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Sculptor appeals for help in bid to raise money for charity

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A MELKSHAM sculptor is appealing for help sourcing materials for his project to raise money for homeless charities. 

Andrew Howe is planning to produce a series of hand carved portrait busts of real homeless people before auctioning his work off or selling as part of an exhibition. The money raised will then go to a charity, which has not yet been chosen, that helps homeless people. However, the material needed is generally quite expensive so Andrew is asking quarries, stonemasons and stone importers for donations of offcuts of stone.

He has been sculpting for five years and would usually charge around £1,000 per piece of art that he is planning to sculpt for charity. The portraits would be hand-carved to create the most realistic look and he hopes to raise between £10,000 and £20,000.

Andrew said, “Generally I don’t exhibit my work, as I work on private commissions, and don’t really get the time to build up a decent sized group for an exhibition. The busts would be all completely hand-carved the old-fashioned way. I use many different power-tools in the day job as a memorial stonemason, but with portrait work I believe that the most realistic results are achieved with hammer and chisel.

“So far I’m thinking that I would like to do it for a year, so probably ten to twelve busts – they take a month each to carve – but if it goes well I may just carry on indefinitely, so long as I can get some donations of stone. That’s the really important point, really. If I were to buy the stone, it would cost me a fortune. Stone importers, quarries and masonry yards often have lots of odd bits of stone sitting around doing nothing. All of my sculptures are carved out of re-used stone anyway, so I’ll be happy with any donations.

“The inspiration for the project came from a visit to a homelessness charity’s hostel, while in the process of signing up to do some volunteer work. I met the tenants and realised that we’re all guilty of ignoring the problem of homelessness in our country. These people are exactly the same as me and you; they just deal with their problems in a different way through either mental illness, substance abuse etc. They deserve to be treated with respect and empathy, as we would expect to be treated. The busts will show their dignity, courage and humanity – not really a way in which they are usually portrayed.”

If you can help Andrew in his quest to source stone for his homeless project email him on margaterock@aol.co.uk.