Blog, Exhibitions, Features, Uncategorized

Chelsea Flower Show

I was lucky enough to attend The Royal Horticultural’s Chelsea Flower show this week. I got there at 8am, opening time and headed for my favourite section The Artisan gardens. I am not going to write about the large corporate sponsored gardens as so much has been written by others about them. Instead I am going to talk ARTISAN

Three gardens particularly stood out, The Finnish Summer Garden that was inspired by the biodiversity of Finnish Meadows and Woodland. The garden was designed by Taina Suonio a Finnish landscape designer, horticulturalist, environmental biologist and researcher in the Fifth Dimension- Green Roofs in Urban Areas research group.

The garden comprises clear Nordic lines and includes a 100 year old weather beaten barn wall made of granite. The cascading water feature reminds visitors to the garden about the relationship the Finns have with their roots in the country and the much-cherished respite by their countless lake-side, riverside and seaside cottages. The garden included many Finnish forest flowers and herbs.

The Donkey Sanctuary Garden celebrated the 50 years of transforming the lives of Donkeys. The designers were Annie Prebensen and Christina Williams.” We have a real fondness and appreciation for these hard The working animals, so were delighted to be asked by The Donkey Sanctury to design an Artisan Garden to explain ‘why donkeys matter’ The garden demonstrates how owning a donkey means access to clean, fresh water for some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world. Set in an arid location a shelter near a well provides some shade. A dripping bucket hangs above the well and colourful planting surrounds it. The planting in the garden includes plants typical of dry regions, including Eryngium bourgatii, Iris germanica and Lavendula angustfolia. The colour palette is claret, purple and silver

The Camfed Campaign for Female Education won the Artisan Garden Gold Medal.

The designer of the garden is Jilayne Rickards

‘ I wanted the garden to reflect CAMFED’s strong commitment to supporting girls in eduction and the vibrancy of rural communities in Zimbabwe. It is a powerful message of how, by educating girls, we can tackle gender inequality and poverty, and break the cycle of poverty for good.’

At the heart of the garden is a classroom which is surrounded by plants and trees and edible fruit, leaves and roots that provide vital nutrition, particularly for mothers and school children.

The crops, which have been developed by scientists backed by UK aid, are also enriched with key vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A and iron, to tackle “hidden hunger” in developing countries. 

The plants include bio fortified varieties of maize, beans and sweet potatoes and are in a garden which, unusually for Chelsea, evokes a rural Zimbabwean school yard – complete with dusty red earth, a black chalkboard and orange trees. 

If like me you are interested in craft and design there are some first class designers showing in the artisan section of the show. There is a Dyers Studio set up by ex RCA student Lola Lely. She uses plants and natural materials to create dyes, pigments and paints.

Lola Laly setting up the studio

Charlie Whinney Wood & Steam celebrates what is possible using locally sourced green wood and eco-friendly steam-bending processes to create beautiful works that enrich your life.

Ceramic artist Corrie Bain is a British ceramicist based in Barcelona . she studied ceramics at Edinburgh college of Art. Her ceramics are inspired by microscopic imagery of seed pods, pollen and fractals. They are made from hand built porcelain clay.

From the Seed Pod collection

Botanicla, Applique Artist Natasha Hulse creates handmade fabric artworks for interior products such as bedheads lamps and cushions. She celebrates the beauty and phenomena of Flora found in British Woodlands, English gardens and the effect that nature has on us in our home.

Part of a head board by Natasha Hulse Design
Alitex Green House styled by Selina Lake

As well as the artisan sections, one of the other visual joys of the show was the Alitex green house styled by Selina Lake. She always designs her spaces to feel like somewhere you want to spend time.

My all time favourite, innovative and very comfortable seats in a variety of designs by Cacoon are on sale. Every season their chief designer Nick McDonald comes up with new designs, so watch this space.

As I finish writing this piece, I must not forget the Chelsea Pensioners who are still very much in evidence in their smart red uniforms.

The show is still on and the weather is good. so if you can get in, do go and visit.

Uncategorized

A Russian Garden created from recycled bottles.

