Morris Morph figure snapped up as Sidmouth Folk Festival crowdfunding campaign begins

Peter Lord of Aardman Animations making his Morris Morph figure. Picture: Aardman Animations

Peter Lord of Aardman Animations making his Morris Morph figure. Picture: Aardman Animations - Credit: Archant

A unique sculpture of the Aardman Animations character Morph, made by co-founder Peter Lord, has been snapped up for £2,500 at the start of a crowdfunding appeal for next year’s Sidmouth Folk Festival.

It was one of the rewards on offer to supporters of the crowdfunding campaign, launched on Tuesday (June 30), with the aim of securing the festival’s future.

The appeal smashed its £30,000 target within a few hours, and a new target of £70,000 has been set.

The Morph figure is styled as a Morris dancer, with a flowery straw hat, stick, bells and a sash.

Mr Lord, a folk fan and long-term supporter of the festival, said: “Morris Morph combines my two great passions – animation and British folk music.

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“And of course, with your help, he’s going to make sure that Sidmouth Folk Festival also survives and thrives to delight new generations.

“The Morph you see on screen is simply made of modelling clay, which is great for animation, but not so great for longevity.

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“The hundreds of Morphs that I’ve made over the years have all been used for animation and then politely recycled.

“But this one is different. I hand-made this Morph from a wonderful material called SuperSculpey.

“It behaves exactly like Plasticine, except that you can bake it hard and then paint it. So, with care, Morris Morph should last a lifetime.”

Mr Lord is creative director of Aardman Animations, the award-winning Bristol-based animation studio behind the much-loved TV and film characters Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep.

But it all began with Morph, who he invented in 1976 – the year he started his company with his schoolfriend David Sproxton.

He said: “Morph made his TV debut on Take Hart, alongside the splendid artist Tony Hart. Shortly afterwards, and I think co-incidentally, I joined Bristol Morris. I have to admit that Morph stuck to animation much better than I stuck to dancing.

“Suffice it so say that he’s still going strong after more than 40 years, and looking as young as ever, whereas I lapsed from Morris after only a few years (but that’s another story), and I’m definitely looking my age.”

Many of the artistes who were due to perform at this year’s festival are also donating rewards for people who support the crowdfunding, and the names of all contributors will be displayed on a ‘champions wall’ in the town next year.

Visit the Sidmouth Folk Festival website for more information, or to make a donation.

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