Highfields Ely Academy works with local artist to create sculpture for the museum.

During the summer term, pupils from the 2023 Upper Class at Highfield Ely Academy have been working with local Ely sculptor, Emma Taylor to create a fantastic art work inspired by eels and eel traps.  Thanks to the support of the Art Fund and Ely Museum, their sculpture, Shadows of the Past, is now on display for all to enjoy.

Emily Allen, Community Engagement Officer at Ely Museum, says;

Eels have long played a role in Ely’s economy, diet and folklore. It therefore seemed only fitting to create a sculpture inspired by these important, yet mysterious creatures and we are delighted with the beautiful sculpture the Highfield pupils have created”

Made possible due to funding from the Art Fund, Ely Museum was delighted to work with the Upper Class 2023 at Highfield Ely Academy on this project.  Following a visit to the museum to explore the variety of materials seen on display, and inspiration taken from the eel catching tools and amazing Anglo Saxon metal work, it was decided they would make a metal sculpture.

Working with local sculptor, Emma Taylor, a beautiful design inspired by the eels that were once plentiful in our waters and eel traps, known as hives or griggs, came to life.  Each pupil created their own metal work eel, which delicately weave in and out of the eel trap they collectively created.  Usually made of willow and designed to trap eels inside, this eel hive takes inspiration from the traditional weaving techniques which have been reimagined in metalwork by the pupils.

Emma Taylor, sculptor, says;

It has been a pleasure to be involved with the eel sculpture project with Highfields School and Ely Museum. Each student did a fantastic job learning the skills and techniques necessary to each create the copper wire eels featuring in the sculpture and also weave a section of the eel trap which forms the structure of the final artwork.

We encourage you to pop in to see this fantastic sculpture created by Highfield Ely Academy, next time you are passing by the museum, find it on display in the shop area of the museum entrance on the corner of Market Street and Lynn Road.

Paul O’Brien, teacher at Highfields, says;

“‘It was brilliant to see our students picking up a new skill, wire weaving, so quickly. I think they have all gained confidence from taking part in this project and they have also learned how to persevere and to complete a challenge. It’s a real honour and a privilege for our students to have a piece of their work on view in the Museum.’”

Some of the Highfield Ely Academy pupils added;

“I can’t wait to bring my family here and show it to them” and “So, if I come back here in 20 years, it will still be on the wall? Wow!”