M5 Willow Man to get a facelift
Tuesday 18 September 2012
A well-known Somerset landmark is to undergo a facelift.
The Willow Man will benefit from much-needed repair work to its head and arms.
Standing at 12 metres high, with an arm-span of five metres, the willow figure situated next to the M5 near Bridgwater has become a famous landmark for travellers to the South West of England.
Artist Serena de la Hey, who created the Willow Man, will be carrying out the facelift to the head and arms this week.
"They're more or less down to the metal framework so I will be going 40ft up in a cherry-picker to reweave those areas, using local willow," said Ms de la Hey.
"So many people have come up to me asking when he's going to be repaired so I'm very happy that we can finally go ahead with this work.
"Some areas haven't been touched for 11 years, so it's inevitable that they need repairing. This is fairly typical for artworks made from natural materials."
The cost of the refurbishment is around £18,000 and has been met by Hallam Land Management Ltd, Yarlington Housing Group and Sedgemoor District Council. The willow for the repairs is coming from local willow producers at Stoke St Gregory and local contractors will be on site during the week.
The Willow Man has become a regional icon and a much-loved piece of public art since it was created. Commissioned by Arts Council England in 2000 as part of the Year Of The Artist project, it has gained national and international recognition.
The current figure is the second to be built on the site after the original figure was destroyed by fire in 2001.
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