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Ex builder turns heads with handmade showman’s wagon

Artist Michael Wickwar at his home in Norwich, with his Showman's wagon he has built, which he is using as a gallery to show his unusual art. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Artist Michael Wickwar at his home in Norwich, with his Showman's wagon he has built, which he is using as a gallery to show his unusual art. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2015

A former builder has brought the unusual world of fairground culture to the front lawn of his Norwich home.

Artist Michael Wickwar at his home in Norwich, in his Showman's wagon he has built, which he is using as a gallery to show his unusual art. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYArtist Michael Wickwar at his home in Norwich, in his Showman's wagon he has built, which he is using as a gallery to show his unusual art. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Michael Wickwar grew up inspired by his grandparents’ tales of their time working at fairgrounds along the South East coast in the 1940s.

And now the 59-year-old has now constructed an attraction of his own at his home on Unthank Road - a hand-built showman’s wagon.

He said: “I have always loved the fairground as they were always surreal places to walk around and I think that imagery has stuck with me.

“Last year I was not well, and I missed building things. So I started the showman’s wagon to keep myself busy and it has been attracting a lot interest ever since.”

Mr Wickwar spent six months on project, starting with a chassis he picked up from the forestry commission.

He built the rest of the wagon from scratch using pine wood and sheep’s wool for insulation.

The wagons were once used to transport, and house, fairground workers around the country.

But Mr Wickwar has turned his trailer into an art gallery that is home to a collection of his unusual ceramic pieces.

He added: “I was a self employed builder for over 30 years, but I have always been interested in art and sculpture.

“My work is influenced by bizarre fairground things. My grandparents were once part of a fair and so I grew up hearing their stories.”

The father-of-two, who started his working life building multi-storey car parks in Ipswich, decided to focus on his passion for art when he moved from Suffolk to Norwich nine years ago.

He spent two years at Wensum Lodge to gain a diploma in ceramic design and has been creating sculptures ever since.

Mr Wickwar’s wagon has now been taken down to Suffolk as part of a new art project.

He is opening to encourage other budding artists to follow their passion by hosting special workshops in two barns he is converting.

To view his work, email michaelwickwar@hotmail.co.uk

Do have an unusual creation? Call Luke Powell on 01603 772684


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