We caught up with artist, Sally Dunham who specialises in bronze animals, as she has been commissioned to create the memorial statue of Garfy.
Your Cat Good Causes donated £1,500 to help fund a memorial statue to cat Garfy who was a local celebrity in Ely, Cambridgeshire. The popular puss would often be spotted at Sainsbury’s and even had two books written about him. We spoke to artist Sally Dunham about how the statue is progressing.
What made you decide to create the statue of Garfy?
“I was approached by Nadya, a friend of David’s (Garfy’s owner), about the idea of a sculptural monument to Garfy. Nadya knew my work through an art event I organise in Ely called Art Unequalled. I was delighted to discuss the project as I had often seen Garfy on trips to Sainsbury’s and I thought that the idea was lovely and would be great for the city.
“We arranged a Zoom call with David and Tina to discuss the vision they had for the project. I suggested that it would be lovely to combine a bench with the statue of Garfy to be sat at the same height, so people can sit and relax or ponder alongside Garfy, who was loved by so many.
“After contacting the council and getting the agreement of a site in Pocket Park, the idea started to become a reality, and I am very honoured to be involved.”
What is the process for creating the statue?
“The first part of the process is me getting to know Garfy by looking at lots of photos and studying his poses. I then discussed with David the preferred pose and we looked at them in situ where the bench and sculpture will be.
“When I create a sculpture, I have a vision in my head of how it will be. I use clay that I roll into thin slabs and create the sculpture piece by piece, almost like a patchwork quilt, starting with the paws and working my way up. The sculpture is created hollow, with no internal supports as I find this allows me more freedom and expression.
“Once I have completed the sculpture, I would normally allow it to dry and then be fired and glazed, but when creating a bronze, I leave the clay unfired. I work with a foundry in Birmingham who takes over from this point. A plaster mould will be created from Garfy, which will be made of many parts to allow the bronze cast to be released.”
To support Your Cat Good Causes in helping to fund statues in memory of much-loved cats in the community, sign up to the Your Cat Membership, where a portion of your payment will go directly towards more good causes like this.
How does it feel to be creating something for the community?
“It feels very special to be creating this sculpture. I was born in Soham and have lived in the area for most of my life. It is a huge honour (and a little daunting despite having been making and selling my work for 23 years!) to create something that will hopefully be enjoyed by many local people, but also visitors to the city. It is lovely to think that tales of Garfy will continue and, as so many of us know, our pets really are a huge and special part of our lives.
“The location of the memorial bench and sculpture is perfect. A quiet spot near the trees and looking over to Garfy’s stomping ground near Sainsbury’s.”
What is the current situation with the Garfy memorial statue?
“I have finished Garfy and have sent images to David. He has approved it and the next stage will be at the foundry.”
The statue and bench will be on display in Pocket Park, Ely, being the nearest community land to the Sainsbury’s Garfy was so fond of. For more information, visit www.garfy.uk