We’re delighted to announce our involvement in an exciting community art project that has enlivened the streets of Ashford today: the Snowdogs Discover Ashford arts trail.
Inspired by Raymond Briggs’ much-loved book and animated film The Snowman and The Snowdog, the trail sees giant, individually designed and beautifully-decorated Snowdog sculptures placed around the town to create a world-class sculpture trail that celebrates life in Ashford and encourages everyone to discover the town.
Running from the 12th September – 18th November 2018, the event is the collaborative brainchild of Wild In Art, Ashford Borough Council and Pilgrims Hospices, and ties in with the book’s themes of life, love, loss, friendship, companionship, strength and kindness, raising awareness about the services Pilgrims offers.
The trail features a total of 35 Snowdog sculptures, each with a unique name and design, created by local artists and sponsored by local businesses. Ashford College has selected and sponsored Made in Ash-Hound, designed by local artist Danielle Williamson.
A freelance illustrator and designer/maker from Headcorn, Danielle studied Graphic Design at Camberwell Art College, going on to work as an in-house designer for a luxury tour operator. Upon starting a family in 2006, she rekindled a childhood love of crafts and began making hand appliquéd bunting and soft toys for her children. In 2014, she left her position after 12 years and became a full-time stay-at-home mum. Her love of making things continued and she extended her range to childrenswear and accessories, which she sold at the occasional school fair. Through this, she was introduced to the ‘Made in Ashford’ collective of local craftspeople and became a tenant in their Ashford Borough Council-supported shop in Park Mall.
In Autumn 2017, Melissa Dawkins, manager of Made in Ashford, approached Danielle to suggest she get involved in the Snowdogs project. Her fantastic, vibrant design ties in nicely with the college’s strength in the creative arts, being inspired by her admiration of the many local designer/makers that live and work in the borough, especially the other Made in Ashford tenants who have given her so much support and encouragement. It features illustrations of the tools that they use and some of the products that they produce along with her own signature birds and roses to decorate it.
Danielle said: “This is the first project of this kind that I’ve undertaken and I’m very proud to have been selected as one of the artists.
“I consider myself very lucky to have been able to use the painting space in County Square to work on my dog – and it was quite a sight to behold when I first entered the space and saw them all ready and waiting to be adorned. The dogs were much larger than many of the artists had imagined, and the task of translating a 2D design to a 3D object (with a very large rear end!) was quite daunting at first.
“The entire process took far longer than I imagined and involved a couple of late night lock-ins at the painting space. My design had to be reigned in a little, but I’m thrilled with the outcome." As are we, Danielle !
Danielle was also interviewed outside the college for a BBC South East Today report on the Snowdog trail, which can be seen here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bjch47 (21mins, 20secs in).
In addition to the 35 Snowdogs, there are also 19 Snowpups that have been designed and decorated by 19 local schools and colleges, including Ashford College.
Two of our students, Robyn Bailey and Kaya Cook, both studying Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design, designed and painted a pup, christened 'Snowy', for Pilgrims Hospices, which will be travelling around the various Pilgrims Hospices shops in the area. They also transcripted two winning designs that were submitted to a competition run by Motorline, who were one of the main sponsors of the Snowdogs project. The two painted pups will be taken by Motorline Group, to be proudly displayed within each of their Ashford showrooms for one week, and a number of retail locations throughout the duration of the event.
Rob Forsyth, Creative Studies Team Leader, said: "Robyn and Kaya have worked really hard on the three pups and they look fantastic. They received a design brief from Pilgrims Hospices, which included much of the well-known imagery associated with the charity: a memory tree, sunflowers and distinctive logo - and spent three weeks on the project."
Kate Duddell, Pilgrims Fundraising Manager, added: "The students have done a brilliant job. We're thrilled with the pups - and impressed with the work they've put in to really capture the spirit of Pilgrims in their design."
When the trail ends in November, each Snowdog sculpture will be auctioned in aid of Pilgrims Hospices.
For more information, visit: https://ashfordsnowdogs.co.uk/