DEPUTY Editor Denise Bowser highlights how Henry Moore’s legacy lives on as Great Amwell schoolchildren inspired by the sculptor’s work create their own sculpture trail in East Herts under the guidance of HVAF Newsletter Editor Maxine King.

AN UNPRECEDENTED project of mini bronze sculptures produced by primary school children using Henry Moore’s working methods is expected to get a new audience of youngsters and their families interested in art and the works of the 20th century giant of modern sculpture.

The mini bronze sculptures will be displayed to make a trail which children and families will follow, experiencing art in a playful way, while having the opportunity to get to know landmark buildings and heritage sites in East Herts at the same time.

Made by local youngsters, the small scale sculptures will refer to the natural habitat or local history where they will be installed, showing the sites from an innovative point of view: a childlike perspective.

“Near the river and trees expect to see animals and mythical figures, whereas near Hertford Museum there will be some odd looking little bodily shapes, one in the style of a Roald Dahl Charlie and the Chocolate Factory character”, warns artist and project coordinator Maxine King.

The trail will start at Great Amwell in Hertfordshire and will connect the village with Ware and Hertford along parts of Thames Water’s historic New River. It will be 5 miles long and will include historic churches, museums, Scott’s Grotto, Ware Priory gardens and the grounds of Hertford Castle where it will finish.

Sculptor Maxine King who has put her artistic skills to work for the local community said: “The initial idea was to make sculpture accessible and interesting to children, as well as developing their creativity.” Having drawn up the project, King offered it to her daughter’s primary school, St John the Baptist C of E in Great Amwell, where it was well received.

The next step was to get the funding for it, which came from The Nigel Copping Fund and Cllr Rosemary Cheswright through the Herts County Council Locality Budget Scheme. The project was planned in consultation with Great Amwell Parish Council and Ware Town Council and ran in partnership with East Herts District Council, which provided several sites for the trail.

With the sponsorship secured, the first stage of the project was a guided tour around the nearby Henry Moore Foundation where the class of 7 and 8 year-olds learned about Moore’s life and work. After that, workshops conducted by King were started. “The children were really excited about producing their 20 to 30 cm high wax sculptures before having them cast in bronze, in much the same way that Moore produced his maquettes”, remembers King.

In addition to Maxine King’s expertise, to produce their pieces the 31 children were also assisted by guest visitors. This included a helping hand from the master’s assistant, sculptor John Farnham, who worked with Henry Moore for almost 30 years. John visited the school last February and answered questions from the children about working with Henry Moore whilst advising the young artists on their works.

The sculpture trail is expected to open in September 2010. Awakening the taste for sculpture and showing a legacy of Moore’s world, it will be accessible to the public as an art, recreation and leisure pursuit. Participants will be able to enjoy themselves while searching for the curious hidden figures, on a fulfilled discovery journey of art and the environment.

Families will be able to follow a hunt map which will show where they should search for the small sculptures that will be displayed at heritage sites, by rivers and in trees. Maps will be available for collection at various points including The George IV pub and St John the Baptist Church in Great Amwell, Ware Priory, Hertford Castle, and Tourist Information, museums and libraries in Hertford and Ware. Information on the sculpture trail will also feature on the Henry Moore Foundation website.

The project will run all year round. Other part sponsors include Bronze Age in Limehouse, East London; Martin Hugi of Eco Tree Care & Conservation and services provided free of charge from Birch Engineering in Great Amwell.