Pupils in East Yorkshire are excitedly starting work on weird and wonderful designs for the “A Moth for Amy” project – the Amy Johnson Festival’s flagship event, to mark the 75th anniversary of the Hull-born aviator’s death.
Modelled on Hull’s highly successful “Larkin with Toads” project, A Moth for Amy is a mass engagement public art initiative which aims to erect artist-decorated moths at sites across Hull and East Yorkshire, and at other relevant locations across the UK.
Following on from the official launch of the A Moth for Amy project in November last year, almost 200 artists have submitted their designs for the decoration of the moths, with the final designs available for companies and organisations to sponsor.
The moths, designed by local sculptor Saffron Waghorn, will form part of a trail of more than 50 moths across Hull during the Amy Johnson Festival and leading into 2017, Hull’s year as UK City of Culture.
Regeneration company Wykeland Group, sponsor of two of the 1.5 metre-wide moths, will give pride-of-place to one moth on the Bridgehead woodland trail, at Wykeland’s fast-growing Bridgehead business park situated close to the Humber Bridge roundabout adjoining the A15 and A164. The second moth will be on display at Wykeland’s Flemingate development in Beverley, with both sites forming part of the moth trail from July 1 this year.
Wykeland has invited primary pupils from All Saints School in Hessle and St Nicholas School in Beverley to come up with unique and creative ideas for how to decorate the Bridgehead and Flemingate moths respectively, with help from local artist Liz Dorton.
Ms Dorton, a long-time collaborator with Wykeland on the Bridgehead woodland trail, is leading a series of workshops with the pupils at both schools to design and create the moths – each with a different aviation-inspired theme.
“Fantastical Flying Machines” is the theme selected for the Bridgehead Moth, with inspiration taken from mythical figures, such as Icarus, right through to the modern-day supersonic passenger jet, Concorde.
The theme of the Flemingate Moth is inspired by aviation engineer, Sir Geoffrey de Havilland, and is entitled “De Havilland’s Magical Moths”. De Havilland was a keen collector of moths, which inspired his designs and the naming of his aircraft.
Ms Dorton said: “The students are thrilled to be part of this exciting public project.
“Their designs for the giant moths are full of detail and quirky imagination. They quickly warmed to my design parameters and it’s wonderful to see how quickly they learn new skills, such as using professional fine brushes and paints.
“It’s an absolute pleasure to be involved in the A Moth for Amy project and the pupils can’t wait to see their finished designs on display from July.”
Pupils from both schools will give their designs an Art Deco twist to acknowledge the Art Deco movement of the 1930s when Amy Johnson was at the height of her fame.
Elaine Burke, Wykeland’s Arts Consultant, said: “On behalf of the Wykeland Group, we’re excited to continue our long relationship with pupils and teachers from All Saints and St Nicholas schools.
“This project builds on previous innovative work we have done together, both on the woodland art trail at Bridgehead and at the Flemingate centre. This time, we’re delighted to be involved with the A Moth for Amy project and to play our part in the Amy Johnson Festival.”
The workshops require students to research, plan, design and illustrate each moth, and then spread the “moth message” through the school and cascade their skills to fellow pupils.
Ms Burke said: “Wykeland is proud that these projects make such an impact on the children involved – inspiring pupils to aim high and feel excited about their achievements; increasing their confidence; and enhancing creativity and problem-solving skills.
“Being part of such an iconic project really connects the schools to their communities and shows pupils what brilliant successes they are capable of. We’re all looking forward to seeing the moths in place from July. It will be so exciting for the children’s wonderful designs to be enjoyed by so many office workers, shoppers and visitors to the Moth Trail.”
The moths will be on display for all the children, parents and teachers to see the finished artwork in place. The moths will be on display from July 1, 2016, to Easter 2017.
Wykeland Managing Director Dominic Gibbons said: “We’re delighted to support the A Moth for Amy project by sponsoring two moths and to be working with Elaine, Liz and the two schools to bring them to life through the children’s creativity and imagination.
“We believe the moths will have a similar impact to the Larkin toads, which will mean the Bridgehead and Flemingate moths will be seen and enjoyed by thousands of people.”
All Saints School’ Teaching Assistant, Toni Southern, said: “The children have really enjoyed this experience. They’ve gelled together and worked as a team and that’s been inspiring.
“The children were really eager to take part in the project so they’re now going to carry on designing and doing their own artwork at lunchtimes. I’m really proud of them.”
The woodland trail at Bridgehead contributes to its credentials as one of North’s greenest business parks. During the creation of the park, Wykeland planted over 8,000 shrubs and hedgerows, 4,500 herbs and bulbs and more than 200 trees, while pupils from nearby All Saints and Hessle High Schools created artistic homes for nature among the trees.
The 16-acre Flemingate development – Beverley’s largest-ever regeneration scheme – is a £120m regeneration scheme by Wykeland. In addition to the shopping centre, it is also home to the East Riding College campus, an 80-bed Premier Inn hotel and six-screen, 1,000-seat digital cinema, Parkway, as well as 130 high-quality homes.