Arts prize supports smallholder sheep farming

Emerging contemporary sculptor Nicola Turner has won the 2021 Ashburner Prize with her piece This Mortal Coir (Photo). She has used part of her prize money to buy 23 recently shorn black fleeces from local Devon smallholder Tim Short, after he advertised them in a community group online.

Tim said, ‘We grow local and supply local so I’m very pleased the fleeces have been bought by a local prize winner. Sheep farming is really difficult right now. The money is very welcome’.

Reclining in the big black pile in her studio (photo) Nicola said, ‘I love them’.

The Ashburner Prize, in memory of June Ashburner, is awarded by Stone Lane Gardens near Chagford in Devon as part of its annual sculpture exhibition. It aims to encourage emerging South West artists to exhibit. June founded the exhibition in 1994.

Nicola’s prize winning piece sits in the trees on an island in the garden. As she says ‘Here it interconnects with the wider ecosystem and goes beyond into the trees’, punctuating the exhibition’s theme of regeneration.