Let's Go Quackers! Ten Giant Ducks come to Ironbridge

May 04, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Donate: Let's Go Quackers Follow: @LetsGoQuackers

Tomorrow, Saturday 5th May 2018 sees the launch of Let's Go Quackers, a fun family-orientated art trail for Summer 2018. Ten giant Ducks will be displayed on the high street of Ironbridge, Shropshire (5th May - 8th July) and then move to Southwater, Telford (from 15th July) to coincide with Telford's Carnival of Giants event, bringing smiles to visitors young and old alike, and raising valuable funds for local charities (Severn Hospice and the Jayne Sargent Foundation). The trail is the idea of local resident Julie Ward, who has worked tirelessly to bring her dream to life, successfully securing an impressive bid from Telford & Wrekin Council's Pride in Your High Street fund to ensure that the trail goes ahead.

Each of the Ducks has been hand-painted by an artist, either working to their own design, or in collaboration with local school children or students and others who have submitted a design for one of the Ducks. The trail organisers received an overwhelming 750+ design submissions for the 10 Ducks. It was an extremely difficult decision to choose just 10 designs to appeal to every age group and to reflect the local history and heritage of Telford and Ironbridge. The full list of artists includes: Nicky Meecham, Jenny Leonard, Donna Newman, Alicia Hollis, Traci Moss, Jackie Coyle, Shropshire Fine Art, Lois Cordelia, Lizzie Moretti and Megan Evans.

Donate: Let's Go Quackers Follow: @LetsGoQuackers

Once Upon a Fairytale

Ipswich artist Lois Cordelia travelled to Telford in April to paint a steampunk-fairytale inspired design onto one of the Ducks: Once Upon a Fairytale. The steampunk theme of her design was partly inspired by the history of Ironbridge and Telford and their links with the Industrial Revolution, and partly by the distinctive steampunk-style goggles of the Duck statues themselves. Combining a quirky mix of imagery in her characteristic black silhouette style on a rich antique gold background, Lois hopes her design will appeal to trail visitors of every age-group, allowing them to spot lots of fun and unexpected details.

Trail Map: Ironbridge 5th May - 8th July 2018

The timing of the trail is very apt: Telford celebrates its 50th year in 2018. Telford is named after civil engineer Thomas Telford (1757-1834) who engineered many road and rail projects in Shropshire. It is often known as "the birthplace of industry". Today, Telford is the largest town in Shropshire and one of the fastest growing towns in Britain. Nearby Ironbridge is located in the heart of the Ironbridge Gorge and takes its name from the famous Iron Bridge that crosses the River Severn. Opened in 1781, the Iron Bridge was the first major bridge in the world to be made of cast iron.

Julie Ward's idea for Let's Go Quackers was originally inspired by seeing the 2013 Wild in Art trail GoGoGorillas. She said: “I wanted to do something like this ever since I first saw the gorillas on social media, but I didn’t dare hope it would be possible.  When news of the High Street Fund was announced I knew this was my opportunity to make it happen.  To qualify for funding, the idea had to be innovative, engaging and have a bit of longevity.  It also needed to show that there would be wider benefits for the community and for others.  I really believe the ducks will be all of these things.

“My next job was to source the ducks. Where do you go to buy giant ducks? When I was looking around I heard about some 9ft ducks that were for sale in a charity auction after being part of an art trail in Liverpool.  My bid secured the ducks and proceeds went to Macmillan.

“The most important thing to me is that they bring fun to our community, visitors to Ironbridge and smiles to everyone’s faces.”

Donate: Let's Go Quackers Follow: @LetsGoQuackers

 Let's Go Quackers is not Lois Cordelia's first Duck related venture. She previously created a unique trio of "duck-transformations" for the Grand Norwich Duck Race 2017 (raising funds for Break children's charity), using Duck-tape, cable-ties, galvanised steel wire and other utilitarian materials to sculpt miniature figurines onto the backs of large rubber ducks. The Ducks and their riders took part in the duck race in August 2017 in Norwich, staying afloat and upright thanks to their heavy ballast of engineering bricks strapped beneath them!



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