and one of these:
and you get one of these:
Simple hey? Well, no, not simple at all. You need the skill and expertise of someone like chainsaw carver extraordinaire Neil Bruce. You need a lot of room, you create a lot of mess. You need to be holed up in a draughty barn for 4 months to produce 15 of these fellas.
Neil has been tasked with producing the Gruffalo sculptures which will be heading out into selected forests in time for The Gruffalo's 15th birthday on 7th June this year.
They are part of the collaborative celebrations with the Forestry Commission who have introduced a number of self-led Gruffalo trails in their forests. They are also holding a special birthday party with lots of events going on around the country. Sign up online for your free downloadable party pack bursting with ideas and inspiration for holding your own picnic party to celebrate the birthday.
Speaking to Neil and watching him create his masterpieces was incredible. The skill and intricate detail he manages to produce was a joy to behold. He takes hard wood which has come from several different Forestry Commission sites - either through storm damage or trees that were allocated for timber felling - and turns them into these magical beings.
Each carving is different, portraying the Gruffalo in a different pose. Each one is hand painted, with all the details you'd expect - his orange eyes; his terrible tusks, his purple prickles all down his back...
We were among some special guest who were allowed a peak into this secret barn to see the work in progress. We saw many of the statues which will be heading out soon to a forest near you. We witnessed the artist at work and watched as a tree trunk suddenly developed two horns under the expert use of his chainsaw. We spluttered through the dust and rubbed it from our eyes.
After a messy painting session, it was time to head indoors for some lunch and some cupcake decorating, then there was a quick play in the outdoor park area and some clambering on the Gruffalo off-cuts, before the heavens opened, and it was time to leave the secret location and say goodbye to the Gruffalos - until we see them again!
Disclosure: we are official bloggers for the Forestry commission and receive an annual Discovery Pass. We were invited to this event and received a goody bag.