Yorkshire Coast BID today unveiled the first sculpture of its Coastal Sculpture Collection, as the stunning 2.5m green hairstreak butterfly was revealed at Spurn Point.
The sculpture is the first piece commissioned by Yorkshire Coast BID to be officially revealed with five more exciting pieces planned up for coastal locations including Flamborough, Hornsea, Whitby and Scarborough.
Designed by Yorkshire artist, Emma Stothard, the striking sculpture is modelled on the beautiful Green Hairstreak butterflies that make their home at Spurn Point. The piece is designed to highlight the conservation work being undertaken by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to preserve the butterfly’s natural habitat.
Emma, who exhibits nationally and internationally, has seen her work grace the gardens of stately homes, galleries, private homes and even Highgrove House, the private residence of HRH The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. As an artist Emma takes inspiration from the coast, its wonderful and diverse wildlife and the things that make it a fantastic place to live and visit. The Green Hairstreak Butterfly is the first of a series of spectacular sculptures to be revealed, providing a new and exciting reason for people to keep visiting the Yorkshire Coast.
When closed, the wings of a green hairstreak butterfly are a striking and distinctive bright emerald green colour. To emulate this, the artist has used a copper wire, which, over time, will weather as the salty sea air at Spurn Point accelerates the oxidation on the surface of the copper wire creating a beautiful Verdigris.
It’s been a labour of love for Emma, taking weeks to design and create the piece. The finished sculpture stands at around an impressive 3m high and 2.5m long and weighs a whopping 300kilos.
The body of the sculpture has been woven with approximately 150kg of bronze drawn wire and the wings are woven in an extra 100-150kg of drawn copper wire. Differing gauges of wire have been used for contrast and detail to achieve the overall look.
Artist and Sculptor, Emma Stothard commented on the sculptures reveal at its iconic location:
“I’m so excited to be creating a new collection of inspirational sculptures as landmarks along the Yorkshire coastline. I hope the art will attract people to the area and inspire them to fully appreciate the beauty along the Yorkshire Coast – the sea and the wildlife. Sculpture is growing in popularity in the UK and internationally, with people keen to visit, see and share new landmark sites. Hopefully the ‘Spurn Butterfly’ will enrich visitors experiences to our unique Yorkshire coastline.
“I was brought up in Kilnsea in East Yorkshire, and as a child I actually used to play down at Spurn point, so I was surrounded by the flora and fauna and that was inspiration for this piece. I looked into all the wildlife at Spurn and my research found the green hairstreak butterfly. The butterfly was so striking and colourful I knew it was an opportunity to create something really special, in wire.”
An isolated population of green hairstreak butterflies have been at Spurn Point for over 20 years and significant work is being done by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to ensure they protect its habitat for generations to come. There are about 100-200 of these butterflies at Spurn and they usually appear around April and May every year, if visitors wanted to try and capture a glimpse of their stunning emerald colours wings.
Andy Mason, Spurn Heritage Officer at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, spoke more about the link between Spurn Point and Green Hairstreak Butterflies:
“The green hairstreak is part and parcel of Spurn, and the population does fluctuate year on year, so it’s really important that we continue to look after their habitat and educate people to protect the coast. It’s fantastic to see the sculpture being installed and for it to signify the wonderful wildlife we have at Spurn – it is absolutely brilliant.
“Emma has done a great job in capturing this fascinating creature and we’re really excited to see it turn from its copper colour into a beautiful shade of green as nature takes hold of the sculpture.”
The project has been funded by Yorkshire Coast BID with the goal to protect and promote the Yorkshire Coast.
CEO of Yorkshire Coast BID, Kerry Carruthers commented on the sculpture: “To see the ‘Spurn Butterfly’ in place and follow Emma’s creative journey to create something so special, as part of the Coastal Sculpture Collection, has been truly remarkable. The beauty of the piece and the way in which Emma has created it to be ever evolving with the landscape and sea air, will provide people with even more reasons to revisit, capture and share their experiences.
“It’s been excellent working in partnership with Emma and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to bring this to fruition and we are looking forward to the next pieces being created. We hope that it can bring people who visit this area much enjoyment and also ensure our valued visitors take the time to stop and learn about Yorkshire’s unique wildlife.”
David Craven, East Regional Manager for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: “We are delighted to be the starting point for this trail and for the green hairstreak to have a home at Spurn. One of the Trust’s priorities at this nationally important nature reserve is to develop a mosaic of habitats, including the types of scrub and grassland in which wildlife, like these butterflies, can flourish. We are working with partners to improve and expand space for nature across Yorkshire, creating a wide range of habitats for wildlife to survive and thrive. We hope visitors to Spurn will be inspired by this sculpture to explore more of the coastline and inland, and discover what fantastic wildlife Yorkshire has to offer”.
To find out more about the Yorkshire Coast BID, please visit: https://www.yorkshirecoastbid.co.uk/