut back in 2018. Her much-loved snail, inspired by Hokusai’s iconic wave, achieved the second highest donation at auction. This time she’s taken on not one, but two sculptures.
This post has been written by Martlets volunteer Jill Cochrane.
One of Fiona’s Shaun the Sheep sculptures is named ‘Coaster’ and it too is inspired by Japanese artist Hokusai with a Sussex twist – if you remember her snail featured Hove’s colourful beach huts. It was the artist’s cherry blossom prints that influenced this new design.
Fiona said: “I love artwork with a story or twist, so I have tried to bring this into my sculptures. In Japanese culture cherry blossom symbolises that life is fleeting as it only flowers for a couple of weeks a year. Life’s short, so we should cherish every moment.”
That’s certainly a sentiment I think we can all appreciate.
So, what’s the Sussex twist I hear you ask. Like Shaun the Sheep, Fiona’s design not only features a blossoming south coast, but also something white and sculptural too – The Seven Sisters, the striking chalky sea cliffs that form part of the Sussex Heritage coast. Even better though you’ll get to see Fiona’s unique design for yourself on the Trail which begins on 9 September.
A sneak preview of Coaster in progress
Fiona loves drawing creatures and there’s growing demand for her pet portraits (cats and dogs in costumes). For her second sculpture, she plays on the well-known fable of ‘the wolf in sheep’s clothing’. On this occasion of course, it’s the ‘Wolf in Shaun’s Clothing’!
Fiona works as a reception manager at a local NHS health centre and she fits her artwork around her job and family life.
“When I designed for the Snailspace my son was only 10 months old. It’s been a juggling act to find time to design and complete two sculptures. This time though my son will be old enough to remember this one.”
It’s fair to say that Fiona has gone above and beyond the call of her artistic duties for Martlets. Not only did she camp out in the studio (twice) with her Shaun sculptures to get them finished, but she’s also signed up to do the Shear Drop on 5 October (sponsor her at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/fiona-shear-drop).
“It’s great to be part of Martlets’ Art Trail again and it’s been lovely to work alongside the other artists. There’s a strong sense of community amongst us and with Martlets. This one feels like a long time coming after Covid, but Brighton & Hove is so ready for another trail.”
Fiona with one of her blank Shaun sculptures
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