'Parliament of owls' delivered ahead of Big Hoot trail

Andrew Marsh of Dial Lane books has chosen local artist Kieran Page to design his owl for the Big Ho

Andrew Marsh of Dial Lane Books has chosen local artist Kieran Page to design his owl for the Big Hoot Trail PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Archant

Artists are taking delivery of owls across Ipswich ahead of the Big Hoot Trail this summer. 

A snow white owl was delivered to the studio of Kieran Page on Friday January 28, ready to be painted for the Big Hoot, where it will be homed at Dial Lane Books under the care of Andrew Marsh. 

Kieran designed an elephant for the 2019 Elmer trail in aid of St Elizabeth Hospice and said he learned lessons from that work that he carried over when designing his owl. 

Much of the design has to be kept under wraps, but he said that his inspiration is Suffolk wildlife and the name of the piece is 'Nocturnowl'.

Andrew Marsh and Kieran Page inspect the Big Hoot ahead of painting it over the next few weeks

The owl will be painted by Kieran and then displayed at Dial Lane Books PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Archant

Everything else is a closely-guarded secret, but Mr Marsh said the design "stood out" when it came to selecting his favourite for his Dial Lane bookshop display. 

He said: "I'm fairly new to Ipswich, I've been here five years, and I love being part of the community. 

"It's important that the shop is seen as a champion for the community too, and St Elizabeth Hospice is a great charity. 

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"Kieran and I have worked together before. I do a lot for Teenage Cancer Trust and he's helped with some works of art (in the form of pimped out Henry Hoovers) to auction for that charity.  

"The chance to collaborate again was a no-brainer. 

"All the designs look amazing though, it's going to be a special event."

Liz Baldwin, Claire Jennings, Andrew Marsh and Kieran Page standing with the blank owl

The owl was delivered by St Elizabeth Hospice staff Liz Baldwin and Claire Jennings PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Archant

Liz Baldwin, from St Elizabeth Hospice, said that she'd made a few deliveries to artists this week. 

She added: "It's great to be on the delivery team and it's a pleasure to meet the artists. 

"A parliament of hoots will be on display in Ipswich this summer - 50 big sculptures and 60 little ones - and we're thrilled that the initiative will bring support and footfall to some of Ipswich's independent businesses." 

The Little Hoot trail involves sculptures decorated by local schools and groups, with up to 40 independent retailers agreeing to place an owl in their shop window. 

Elmer's Big Parade Suffolk in 2019 saw more than 390,000 people engaging in the trail - and over 35% of those people came from outside Ipswich.

An owl sculpture that will form part of the Big Hoot Trail this summer in Ipswich

The owl is one of 50 that will be displayed across Ipswich PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Archant