Molly Morston, the Bakers & Larners Owl
Meet Molly Morston!
Molly Morston is a 1.6m tall owl sculpture painted by internationally acclaimed artist, Kieron Williamson in support of CT Baker Group’s Charity of the Year, East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH). Molly Morston has been sponsored by the CT Baker Group to celebrate the 250 Year Anniversary of Bakers & Larners! Molly Morston will perch in the store window of Bakers & Larners of Holt before spreading her wings to The Gallery, where she will be the key feature of an exclusive Kieron Williamson exhibition hosted from 24 July – 4 August* (*Kieron’s 18th birthday). It is intended that Molly will go to auction later this year.
Interview with Kieron Williamson:
Bakers and Larners: What inspired you to take part in the project with Bakers & Larners of Holt and EACH, 2020?
Kieron Williamson: I was seven years old when I first raised money for children’s charities and when I met the Duchess of Cambridge, who is Royal Patron to East Anglia’s Children’s Hospice (EACH). Being invited to join Bakers and Larners this year and raise funds for EACH was an easy decision to make. However, while I was very excited about the opportunity, I was equally daunted by the shape and size of the owl. Michael Baker was such an inspirational character and what he has achieved for Holt as a town is unprecedented; it is a privilege to be able to help Bakers and Larners celebrate their 250 years by doing what I love to do.
B&L: How and why did you decide upon Morston as a landscape?
KW: To be honest, I knew that I would change my mind half way though painting! It is hard to get your head around wrapping something three-dimensional in a painting. With Holt being my home town and the owl being the town’s symbol, my first version included vignettes of Holt and Spout Hills. It was important for me to choose a landscape that I loved to visit as a child whilst also using something that would work as a 3D painting. Growing up in a first floor flat with no garden encouraged us as a family to visit wide, open spaces around our coastline. Morston was a place that offered a young boy plenty of mud, water, wildlife. As an artist, it provided me with endless opportunities to paint scudding clouds across an estuary that forever changes.
B&L: Was the creative process different in any way? If so, how?
KW: The sheer size and shape of the owl meant it was going to be time consuming and physically challenging. Even getting it into the house was difficult and we couldn’t get it into my studio so it lived in my sister’s craft room and then at the bottom of our stairs as I finished it. Thankfully I am quite tall which made reaching the top of it rather easy! Taking photos of Morston at sunrise is always a treat. I spent two days of trying to get perfect lighting and the best photos possible. It was then an easy and enjoyable process for me to paint and ultimately share a beautiful moment in a beautiful place.
B&L: Did painting a 1.6m owl pose any challenges that you have not previously encountered? If so, how did you tackle them?
KW: In order to paint the lower portion, the owl was propped up on a box. This meant kneeling and laying on the floor in quite a confined space – and sometimes the dogs would join in! I then had to swap over with the owl and it was me standing on the box to paint the top portion. As an artist, you always step back and squint at your work to check for composition and proportions etc., but I wasn’t able to stand far enough away to make these judgements. Moreover, changing my mind halfway through (regarding what I was painting) increased the time it took. Nevertheless, it was important for the owl to depict what I wanted it to. Although the colours are quite dark, sunrise for me is the best time of the day because for me, it symbolises a new day and new beginnings, and I deeply believe that it is important to appreciate the beauty in the promise of a new day. I love the what the sunrise means and I am often up and out of bed before the sun rises!
B&L: It is hoped that the owl will raise money for EACH to help families and children when they need it most. You will have helped make a huge difference. It must make you and your family very proud that your talent is able to help others? Bakers & Larners of Holt is certainly very proud to have your support for our fundraising efforts during the store’s 250th anniversary!
KW: I am really proud to have been invited to work with Bakers and Larners. They printed tea towels using a watercolour of their iconic shop front that I painted when I was six years old and sell these to raise funds for charity. Now this year a piece of my work will actually sit inside the shop front! I sincerely hope the fundraising efforts are a success. I am sensitive to the fact that I have had a very different childhood to those children and families who EACH support on a daily basis. That is why I believe that raising money for children’s charities is so important: all children should be able to spend time doing what they love and make memories, in spite of the challenges that they face.
B&L: Does you have any thoughts on a name for the owl? Did it have an adopted name while you were painting it?
KW: I think that it would be lovely for children to think of a name for the owl!
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