On we go

It was sad to say goodbye to Esotera –  I loved being there.  On my final take down day last week Andrew and Shirley were hard at work on their next venture, wonderful aromas brewing in their kitchen for forthcoming Christmas fayres, industrious as always.   Thanks to their input we managed to make over £1000 for the NGS from Abundance takings, including entrance fees, crafts, plants, cakes and teas.

The  baby pigeons have nearly grown to full size and the garden is almost back to normal, bar a few bare patches of grass.

Some of my Abundance work is now on show in a new exhibition at Walcot Chapel Gallery, Bath with Kitty Hillier (another Abundance artist), entitled ‘Blurred Edges‘.  It runs from 14th – 27th October, open 10.30-4.30 daily, so please come along if you can.

IMG_7671 IMG_7665 Walcot

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Labour of love come to fruition

Garden of Eden

The last fortnight has been a rather mad whirlwind leading to SAW’s opening, managing both my venues between other day-to-day commitments, testing my sanity.  Miraculously, the Garden of Eden came together on time.  With the support and help of good friends and a few late nights finishing off, I managed to complete my 3  installations at Esotera, set up at Thornreed Studio (venue 94), get to the Abundance micro feast at East Lambrook, do a talk and workshop on the first Saturday and thoroughly enjoy chatting to visitors for the past week.  Thanks to Pauline Watson and team, the Harveys (owners at Esotera) and Hicks & Don (wine sponsors) for their hard work, food and drink contributions to the private view, it was a lovely event.

I asked a photographer (from 35mil) to take some pics of the work.  We re-scheduled 3 times due to poor weather and it was third time lucky when the sun finally broke through after a dull, cold day.  Dappled sunlight heightens the enchantment on the largest piece – lichen-inspired work set in a copse of silver birch trees.  What’s really needed now is more sunshine to do its magic over this last coming weekend to encourage a wider, more abundant audience.

I’ve received many appreciative, insightful comments about the Garden of Eden and yesterday was a particularly good day at Esotera, with a large range of visitors of all ages.   A friend even made a visit from above in a glider.   Grass is starting to grow through my main installation, and although I regularly collect some of the leaves/debri that fall onto the work (especially after high winds last week), they almost enhance it.   The work is settling into the site – perhaps it should remain a permanent feature!   Gengis the cat is enjoying the extra attention and Scruffy – one of the free-roaming chickens – has an odd habit of pecking at visitors’ feet/legs!   Ahh sweet!

I am feeling positive about the whole experience, apart from poor weather at times bringing less visitors (and a few recoiling when faced with the NGS entrance fee).   It has been hard work, challenging, great fun, addictive even – and I think, successful.

Garden of Eden - detail Garden of Eden nestled amongst silver birch trees

Garden of EdenDetail DetailLichen-inspired formsDetail

Garden of Eden

Detail DetailEnclave of lichen-inspired piece with silver birch treesDetailDetailIntrigued free-roaming chickenGarden of EdenGiant Nest   reclaimed copper wires, twine and old light bulbsGiant NestGiant Nest - detail (reclaimed copper wires, twine and old light bulbs)Giant Nest - detailGiant Nest - detail   reclaimed copper wire, twine and light bulbsSerpent and fruitSerpent and fruitSerpent's crown - made from an old shower head, reclaimed copper wire & beads.  Inspired by Bosch's Satan in Garden of Earthly delightsIMG_7476Boy spots snakeWorkshop at EsoteraParticipant's work in progress - workshop at EsoteraNesting pigeon at Esotera - drawing by Fiona whilst manningGengis - rarrScruffy pecking

Installation

Saturday was the big day for me to install the main bulk of my work at Esotera.  I am eternally grateful to Nick Weaver and Nigel Evans for their invaluable help carting, transporting and installing my work – the 3 of us driving in convoy with full loads meant that I didn’t have to do several trips the same day.   I was installing from 8.30am-7pm, aided by some lovely refreshments courtesy of Shirley and Andrew Harvey.  Thanks also to Jason Nosworthy, who helped with the landscaping side of things.  Apart from the grass not growing quite enough to enclose the site for my main installation at Esotera (a set of silver birch trees), I am really pleased with the site – its dappled light and colours give it a magical quality, which just happens to play and harmonise with my work.  Until the work was installed (partly) on Saturday, I had no clear idea of these effects.

I still have a serpent and giant nest to finish, so won’t linger.   I plan to add a fuller write up about the final installations after completion later this week, when a photographer will visit the site  to take better pics.  Then it’s the opening/talk/workshop/private view on Saturday…   Good luck everyone!

