How could I resist?
When Hellens Manor invited me to provide a piece for their sculpture trail it was an immediate ‘Yes!’ The Manor has been described by Country Homes Magazine as ” The jewel in the crown of Herefordshire homes”. A privately owned Tudor house set in atmospheric grounds. I have enjoyed many happy visits there.
Hellens Garden Festival hosts an annual fund raiser for two charities: St Michaels Hospice and Back to the Wild. It usually takes place over a weekend and showcases the best of local growers, producers, makers and foodies. Speakers, interactive demonstrations and music make for a very engaging event. Very well supported locally, the event has an enjoyable and celebratory atmosphere. I’ve had fun running free pottery workshops under the guise of Eastnor Pottery for years!
I looked at the gardens: the ancient orchards, woodland trees. Hellens Manor has a team of dedicated gardeners concerned with conservation. I felt strongly whatever I was going to create needed a function and to be caring!
My initial thought was to make a pottery bird house. I set about making a clay maquette (a small scale prototype). I discovered the small scale had a charm and an intimacy all of it’s own. My thoughts turned to the smaller creatures of the forest….. creepy crawlies!
The result was a collection of little ceramic houses. Insect dwellings filled with hay, tiny twigs and seeds. Small hidey holes for bugs to dwell or hibernate. Designed to hang in trees or outside spaces. My intention was to display them in a tidy row, like houses in a street. Each house has been decorated differently in surface and colour. The idea that we live side by side in a world where we are able to protect each other and the world around us is a good one.
It was a beautiful day in August when I set out to install my bug houses. I had decided to hang them on a beautiful beech tree, just off the path in the woods.
Hellens Garden Festival ran throughout August 2020. The event raised £6700 for st Michaels Hospice. I’m looking forward to exhibiting again on the 12th & 13th June 2021 and I’m already designing new ideas!