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Sculptor Frank recycles 50 million-year-old clay from Crossrail tunnels

PUBLISHED: 16:57 20 May 2013 | UPDATED: 16:57 20 May 2013

Sculpture Frank Harris and his 'Bird Nest' from recycled ancient clay

Sculpture Frank Harris and his 'Bird Nest' from recycled ancient clay

John Zammit

Sculptor Frank Harris is using very old material to create his latest artwork—nearly as old as dinosaurs.

Ancient recycled clay from Crossrail tunnel excavationsAncient recycled clay from Crossrail tunnel excavations

The east London art student has recycled one-and-a-half tonnes of clay said to be 50 million years old which has been extracted from the new Crossrail tunnels.

His huge ‘Bird Nest’ artwork is now exhibiting at University College London.

“It’s exciting to think about what the world may have been like when this clay was formed,” he said. “It’s been great seeing exactly where it’s from and thinking about its history.”

Frank, a student at UCL’s Slade School of Modern Art, mixed the clay with straw and sand to create a ‘cob’ building material which has been used since prehistoric times to make shelters and is the main component in some of the oldest man-made structures on earth.

Crossrail is giving artists the chance to use Europe’s largest construction project to inspire creative art to leave a legacy, following last summer’s successful arts programme for the Olympics at Stratford.

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