The Lionheart Project

In a departure from her regular practice, the artist Shauna Richardson spent two years hand crocheting three giant lions out of 36 miles of locally sourced ‘Swaledale’ wool. Harking back to the days of the travelling menagerie show and celebrating the rich textile heritage of the East Midlands the giant hand-crocheted lions, a unique representation of Richard the Lionheart’s crest, travelled the region and beyond in a 16 metre illuminated glass case from May to October 2012.

A unique, highly accessible project, Lionheart was designed to reach as many people as possible. From open studio activities, school and community projects, workshops, and viral participation, to the final piece being witnessed on the road, Lionheart Project actively engaged and inspired a large and diverse audience.

Lionheart Project / Artists taking the lead / a series of 12 public art commissions across the UK to celebrate the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Arts Council England delivered the project in partnership with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Creative Scotland and the Arts Council of Wales. Lionheart Project was selected by an independent panel of artists and producers from a total of 118 regional entries.

CONSTRUCTION / The lion structures are sculpted out of polystyrene and set around steel skeletons. Using her one colour one stitch freestyle technique, Richardson single-handedly crocheted the three skins tracing the muscular contours of the lion form. Wool was sourced locally from Swaledale sheep, spun and dyed to Shauna's specification, a total of 36 miles of yarn was used in creating the 3 lions. Through the sensational use of a traditional skill, Richardson highlighted crochet as a valid contemporary medium, educating and inspiring a new generation of practitioners. WATCH FILM

Working with Vipex a specialist vehicle exhibition company, the Lionheart team designed a lightweight artic purpose built trailer with glass sides to house the lions. The specifications were quite demanding.  The brief was that it had to be able to stand alone with air conditioned interior to prevent condensation on the glass and onboard generator to power this when not connected to land power plus be illuminated both when stationary and when in transit, without infringing any road traffic laws. The show trailer in itself is something quite different as it features 12mm toughened glass sides which can withstand the flexing during normal road movement but is able to be pulled by a 7.5 ton truck. WATCH FILM