The first year I came to live in Nottingham I spent a considerable amount of time combing the city centre and looking for robins – great big fibreglass robins that had been created by a company called Wild In Art, sponsored by local businesses and painted by artists and were set in a trail around the city for a couple of months until they were auctioned off in aid of the local hospice. I had great fun following the trail and if you want a reminder, you can read about it here.
This year we have spent much of it indoors out of necessity. No one wants either to catch or to spread Covid-19. But now lockdown restrictions are gradually being eased and people are being encouraged to go back into the town centres to try a boost a failing economy.
So what encourages people to get out of the house and go into towns? Well in my case it was some wise old owls. Ten of them in fact, created once again by Wild In Art and organised by It’s In Nottingham.
Sporting a beautiful bright pink floral mask to match my new pink glasses, I got the bus into town , getting off at Maid Marion Way and headed to the castle to find my first owl by the Robin Hood statue.
This is the Sheriff of Nottinghamhoot by mural artist Donna Newman. From there I headed to outside our dead shopping centre Broadmarsh where I found Little John by artist Lizzie Rose Chapman.
Bridlesmith Gate was my next stop where freelance illustrator Michelle Turton’s Raleigh Apple. For those who don’t know, the famous bicycle manufacturer began life right here in Nottingham in 1887.
He has a family of cyclists on his breast and a nice pair of very loud cycling shorts.
I found this guy – Lacey by RP Roberts – outside the Galleries of Justice. A very appropriate name for an owl placed in the Lace Market. I still want to learn about Nottingham Lace and maybe have a go at lacemaking.
Hockley was my next destination where I found…
… Sherwood the Wise Owl by artist MrASingh (I haven’t forgotten the spacing, it’s meant to be like that). I think this one is my favourite. MrASingh is the founder of InkANIMA. The plaque on the owl says MrASingh takes his inspiration from nature and encourages people to see the patterns in animal and plant life as well as microorganisms. Just shows you art is everywhere.
The next owl was the only one under cover. It’s inside the Victoria Centre, upstairs by Emmett’s amazing clock. Amanda Quellin is the artist responsible for this one and it’s called Goose Fair Owl – well one had to be didn’t it.
The final four are really close together and easy to get between in about five minutes.
This owl is rock chick by Jodie Silverman. I’m loving the leopard skin footwear! She can be found outside the Cornerhouse.
And then just a few hundred yards away by Cloughie’s statue is Carousowl.
On the route that I took this was owl number 8 – and another contender for my favourite. Partly because I think the artwork is lovely (it’s by Jessica Perrin) but secondly because this is the best name so far. Who doesn’t love a nice pun?
Of course there had to be an owl by the Left Lion didn’t there. You couldn’t not have a Left Lion owl and this is Ey Up Duck! (even thought it’s an owl) by Laura-Kate Chapman.
I walked across Market Square and up Long Row to find the final owl in Chapel Bar.
I give you owl number 10 – at least in the order I did them.
This is Mrs Bramley Southowl by Megan Heather Evans. It’s a play on words on the Bramley apple which comes from Southwell in Nottinghamshire.
This owl had the added benefit of being right next to Elena’s Patisserie and Coffee Lounge so I stopped and bought a lovely black coffee and sat outside and watched the world go by – which was thoroughly deserved after a couple of miles hiking around the city centre.
It’s In Nottingham, this was a really nice idea and I had a lovely couple of hours hunting your owls. And it got me into the city centre, which is something I haven’t done for a while.
If you’re anywhere near Nottingham, check it out – it’s a nice stroll.