Meet the artist creating something magical for our brand-new indoor play areas

As the renovation of our indoor spaces starts to come to fruition, the finishing touches are starting to take form – and that includes the introduction of some fantastically unique and very special creative additions to the décor.

Meet willow sculptor June McEwan. A hugely talented mural artist and sculptor from Crieff, June has been commissioned to create some spectacular eco-friendly sculptures to take up residence in our new café.

And, June has very kindly welcomed us all for a sneak peek of what’s she’s been working on.

Venturing into June’s workshop is a little bit like stepping into Narnia. You quickly find yourself surrounded by a myriad of woodland creatures – all full of personality, all easily identifiable and, amazingly, all completely made of willow.

June’s talent, as an artist and sculptor has enabled her to create the most beautiful eco-friendly creatures through turning, weaving, persuading and bending willow to create her vision. She’s created sculptures for all sorts of events, companies and individuals, from creating nine-foot-tall golfers to feature at the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles in 2014, to Highland cows that people have commissioned to live in their garden.

It’s a very freeing experience for June, creating people, animals and all sorts of characters with willow. “I can go completely wild. It’s very physical and I speak to them as well. They all have different personalities. It’s difficult at the start when you just have a cluster of willow branches, but as they start to take shape, the sculptures’ characters start to shine through.”

For the sculpture for Active Kids, June has looked to a classic fairy-tale for inspiration – as well as the animals that live in the park.

“It’s based on an old fairy-tale from Germany called ‘The Musicians of Bremen’ and it’s about these animals that make music,” says June. “There’s a donkey that’s too old to work and walks to the next village where he meets an old dog. They realise they can play music, so they keep on walking, meet  cat and so on, meeting animals to add to their musical troop. Each were added on top to create a pyramid shape, with the donkey at the bottom holding them all up. They found new strength together.”

June decided to do a version of this fairy-tale, but featuring the animals at Active Kids. June’s sculpture will feature a Shetland pony, a goat, pig and chicken and it’s already beginning to take shape. She’s also thinking of adding a murmuration of birds flying over the top of the animals.

Always at her happiest when working with local communities and working on projects in the area, being part of the renovation project at Active Kids and knowing her sculpture will bring joy to many, many children fills her with pride.

“I displayed some rabbits, Highland cows and a lovely deer in a shopping centre for an arts and crafts event and saw the children’s reactions to the willow sculptures. The kids believe in them. They can see the character or whatever it is they see. It’s amazing. I hope the kids at Active Kids will react similarly when they see the sculpture.”

Here at Active Kids, to say we’re excited for you all the see our new play spaces is an understatement! Set to open in Spring 2023, our indoor spaces are being re-developed to create an all-year round adventure space for children, rain or sunshine.

June’s willow sculpture will be placed in our new café, which will also feature an outdoor south facing terrace. The café will be next to a new treehouse themed indoor play space alongside a variety of nature themed obstacles, tunnels, nets and slides as well as lots of interactive play spaces for younger children. 

It sounds like her creation will be right at home in the heart of our new indoor spaces. We can’t wait for you all to see it!