Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By HE­LEN JOHN­SON he­len.john­son@trin­i­tymir­ @He­len­j83MEN For more in­for­ma­tion about Stuart’s hip­pie com­mune see www.freeriver com­mu­

AS eBay list­ings go, Stuart Hamp­ton’s is def­i­nitely one of the more un­usual ones.

The artist is sell­ing piles of dirt on­line for £10 a pop, in a bid to raise money to cre­ate his own hip­pie com­mune.

The artist, 35, who grew up in Darn­hill, Hey­wood, has har­boured dreams of set­ting up his own com­mu­nity for years.

He plans to put all the money he raises from sell­ing the soil into estab­lish­ing one.

But as well as hop­ing to raise cash, Stuart says there is a deeper mean­ing be­hind the list­ing, as it’s also an art project.

Stuart said: “It’s a state­ment on the value of na­ture and ma­te­ri­al­ism.

“I usu­ally paint pic­tures but this is a move into the sur­real for me.

“Every­one has ev­ery­thing that they need these days, we live in wealthy times, so what can be more valu­able than pre­cious earth?

“Mod­ern art is so vague and bizarre that any­thing can hap­pen, like that guy who won the Turner prize for a ball of screwed up pa­per. “It’s just a bizarre of­fer­ing.” Although he has yet to re­ceive his first or­der, Stuart says the page has re­ceived many views since it was first launched yes­ter­day. The more dirt that buy­ers buy, the nicer the pack­age it ar­rives in will be but each or­der still re­ceives the same amount of dirt. Stuart’s eBay list­ing reads: “Amaz­ing dirt fresh from this mys­ti­cal land we call earth. Dirt that is the sup­port for all life. This mag­i­cal sub­stance from which all life is sus­tained through the plants that grow. “You will re­ceive a hand­ful of dirt in a spe­cial en­ve­lope. “This is art, this is dirt. “Dirt is art, art is dirt. “All is dirt, all is art. “Own your bit of art/dirt “If I can sell loads of dirt, I will set up a hip­pie com­mune.

“Higher quan­ti­ties will still mean one hand­ful, but you will re­ceive it in a bet- ter pack­age (one hand­ful con­tains all you need, dirt is magic, dirt is art) for ex­am­ple – 500 dirts – you will re­ceive it in a spe­cial hand­made painted and jew­elled box.”

Stuart hopes his com­mune, called Freeriver, will be a place where peo­ple can live to­gether and im­merse them­selves in liv­ing cre­atively, with a fo­cus on peace, love and to­geth­er­ness.

He added: “I lived in a com­mune for four years and it was beau­ti­ful and mag­i­cal. I want to cre­ate that for the world. I think some­one from my back­ground, the only way I’ll ever get the money is a bizarre stroke of luck. It’s worth a shot.”

And some­how, dirt is ar­guably not even the weird­est thing Stuart has ever put up for sale on eBay to raise money for it.

Four years ago, he man­aged to flog a gi­ant Hula Hoop crisp for £700.

He be­lieved the crisp, which he dis­cov­ered while snack­ing in bed, could have po­ten­tially been the ‘long­est Hula Hoop in the world’ .

Stuart Hamp­ton is sell­ing ‘amaz­ing dirt fresh from this mys­ti­cal land we call earth’ – in other words, soil – on eBay Stuart Hamp­ton and, be­low, the artist un­masked

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