2021, Knitting, crochet & embroidery
Size: Width 153 cm x Length 266 cm
The artwork is on display in Davies Exploration House which is behind the
Temperate House at Kew Gardens.
Background to Plant Tree of Life artwork:
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, commissioned this artwork. The creative output was one large-scale work that would involve participants learning about an aspect of Kew’s rare and endangered plants and Kew science. I was also required to design printed learning resources in collaboration with Kew’s Community Learning Coordinator.
I worked with Kew’s knitting club (Knitting Nature programme) and the wider community. The participants were drawn from Kew’s Community Membership scheme, and those who might otherwise face physical, sensory, psychological, or social barriers to visiting Kew.
Colouring books and botanical drawings inspired me. I drew an outlined design of the Plant Tree of Life onto unbleached calico. Participants filled in the design with finger knitting and knitted objects in colour-coded areas (similar to painting by numbers). I call it Colour-In-Knit. No matter how small a piece of knitting or crochet was it was added to the piece. I sewed the knitted pieces onto the canvas during the lockdown.
As I was not able to meet with the group during this time, I create the video below to show them how I constructed the artwork.
When lockdown eased I was able to meet some of the group to view the artwork in situ and get their feedback.
Facts about the Plant Tree of Life project
- The project ran – October 2019 – March 2020
Sessions I ran:
- 2 All day Knitathons
- 5 Knitting Nature Sessions
- 3 Outreach sessions.
- Involved community groups from all across London.
- The number of people involved – Over 100
As an artist based in Hastings, East Sussex I was fascinated to discover another artist from the town who has artworks at Kew. That is Marianne North biologist and botanical artist famed for her plant and landscape paintings, plant discoveries, and the creation of her gallery at Kew Gardens. She commissioned the Marianne North Gallery at Kew in 1879, where over 800 of her paintings are still displayed today.
Other Community Art Projects I have led:
Telling Your Story – Culture Shift
My Other Knitted Banners