That’s the clay to do it

Children Of Clay by Ric Stott
Children Of Clay by Ric Stott
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Hunt on for three-inch sculptures

MEET the Reverend Ric Stott and his Children Of Clay.

RIC STOTT & CLAY MEN   Methodist minister Ric Stott  with one of his 'children of clay' pictured at Devonshire Green, Sheffield.   10 March 2011

RIC STOTT & CLAY MEN Methodist minister Ric Stott with one of his 'children of clay' pictured at Devonshire Green, Sheffield. 10 March 2011

Be observant and you might see the little fellows around Sheffield and the Peak District over the next couple of weeks.

He’s placed 40 of the three inch figurines in hiding around the region and if you find them...well, they’re yours to keep. Or to leave. Or to do as you see fit.

“It’s an art exhibition but they’re out there for 40 days as a sort of representation of Jesus’s 40 days in the wilderness,” says the 35-year-old Methodist District Minister, artist and art therapist. “It took me about half a day to make them then a couple of days to place them in hiding. It felt a bit like sending your children out into the world, not knowing what will become of them.”

What has become of them is that some have been washed away by the rain (“the clay is unfired so they’re quite vulnerable,” says Ric), some seem to have been taken away by people and one appears to have started smoking.

One of  Methodist minister Ric Stott's  'children of clay' pictured at Devonshire Green, Sheffield.

One of Methodist minister Ric Stott's 'children of clay' pictured at Devonshire Green, Sheffield.

“I left a note and my email address with each one,” says the father-of-two (real-children, that is), of Mosborough. “One guy put a cigarette in its arms and sent me a photo - that was great because it shows the project has perhaps captured the imagination and people are interacting with it.” That note also explains that the figures have been put out as part of an art exhibition to be held at Wesley Hall Methodist Church, in Crookes, to celebrate Easter.

At the end of their 40 days in the wilderness Ric will collect the surviving clay children and place them on show. Any photos he has been sent will also go on display.

One fellow that won’t be there, however, is the one he left in Fargate.

“That disappeared the next day,” notes the father-of-two, whose therapist studio is based in Smithfield, Shalesmoor. “I like to think maybe someone saw it and took it home but more likely a street sweeper cleaned it up.”

And there are still plenty more still out there

“If people see them I just hope they bring a moment of wonder into their world,” says Ric. “It’s just nice to think they can make someone’s day a little bit.”

The Wilderness Exhibition features 18 artists and takes place at Wesley Hall Methodist Church, in Crookes, March 25 - April 22.

Details at www.iaskforwonder.com

WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN OF CLAY? Bochum Parkway (2); Ecclesall Woods (1); Peak District (6); Endcliffe Park (3); Mosborough (3); Parsons Cross (3); Broomhill (5); Shalesmoor (4); city centre (10); Gleadless (1); Ecclesall Road (1); Hillsborough (1).