‘Tired legs’ Rufus earns judges’ plaudits

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18-year-old Stafford Grammar student Amber Towers and her sculpture ‘Tired legs’ which captured the Eccleshall-based Staffordshire Artists Co-operative award for potential.

A life-sized sculpture of a schoolgirl’s pet lurcher won a top art award after capturing the hearts of judges at an Eccleshall gallery.

The clay model of Rufus, a nine-year-old greyhound-collie cross, earned the critics’ plaudits in the Rotary Club of Stafford Knot’s annual competition and a special Gallery at 12 award.

Eighteen-year-old Stafford Grammar student Amber Towers was among dozens of budding artists from secondary schools across the area who submitted a wide range of work. Her efforts were rewarded when four members of the Eccleshall-based Staffordshire Artists Co-operative named her as the artist with most potential in the 16 to 19 age group.

Traditional artist Ronnie Cruwys, who was among the judging quartet, said:

“We could see straight away that the student had put their heart and soul into it. You could almost feel the tiredness of the dog.
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“Her work was of a high standard and we just loved it. All four of us could see this student growing and envisage them having their own exhibition in 10 years’ time. There were some strong entries, but we felt Amber showed the most potential.”

Amber with her pet lurcher, Rufus.
Amber with her pet lurcher, Rufus.

Amber’s sculpture, ‘Tired legs’, took more than two months to complete and had to be fired in an extra-large kiln.

“I wanted my project to mean something personal to me. I started to draw Rufus and thought it would be good if I could reproduce him as a life sized sculpture. Although I could observe him closely at home, I couldn’t take him to school with me so I had to take loads of photos. It was quite a challenge as he’s so big. I like 3D and mixed media work, but this was the first time I’d worked with clay so it was a bit of an experiment,” said Amber.

The Rotary Club competition was divided into three age groups. Alongside the Gallery at 12 special award, prizes were presented to the top three in each group and certificates were given for highly commended pieces of work.