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Wildlife sculpture becomes home to nesting dove at the Harley Foundation

A horse sculpture made from recycled materials has become an unexpected home for a nesting dove, delighting staff and visitors at a north Nottinghamshire arts venue.

The life-size horse sculptures by Michelle Reader are made entirely from recycled materials collected from the Welbeck estate.

Since they were installed in 2022, they have been hugely popular with visitors – and have now attracted a dove who has built a nest inside the structure.

Michelle Reader has been making art from waste since 1997 – her work highlights the links between the things we consume and the destruction of wildlife habitats.

In her hands, a broken fan might become a mountain goat, or a tractor pulled hay rake could be transformed into a racehorse.

Michelle explained “I love the unpredictability of discarded objects, and the inventiveness necessary to transform them into a sculpture. The medium is a big part of the message, so the materials I use vary widely. Finding ways to combine and transform existing objects has meant that I’ve developed an eclectic range of techniques. This is not only in order to join dissimilar materials, but also increasingly to find ways of joining that are reversible, meaning materials can potentially be reused or recycled again and again.”

The dove took up residence on 10th June, and visitors have been asked to observe the bird from a distance, allowing her to nest undisturbed. The Foundation has taken to social media, asking visitors to help them name the nesting bird – suggestions have included ‘Neigh-omie’, ‘Duchess’ and ‘Whinny’.

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