Chainsaw work of art at plaza

CUTTING EDGE Chainsaw sculpture artist Matthew Crabb
CUTTING EDGE Chainsaw sculpture artist Matthew Crabb
Councillor Roy Perry, leader of Hampshire County Council

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A chainsaw artist has created a sculpture from an old cedar tree for a council.

The work of art by Matthew Crabb is in the grounds of The Plaza, Havant Borough Council’s offices.

The tree was reduced to a stump last year when strong winds blew a limb off.

And it was a planning condition that a piece of art commemorating the completion of the multimillion pound refurbishment of the council offices should be commissioned.

Mr Crabb, from Exmoor, still has some finishes touches to do to but the sculpture’s shape is now complete.

Councillor Tony Briggs, leader of the council, said: ‘Here we had a tree which actually had a problem. That’s why we had to take the branches and boughs off.

‘They were going to chop it down but as part of the redevelopment plans a piece of art had to be commissioned.

‘We decided on something everyone could enjoy. It’s a fantastic work of art – it just fits.’

Deputy leader, Councillor David Guest, said: ‘It’s a super work of art. And it’s the artist’s portrayal of what he perceives.

‘It’s a piece that will make people say “wow”.

‘I hope the public will appreciate it and take the time to go and see it.’

Mr Crabb’s submission for the work beat 12 other artists’ designs.

It commemorates the exciting year The Plaza was opened – 2012.

Much of the design is inspired by the Olympics.

A little girl holds aloft a torch to represent achievement and success.

The two enormous hands that support her represent regeneration and the refurbishment of the building.

Mr Crabb said: ‘This area was redeveloped last year and it led me to think about nurturing and inspiration and I linked that with the Olympics, which is the most famous thing to happen last year.

‘The roses signify growth.’

It has taken several weeks to complete because Mr Crabb is in demand around the world. He has won many major competitions and is famous for his large-scale pieces.

He worked from dawn till dusk to make the most of the natural light and slept in a van next to the sculpture.

It will be ready in time for a visit from Princess Anne, on July 16, where she will meet staff from the civic and voluntary organisations that now work side by side at The Plaza.

It is an open day for the general public to have a look around the building too.

The building has been short-listed for several awards.