October 25th 2021

Boundary Way Project For Wolverhampton Open Studios

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As part of this year's Wolverhampton Artists Open Studios weekend, Boundary Way Project showcased creative projects that we have developed since lockdown. We were delighted to be back on-site and the day gave visitors the opportunity to explore the community garden at Boundary Way Allotments and take a look at some of the creative work that has been produced.

Work on display on the day included postcards by Boundary Way Botanical INKollective, Sustainable Floristry by Gretel Cooper and poetry by Boundary Way Writer's Group ... and much more. 

The centrepiece of the exhibition was created by Boundary Way plot holder and sustainable florist Gretel Cooper, who has been increasingly inspired by the work of the innovative, female florist Constance Spry. The display bought autumn colour and a natural wow factor into the brimming exhibition, whilst also showing that seasonal, locally sourced floristry is the future.

Floristry wasn't the only showcase of using seasonal flora and fauna, with postcards on display from the Botanical INKollective and a display of allotment award winning botanical inks and samples from artist Carolyn Morton. A collective that was created during lockdown in collaboration with Carolyn Morton, the group runs for anyone would like to make inks from plants and explore the results with others. An exciting, sustainable-minded medium with beautiful outcomes, we were delighted to share some of the art postcards created with botanical inks during the collective's summer postcard exchange and showcase the work of this group of passionate makers. Carolyn was able to join us on the day and as one of the driving forces behind the collective, she shared her knowledge with our intrigued visitors.

To keep the intrigue alive, we decided that for this exhibition we would use the whole poly tunnel space, which runs right down to the back where there is a section of raised beds. With plot holders willing to share their 'inside plots' for the day, we were so pleased to be able to integrate artwork and poetry from the last 18 months within the beds and draw people around the poly tunnel to appreciate the wholeness of the growing space. Amongst the foliage, hand-presented poetry from the Boundary Way Writer's Group, another group which was formed during lockdown, was shared in the environment much of it was inspired by. The Writer's Group meets online once a month, writing on green themes and often taking inspiration from imagery from Boundary Way Allotments and Community Garden. Thank you to the writers who shared their work with us, our visitors loved reading it and discovering them amongst the plants.

Also nestled in the raised beds was a speaker playing the audios of all of our commissioned poems from 2020 onwards - including the Postcards from the Plot Project, Winter Wonder Project and Masala Chai Project. It was great to see visitors wander to the end of the poly tunnel to discover the multi-sensory poetry experience.

The Masala Chai project has been one that has grown with artist Kom Achall, culminating in commissioned poetry and a sharing event. Our exhibition featured a Masala Chai table exhibiting the spices used in this traditional, warming drink and commissioned poetry was also displayed from Kuli Kohli, Parveen Brigue and Serina Achall. Kom also provided us with colourful saris to decorate the exhibition, creating impact and reflecting the work of the project.

Colour came in abundance with the work of local artist Sally Deegan, who has found inspiration in Boundary Way Allotment, her own allotment and nature in the past year. We were delighted that Sally was able to exhibit her work on a site where some of her inspiration had first struck. Some of our favourite pieces feature structures from our site, such as Barry's shed, framed in inventive ways using everything from discarded windows to rusty bin lids. Sally's work fit perfectly into our setting and visitors delighted in chatting to her and viewing the work on display.

Finally, we were so pleased to be able to showcase our work with Pennfields School and artist Hannah Ayre, which took place in the form of a virtual artist's residency at the end of last year. The residency was created to support creative learning, encourage pupils to connect with nature and support wellbeing during a challenging year. Plans to host an onsite residency with Hannah in the Autumn were adapted due to local lockdown, and Hannah was instead beamed into the classroom to teach nature inspired art techniques such as cyanotypes and nature mandalas. Teacher Shelley Cooper was able to provide images of the cynaotypes, clay work and sketchbooks by the pupils for our exhibition and it was so nice to see parents and students attending to see their work on show.

We had a magical day sharing our work that has been taking place since lockdown as part of Wolverhampton Open Studios. Thank you to everyone who made this event possible and to all who visited. This event and the work showcased was all made possible thanks to funding from Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.