The Big Sleuth 2017

The Big Sleuth 2017, Birmingham

The Big Sleuth 2017

Remember when I painted a giant owl? They’re doing it again, and this time with bears!

The Big Sleuth is a public art project organised by Wild in Art. This summer, over 100 giant bear sculptures painted by artists will be on the streets of Birmingham. You can follow the Big Sleuth trail and spot them all. Then at the end of the summer, they’ll be auctioned to raise money for Birmingham Childrens Hospital.

The Big Hoot owls

The Big Hoot

In 2015 my design was chosen for The Big Hoot. I painted a giant owl and called him Tea T-Owl, because he was covered in tea-time treats (including cakes with faces of course!) with a checked tea towel background.

It was amazing to be part of The Big Hoot. I started painting Tea T-Owl the day after I got back from Tokyo. Fighting through the jetlag, it took over 70 hours over the course of a week to paint him! It was a crazy week, and it was so strange to finally visit Tea T-Owl on the street, near the childrens hospital – it felt like visiting a friend.

I absolutely loved getting messages and photos from people who’d spotted him, including parents who said he brightened up their child’s visit to the hospital.

Tea T-Owl was sold at auction for £6,000. It’s amazing to know he raised so much for the hospital and I’m so proud to have been involved. I’d love to know where he is now – I hope he’s still brightening up someone’s day!

The Big Hoot - my finished owl!

My owl Tea T-Owl for The Big Hoot 2015


You can watch me paint Tea T-Owl in this video, the whole process sped up to less than 3 minutes:

A Fantastic Project

The Big Hoot was a fantastic project in so many ways, and I’m sure The Big Sleuth will be too.

  • It brightened up the streets of Birmingham with so many different styles of artwork on the owls.
  • For the artists, it was great to be involved in the project – I certainly never expected to be painting a giant owl!
  • Following the trail was a fun (and free!) day out for groups of friends and families in the summer holidays, and a fun way to explore parts of the city you might not have been to before.
  • It inspired creativity, as visitors saw identical sculptures transformed in so many different ways.
  • And, most importantly, the project raised over £500,000 for Birmingham Childrens Hospital.

Big Sleuth Bears

My Designs for The Big Sleuth

I’ve submitted two designs for The Big Sleuth. I really hope one of them gets picked; it would be great to be involved again.

I won’t reveal the whole designs, just in case, but here’s a sneaky peek at some details from the artwork:

The first is Straw-bear-y! As you know, I love puns, and strawberries are possibly the best thing about the British summer. This bear would certainly brighten up the streets of Birmingham. And in true Cakes with Faces style, all the strawberries are bursting with personality!


The second design is The Great Bear, inspired by the star constellations Ursa Major and Minor. The star formations are all bear-themed – it was so much fun to invent them. This would be a really striking and beautiful bear, and hopefully the constellations would make people smile!

The Great Bear


At the moment I have my fingers crossed, and I’ll keep you updated on Facebook and Twitter!