Whilst manning at Esotera I’ve been watching a pigeon nesting. Visitors can’t believe it at such a late time of year. Well, she’s had babies! It’s providing additional interest for visitors to Esotera! Meanwhile, new life is sprouting through my installation – grass growing rapidly after all the rain and mushrooms are finding it a perfect haven. Nature is once again doing its magic and I’m loving the enhancement. Here’s to our final day – let’s hope the sun shines for us all!
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.
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!
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.
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.
The work begins!