33,000 Miles

33,000 miles – Art exhibition to coincide with Devon Hedge Week.

14/10/11 – 30/10/11

Click HERE to see the exhibition

Scorpion fly detail, Devon Hedgerow
Scorpion fly detail, Devon Hedgerow

Hedgerows are the most significant wildlife habitat over large stretches of lowland UK and are an essential refuge for a great many woodland and farmland plants and animals.” Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

Devon has more hedges remaining than any other county in the UK. It is estimated that there are 53,000 km (33,000 miles) of hedge still in the county, and that we have about 20% of all the species-rich hedges left in the UK.

Hedgerows are the principal habitat for around 50 existing species of conservation concern in the UK, including 13 globally threatened or rapidly declining species (more than for most other key habitats). They are particularly important for butterflies and moths, farmland birds, bats and dormice.

Over 600 plant species, 1500 insects, 65 birds and 20 mammals have been recorded at some time living or feeding in hedgerows. Over 100 species of invertebrates can be found in a typical 20-metre section of hedgerow.

Hedgerows also act as wildlife corridors for many species, including reptiles and amphibians, allowing movement between other habitats. With modern farming practices fields can be barren deserts; hedgerows often afford the only cover for wildlife over huge areas of countryside.

WOW! Clearly hedgerows are important!

Did you know that there is such a thing as Devon Hedge Week?? This is at the end of October and is an opportunity to celebrate and learn about our hedgerows.

As my artwork is predominately about the environment – valuing the local and easily overlooked ecosystems; a celebration of the potency of nature; and observations of how we interact with the environment – it was a no brainer that hedgerows are something I need to look into further.

Since the beginning of the year (in between all my other commitments) I have been developing new work inspired by Devon hedgerows. I shall now be adding views of the making of these artworks on the Work in Progress here on my website. I shall also be putting the occasional news flash on my facebook page. These prints will NOT be made available for sale in my Etsy Shop until after Exeter Open Studios – if at all!

But my bright idea wasn’t just to create new artwork around the theme of Devon Hedgerows, but to get other artists involved to show with me at an exhibition at the RedEarth Gallery, Bickleigh, that will coincide with Devon Hedge Week and to include educational workshops. I deliberately sought out artists from different disciplines and craft forms who were already interested in this subject area.

I was extremely luck to find such wonderful artists, and even. more blessed that they all agreed to show with me. Although I have put in a grant application for some funding and have my fingers tightly crossed, there is the expectation that we will all have to dig into our own pockets to cover the costs of the venue and everything.

First artists to come on board was the wonderfully sensitive sculptor – James Bond. When he’s not creating mega community projects involving chainsaws, machetes and disaffected youth, he can be found  casting wood shavings, twigs and feathers found on walks. These are often cast in recylcled brass and form memorial pieces. http://www.favouritewalkmemorials.com/carvingcommunity/carvingcommunity.html

Second artist joining us was Helen Bamber, who is already known for her botanically accurate representations of lichen made in textiles. She has embraced the project with great enthusiasm despite being in the middle of moving house. http://www.helenbambertextiles.com/

Next was ceramic artist Clare Mahoney. Clare also has a long standing interest in small hedgerow flora and fauna – just waiting for the excuse to indulge in some major hedgerow casts.  http://www.crmceramics.co.uk/

Photographer Robert Darch has a diverse practice of documentary landscape photography and film making. A running theme throughout his work is mans’ relationship with the natural environment. He also show the sensitivity to his subject, which is a common defining attribute of the group as a whole.   http://robertdarch.com/

Sarah Morgan’s drypoints are all about sensitivity. Her focus on the invertebrates and small wildlife was precisely what was needed top give a full picture of the whole diversity of these essential habitats.

I shall be reporting about how this project is developing as we go along.

Comments are welcome on my facebook page.

And if you go to the Work in Progress page you will see glimpses of my work being created. Pictures of the finished artwork will be published in the Hedgerows Portfolio after the exhibition!

For more about 33,000 miles see here and here