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Page last updated at 16:28 GMT, Wednesday, 2 February 2011
Crochet lions leave Olympics artist nursing hand

Leicestershire artist crochets lions for 2012 Olympics

A Leicestershire artist has said days spent crocheting three 30ft lions has left her soothing her hands with ice.

Shauna Richardson from Stoughton has been preparing to start work on the last lion, which will be displayed as part of the London 2012 Olympics.

The "crochetdermist" is one of 12 artists across the country to have been awarded a £500,000 Arts Council England commission for the Cultural Olympiad.

The sculptures are intended to reflect the region in symbol and materials.

Richard I's three lion crest will be created using locally-sourced wool, celebrating the East Midlands' rich textile heritage.

A crochet lion by Shauna Richardson
I have gone through a period where I had to plunge my hands into ice at the end of the day, but I'm fine now
Shauna Richardson, artist

Shauna said she aims to make the huge sculptures as realistic as possible.

"I've made sure the form that I was crocheting onto first of all had really over-emphasised definition so that when I put the wool on, which is quite thick, I don't lose any of that.

"I follow the contours of the muscles and sinews and things."

The artist admits the project has been tough going at times, especially using the coarse "carpet quality" wool.

"I have gone through a period where I had to plunge my hands into ice at the end of the day, but I'm fine now."

One lion is fully complete, the second is soon to be finished, with work on the third starting in the next fortnight.

"I think if I'd had all three of them in here at once and then had to start on them, I don't know whether I could have faced coming in every day."

Once finished the lions will be placed in a custom-built, mobile, glass case which will tour around the East Midlands, before travelling to London for the Olympics opening.

After the Games the three lions will return to the East Midlands.

Artist crochets Olympics lions
08 Feb 11 |  Arts & Culture
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