Mobile Meadow (Manifested)
Native plants grown into felt and mounted on board
This meadow is fully mobile and can be set up in various incongruous urban settings, guerrilla art style. It alludes to conservation, sustainability and the control of nature. Here it is presented at ArtWork Atelier as part of the Manifest Festival 2015.
What is natural and what is manmade? I am interpreting the mechanics and reality of what is a managed landscape and what is a natural one, recognising the incoherence between popular perception and reality. The truth is that what most people recognise as ‘natural’, the British countryside, is the product of thousands of years of human management. Here is a meadow, obviously ‘artificial’ and yet no less natural than one in the rural landscape.
Man imposes a geometry, an order, on our environment for our own purposes. In the end nature takes possession of it, creating the Great British Countryside. What we end up with is a balance between control and chaos.
What we initially create can become an ecosystem, benefitting animals and plants. which in themselves loop around to enrich our lives. There is no reason why we can’t bring these benefits to the heart of a city via green corridors, green roofs, and sustainable drainage systems. A meadow on a building site, or a car park, or on a roof can bring pleasure and ecological improvement.
The work references the concept of ‘Hedonistic Sustainability’ espoused by the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels; there is value in the process of human pleasure, conservation can not only benefit the environment but at the same time can enhance quality of life and human enjoyment.
Jubilee Gardens @ Allery Gallery
Whalley Range, Jubilee Weekend, 2012
Jubilee Gardens was the first iteration of the Mobile Meadow. A pastiche on the idea of a commissioned park to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee, it provided a green resting place in an urban alleyway.
The Allery Gallery was a pop-up gallery working in partnership with local residents and businesses.
The Allery Gallery invited artists from any discipline to transform an alleyway into an exhibition of life & living over the Jubilee weekend. There was art in the alley, and talks and performances in the local bars and cafes.
For more info click here: http://allerygallery.weebly.com/
Reach Art Festival
Reach was a programme of artist-led public engagement devised to tie in with my commission for landscape designs for the regeneration of the promenade at St. Anne’s. A second artist, Sarah Jane Richards, was commissioned to design signage for the stretch and we collaborated on the public engagement side of the commission. We provided 16 different workshops, engaging a total of 335 people in the sessions.
To celebrate the project we ended up putting on The Reach Art Festival, attended by 800-1000 people. The festival showcased local artists and performers, as well as animating an underused part of the promenade. There was an art market, bands, Punch and Judy, a storyteller and even a mini double decker for rides.
You can see more details at https://reachartproject2014.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/reach-art-festival-2014/
Reach Art Project Designs
The Reach Art Project’s community engagement program led to designs for the regeneration of the Promenade at Lytham St Anne’s. The concept is to create a bold new multi-functional public space. Plenty of seating and lighting are installed to make a space for meeting, chatting, picnicking. Space is retained for everyday parking, which is transformed into an arts and crafts market on special occasions. Further towards the swimming pool is a circular space which can be used for events and performances.
The designs for this part of the promenade blur the boundaries between different elements of the area and create connections between the distinct character areas of the town, the promenade and the beach/dunes. Sightlines are opened up and emphasized to create more connection and help wayfinding
We delivered workshops to several schools and community groups in the area as well as drop-in workshops around the town, and the project culminated in the Reach Art Festival that animated the promenade.
Our Museum was a three-year programme funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation involving nine UK museums and galleries working collaboratively with community partners in ways that embed community voices. See www.ourmuseum.org.uk
This piece of participatory art developed over the two days of the first peer review conference. Delegates included museum management, staff, volunteers and community partners. The artwork created an invitation for people to respond – sharing their thoughts, ideas, reactions, feelings, emotions in real time as the review took place.
Different coloured tracing paper reflected different categories and feelings. The anonymity of the window allowed freedom of communication in a way that face to face conversation did not. The positioning and ratio of colours created snapshots of the mood of the event.
A feedback loop emerged, as the participants started to comment not just on the conference and the programme but on each others contributions to the window.
Guerilla Greening – with Helen Meade
We worked with objects common to the urban environment, and a variety of plants to create sculptural interventions to spark the imagination. Our intention was to radically change them and the way they are usually perceived. We took the negative connotations of a “carbon footprint”, and transformed it into a “growing footprint” that can be celebrated.