Truck fullInstallation in progressInstalling the Garden of EdenInstalling the Garden of Eden Site for main installation Garden of Eden - detail Garden of Eden - detail

Donors

In addition to collecting materials on walks in the area and at Pylle scrapyard, my work has relied on the kindness of numerous local donors, who have given me recycled materials and/or their time.   A huge thank you to the following:  Sam Garland, John Shepherd Feeders, Ridgeway Garage, Station Road Garage, Pete Reakes, Fon Cosens, Somerset Earth Science Centre, Andrew and Shirley Harvey, Vicky Grinter, Georgia Grinter, Caroline James, Jason Nosworthy, Nigel Evans, Peter Osborne, Denise Campbell, Nick Weaver, Adrian Candy.

I have struggled to keep up with my own self-inflicted deadlines for making the Abundance installations, especially during this school summer holiday, although I am making progress.   With September nearly upon us, I’ll need to accelerate in order to get it all completed on time.

My large ‘fallen nest’ is coming along ok and I hope to complete it in the next week.  Other parts to the lichen-inspired installation have now been shaped and patinated using reclaimed copper and lead.  I have a couple more items to make, and will then set it all out again in my garden as a mock up.  It’s been great fun exploring techniques and finding new ways of working with materials.

We are meeting with the owners at Esotera this Friday for a final update on the work and Art Weeks arrangements.   Very soon it will be time to install….  better get moving!

Nest in progress Nest in progress Nest in progress Nest in progress Patinated Copper Lead leaf

Crossovers

Pieces are steadily coming together.  The aim is to create a mass of giant growing forms, inspired by lichen, linked to the Eden concept and utilising found objects.  It involves hours of weaving, wrapping and forming, using soft and hard materials together, which is relatively new for me and occasionally  I wonder if I’ll ever get it finished.  Anyway, it’s becoming a daily activity and no matter what else the day holds, I try to spend a few hours on the Abundance work.  I’m hooked on what I’m making, and what I would really like is to have no other interruptions but life isn’t that simple..

Earlier this week we went to Esotera again to measure the installation area and confirm a few details with Zoe.  A landscape designer friend, Jason, came along to help work out where the grass might be allowed to grow a little, in order to create more of an enclosure for the work.  Owners Andrew and Shirley have been very accommodating with this.

Lichen with birch trees beyond Planning the long grass boundaries

Lichen sketch Giant lichen form in progress

On reading the other Abundance artist posts, I like the idea that there seems to be several crossovers in our work; connections which somehow tie the Trail together.

Revisiting Esotera

Today was a perfect day to revisit Esotera.  My first visit with Zoe was on a grim winter’s day.  But today blazing sunshine had brought out new flowers from bulbs, ferns were unravelling, ducks, chickens, fish and a very sociable cat ‘Gengis’ were all glorifying our brilliant 1st of May.

Ferns unravelling Free roaming chickens Gengis Fish loving the sunshine

As I wandered around, I could understand why Esotera gets so many visitors who stay for hours.  The owners and garden envelop you into their world – a place at peace with itself, whilst buzzing with the magic of life and I found it hard to leave!  Undecided about the exact location of my installation, with several possibilities, I took plenty of photos and absorbed the ambience.   It helped to confirm my ideas for the project, and 3 hours later I left, armed with a load of reclaimed materials for my work there, generously donated by the owners Shirley and Andrew.

Esotera Esotera Materials from Esotera

The work begins!

Utopian Eden

My ideas have moved on to something a little more ambitious.  The work will be time-consuming but fun to make!  My thoughts have lingered on Genesis’ Garden of Eden – the most abundant garden where plants, creatures and humans grow and roam freely in complete harmony.  It is the first Utopian concept, explored by many including Plato, Thomas More etc… Utopian ideals encompass world peace, enlightenment, labour, arts and science, fulfillment, harmony between man and nature,  all needs supplied by the abundance of nature.
Esotera means ‘of the earth’.. esoteric means ‘mystical, unusual, rare.’  The garden symbolises a love for the land and relationship with the earth, the owners at Esotera work hard together to create from nothing an idyllic garden (Eden), make a huge contribution to society (Utopian), build things from found materials – including houses of various sorts, the garden is very harmonious with nature, rich in wildlife, creatures everywhere.   Nature has repossessed, like a return to Eden.  ‘Eden’ is almost tangible at Esotera…
Next week I’m revisiting the garden to get more of a feel for it, discuss my ideas with Shirley and Andrew, see the garden blooming and arrange practicalities.
The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch