Some blooming lovely times in Space to Be

This year, we are very much focusing on the gardens around our gallery, and as well as being inspired by all things flora and fauna, we are hoping that it helps our groups to learn something more about our collection, connect us with nature and create something meaningful that might possibly teach us something about climate change in Scarborough.

Creating an herbarium
Katie has been working with our Tuesday group to create book plates for our very own herbarium. The bookplate will help us to organise our studies within a handmade book, so that we can document the flora we find around the pond area of the gardens.

When Jim, visited with the Victorian herbarium, this really helped to consolidate the idea and helped to put the vision into context. The Tuesday group, young people from the Personalised Learning College and Cross Lane Hospital are now busy documenting flowers and foliage around the pond, using various print methods, photography and watercolours. Katie has also been sharing her knowledge of botanical artist, Mary Delaney who was a bit of a pioneer when it came to creating stunning art from recycled papers!

We are using up resources that have been donated to Space to Be, rather than buying new materials. We want to signal to our groups that we are thinking more ethically about the choices we are making when we create art, but we know some of the materials we are using are not great for the environment. We will make sure that our herbarium is so beautiful that it has longevity and will hopefully become an archive and a useful document of our times to offset this dilemma. In the meantime, we will also have conversations with our groups about alternative materials for making art, and how we take these ideas forward.

Until we have created the herbarium, we will not know what it will tell us about climate, but we think we might learn something about what species are here now, what species might be missing and when plants are flowering.

Earlier this year, we had four wonderful weeks with ceramicist, Ammie Flexen and technician, Izzie. They wanted to learn more about how Space to Be creates a safe experience through creative acts, as they set up a similar space in West Yorkshire. Both Ammie and Izzie are really interested in how to balance creative practice with sustainable practice, and ceramics is challenging in that respect. Our conversations will help us all to think about how we respond to nature, not just creatively, but responsibly.

Mick, from Friends of Valley Gardens has donated lots of seeds and we will be encouraging families to pot up some seeds during the summer holidays, and to share pictures of their blooms as they grow.

We are envisaging that some of this work will take us into next year and beyond, when we begin to look at bugs.  It would be lovely to think that we might be able to make more use of our gardens for creativity and wellbeing.

We do have some challenges, of course. The gardens are not very accessible and for our groups that conversation is as vital as the environment. Watch this Space as we venture outside and ask questions…