I was delighted to be commissioned to create a series of permanent artworks for the new Barratt development Riverdown Park and the adjoining Country Park situated in Laverstock and Ford Parish. The first step for me in these projects is to learn as much as I possibly can about the area the work will be sited in. I want to ensure I create unique work informed by intensive research. So I explore the culture, history and landscape before focusing on my theme to celebrates the location.
For this project I was inspired by:
- The local flora and fauna that will be found in the country park
- Laverstock’s history as an important centre for Medieval tile making
Once I’d settled on these two elements as the theme for the project I reached out to Greentrees Primary School, as I was keen to work with them on the community engagement part of my brief. The Head Teacher and staff were very enthusiastic, and so I started to design a project that would enable me to learn more about the area and allow the school children to take part and create their own artwork which would inspire the eventual permanent artwork.
During my research phase I had visited Wessex Archaeology in Old Sarum, near Salisbury to learn more about the finds that had been discovered from the Riverdown Site. I went back to them to invite their education team to work with the students. I also contacted Jennie from wonderful ‘Wildlife Drawing’ as I was keen for her to work with the students at River Bourne Community Farm drawing the sheep. The idea was for all the students to take part in a workshop with either Wessex Archaeology (learning about the types of plants and animals that were found on the site) OR Wild Life Drawing (learning about the importance of sheep grazing for chalk land wildflowers). The outcome of both workshops would be a silhouette drawing – reflecting the type of artwork found on medieval tiles. These drawings were then brought to the students second creative workshop with Samesky, where they were incorporated into individual handmade lanterns created from willow and tissue paper.
The project culminated with a magical evening lantern parade from the Junior school site to the Infant school site to celebrate the Spring Equinox. Students and parents walked the route together and we met the Infant students in their playground waving the handmade flags I had designed for them. We had hot chocolate, sang ‘This Little Light of Mine’ and the Head Teacher made a wonderful speech.
I am very proud of the event and found it HUGELY informative in the development of the designs for my final artwork for the project. Huge thanks to Greentrees school staff, students and parents, Samesky, Wild Life Drawing, River Bourne Community Farm and Wessex Archaeology. I look forward to sharing the final artwork with you later in the year.
This commission is the result of a S106 public art contribution for the Riverdown Park development from BDW Southern Counties (Barratt Homes). The development and delivery of this commission is overseen by a public art steering group made up of representatives from BDW Southern Counties, art commissioners Studio Response, Laverstock and Ford Parish Council and Wiltshire Council Arts Service. Our blog article in March this year started to tell the story.
Kerry Lemon is an artist creating work in widely diverse contexts and materials including international print, architecture and public art. She interprets and solves problems, using research led drawing to come up with new ways of seeing spaces, objects and environments. Further information can be found at www.kerrylemon.co.uk