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Artwork to be unveiled at school 28 January 2008

MICHAEL School pupils and teachers have all had a hand in creating a sculpture that will be unveiled next week.

The 10 feet high carved totem pole is situated in the heart of the school’s new wildlife area. It replicates scenes from Celtic and Viking crosses at Michael Church.

Headteacher Tony Robinson explained:

‘The project came about through the Friends of Michael School, who wanted to have a centrepiece for the wildlife area. We contacted the Arts Council, which put us in touch with Gavin Carter, a wood sculptor. He spent a week in school carving the piece aided by every child and adult in the school. His inspiration came from the Michael Crosses in Michael Church.
'We approached Barclays for sponsorship and it met the full cost, for which we are extremely grateful.’

He added:

‘It is a fantastic addition to the wildlife area. In years to come the children will be able to revisit the totem and remember the part they played in its creation.’

Mr Carter, of Douglas, will carry out the unveiling of his work at 9.30am on Tuesday, February 5. He worked in farming and forestry before gaining a BSc in Botany from Durham University and conducting postgraduate research into molecular biology. A desire to become involved in woodland conservation led to him becoming a wood-turner and then a sculptor.

He works mainly in oak and takes his inspiration from the landscape around him.

Just as he started the project, he was offered a giant piece of oak that had to be felled. He prepared the wood over two weekends before the children started work.

Mr Carter said:

‘All the children came out in small groups and, using mallets and chisels I made for them, carved out their own sections. It was very much a whole school project.’

Mr Carter, who has worked on similar projects with other schools, said:

‘It’s a totemic piece and tells a story of the history of Kirk Michael as it relates to the school. Once I had overcome the technical difficulties of finding the tree and getting it moved into place, then the fun began. The children really enjoyed the project and found the work very tactile.’

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