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.

About Hellens

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!

sarah monk turning up  in the woodlandsat hellens manor i
official logo of the craft potters association of great britain
arm shot of sarah monk holding up a ceramic bughouse in a woodland


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!

You can find details about the Sculpture Trail here. Hellens also have a Facebook page and Instagram.

I have a selection of bug houses for sale on my online shop and at my studio shop here at Eastnor Pottery.


sarah monk hanging up her slipware bug houses in a tree at hellens manor
sarah monk sculpture installation hanging bug houses at hellens manor
four bug houses hanging on a tree made by sarah monk ceramics