Sophy King

Art, Landscape, Environment

Gold River Bed

Environmental Art Installation, I-Park Foundation, Connecticut, 2016

The site is a dry river bed during a drought. This work is like an offering to the gods of rain. I am playing with ideas of value and worth, using humble moss and concrete alongside precious gold.  At the end of the day the missing element is the most precious one of all – the water that should be running freely down the creek.

concrete, gold leaf, moss

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.

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Guerilla Greening – with Helen Meade


The Big Green Weekend, Hebden Bridge, 2008concept drawings and execution of random acts of greening with a shed and a shopping trolley

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.

Stockport Women’s Aid Gardens


Stockport Womens Aid Gardens, 2011

Stockport Womens Aid commissioned me to landscape the external areas of their Refuge. The shelter houses vulnerable women and their children for periods of between 2 months and a year. For a budget of only £6000 they wanted to refurbish an existing play area, and to create a ‘calm space’ for residents to sit and relax.

Consultation identified specific problems, firstly the play area had a ‘prisonyard feel’. There was a lack of colour. Also it did not cater to the wide age ranges of the resident children.

Murals on the walls, devised with the children, inspire imaginative play and draw the eye away from the security spikes. The markings on the floor add colour. The existing playhouse given its own space to link up with colourful planting. The space seems friendlier and full of life.

The resident children left handprints on the walls. This serves to give them ownership of the space and also to reassure future residents that they are not alone.

An unused lawned area at the back of the refuge was transformed into a peaceful garden with seating, herb bed and planting. The children expressed a need for a ‘hidey-hole’ and we built a living willow shelter which will continue to grow.

The planting was designed to give interest throughout the year and to to require minimal maintenance. The residents, however, enjoy tending it and picking herbs for cooking. In time climbers will cover the walls, adding to the feeling of the ‘Secret Garden’, a haven from the city around them.