Photo 30-06-2017, 08 07 31 Valentina Karelina and Yury Karelin are the parents of a very creative  friend of mine. She happened to mention that her parents had created a garden out of plastic bottles.  As a lover of all things recycled, I asked if she would send me some images, and  let me interview her.

Where do your parents live ?

They live in a small rural Russian town about 250 km  from Moscow. The population is approximately 30,000 but is dwindling as young people are moving away to cities where there are more job opportunities. The summers are hot between 20-30C whilst  the winters are cold minus 15-30C.

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What gave them the idea to create this magical garden?

The overwhelming amount of plastic that was being thrown away  and the desire to do something  creative and fun during long winter evenings. They mostly make everything out of plastic in winter and then put their art out into their 4 acre garden, in the  spring.

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Does Russia have a big waste problem like we do in the UK? 

Russia, has a big waste problem and because there are vast swathes of forest going on for thousand of miles,  the plastic rubbish is often just dumped  in the middle of them.

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Where did they find all the items to create the garden and how much has it cost to put the whole thing together?

They collect bottles from their friends and relatives.  All the plastic is basically  empty discarded bottles, caps, buckets etc. It’s labour intensive but not expensive. When one has the desire to create you  don’t notice how much time you spend on it, as you  enjoy it so much!

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Have they painted the bottles? If so what with?

They spray paint the  inside of the bottles so the paint doesn’t wash out during the rainy season.

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Do they use  a mixture of painted and non-painted?

Yes, if the bottle is lets say green then they leave it as it is. For instance  they are currently doing a flower bouquet from bottles hence green is very relevant. If the bottle is clear plastic then they paint it.

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How long did it take to put together? Is it still ongoing? They started 3 years ago and they make new pieces all the time!

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Thank you 

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Uncategorized

Breathing Colour by Hella Jongerius

 

A series of newly commissioned installations, exploring our perceptions and connections to colour. Research, art and design combine in works that challenge the modern industrialization of colour.

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Drawing on 15 years of research, acclaimed designer Hella Jongerius presents Breathing Colour: an installation-based exhibition that takes a deeper look at how colour behaves.

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Jonerius’ research has been inspired by a wide range of sources. These include painters, who recognized and recorded how light affects objects. For example Monet who painted the same haystack over and over to document the different colours and atmospheres at different times of day.

Breathing Colour creates an exhibition that blurs the boundaries between art and design. Combining intriguing shapes with extensive research: the exhibition questions our preconceptions of colour and embraces its imperfections and experimentation.

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Hella Jongerius explains:

‘There is a phenomenon  in colorimetry called Metamerism. This was the starting point of my colour research. It occurs when colours are viewed in different conditions, and describes the effect when two colours appear to match even though they might not actually do. I think everyone once bought a piece of furniture or clothingin a certain colour, and experienced a shock when unpacking it back at home. Most companies see the effect as problematic and try to avoid it, and produce colours that attempt to eliminate it. But I want to make a plea for embracing metamerism. As a designer, I want to make a plea for plastics, varnishes and paints to use layered pigments that provide intense colours that are allowed to breathe with changing light.’IMG_1341.jpg

The exhibition is divided into separate spaces that simulate daylight conditions at specific times of day-morning-noon and evening. These three phases explore the impact of changing daylight on our perception of colour. Each installation includes a series of 3D objects as well as textiles. Some of which are hand-woven while others are produced on industrial looms.

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Large –scale textiles experiment in creating black tones without the use of black materials. Woven from woolen, linen and cotton threads, these textiles are an extension of Jongerius’ previous research into the colour

Black and her rejection of the standard industrial approach, to adding carbon to colours in order to darken them.IMG_1377.jpg

Where colours were once produced by mixing pigments into infinite permutations, we now select them according to a name on a chart.

Jongerius argues that these processes of industrialization have narrowed our experience of colour and its cultural meanings. Breathing Colour explores how we relate to colour in a more intimate and personal way.

At The Design Museum 224-238 Kensington High Street London W8 6AG

28th June – 24th September 2017

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