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Meccano Liver Bird

I was a small child when I first inherited a  Meccano crane kit from my uncle,which had been produced at the Binns Lane factory. I have always been interested in how things are constructed and work, so was constantly taking thing apart and putting back together. This type of toy provides a lot of answers to an inquisitive mind, child or adult.

During  this project and working with Meccano, I have researched the history of the Liver Bird and Meccano. I was invited to visit the factory and Lab in Calais, where I was welcome by the team .It was very impressive and gave me much more of an insight into the story of Meccano.   

I undertook this original commission in spring 2016, with a creative brief of showcasing traditional Meccano materials and designing my vision of the Liver Bird which is the cultural and spiritual emblem of Liverpool, of which Liverpool is the historic home of Meccano.

The making of the original maquette had taken a number of weeks, interpretation of the individual parts into claws, beaks wings etc. and then construction of these to  relate to each other but still retain my signature style.

The visit to the Calais Meccano, really helped with that as I had already made my first maquette before that trip, but that was using very limited range of pieces of which I had been given to work with. On entering the factory store, where every shelf had brightly coloured trays filled with an array of shapes and colours. I felt like a child in a sweet shop, who could choose anything! There were pieces I had never seen which provided the perfect form I wished to create.

The bird really developed from there. Articulated jaw, eyes with a pop of colour. The wings became more fluid. The feet and claws became stronger. I wanted the Liver Bird  to be powerful and to appear to have just landed on the plinth and  was surveying its surroundings.

Whilst constantly thinking would this work structurally on a large scale and where could a good steel substructure be hidden without distracting  from the design of the piece.

We met with Andy Langley the fabricator and also with the structural engineer to discuss this, after the meeting I added a few extra wing details and a further layer to the legs. As the piece would be delivered in sections, these added details would provide extra strength and conceal the connections upon assembly.

I have been to visit Andy at the fabricators and he and his team have worked passionately to achieve such a strong, high quality finish and to translate even my smallest details which add to the sculptures  character . It has been wonderful to work with Andy Langley and his team on the interpretation of my artistic vision from small to large scale, of what will be the biggest Liver Bird in the world.      

The making of the Meccano Liver Bird
Unveiling - October 2017
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