The arts and nature trail changes each time I visit, sometimes standing out on a bleak day as the clouds set in, other times glinting in the sunshine or hidden by green folliage. I'm delighted that there is a podcast that can be listened to and downloaded, so that you can hear more about the objects that you'll see along the walk.
Our arts and nature trail is up. The work that everyone had done was wonderful, and as we enjoyed a lovely early spring day, the work looked quirky, dazzling, discreet, subtle, and beautiful. I've now attached some information that Paul has written for anyone interested in wandering our trail. This will be made much more attractive by the addition of some of Oona's wonderful photo's of the objects. I'm going to attach a few here so you can see some of the work.
I'll also be uploading a podcast so that if you like to you can listen and walk. We're still working on this element though so give us a little time for editing and recording.
In the meantime, please do enjoy the work - pom poms, giant nests, glittering birds and all - oh and who said fish can't fly!
It's time to plan your diaries for the arts and ecology workshops taking place in February. After our amazing canalside walk, we're all inspired and keen to start creating small arts objects inspired by nature to slot into the natural scenes along Smethwick's canal. Come join us for free arts & ecology workshops taking place at Smethwick Library on:
12.30 - 3.30pm, Sunday 13th February
12.30 - 3.30pm, Sunday 20th February
12.30 - 3.30pm, Sunday 27th February
Our Grand Finale will be on Sunday 6th March, with a walk to plant our creative inventions! Join us for all or one of sessions, all workshops are free to attend and there is no charge for materials.
Thursday 11th November
We could only have asked for it to be a few degrees warmer as we set off in the sunshine for our nature/ arts trail. We were exploring what nature existed in our 1mile2 of inner city Smethwick and to see if we could produce some guerrilla art to complement nature. We started in the neat grounds of the Galton Bridge Heritage Centre and then wandered along the canal up the embankment.
We learnt a lot – if you grab a nettle it won’t sting you, if you brush it gently, it really hurts! That plant’s are amazingly durable and will grow anywhere – if you see moss and lichens and they look quite bouffant (not the term used by Paul from the Wildlife Trust, I hasten to add), it means that the air is clean. Mmmm, I wonder if that explains why I rarely see moss or lichen round London way! It also made me realise that if you have someone with knowledge you can learn an incredible amount about our planet in a short space of time – thanks Paul - although I’m still confused about why there are black and white Hawthorne trees – when they both have white flowers on!
What I found fascinating was that as a culturally mixed group, each person brought different knowledge and uses for so many of the plants that we saw. It meant that we were learning about the many different ways that one plant might be used or enjoyed, which made the walk so much richer, having multiple insights and perspectives. It was great knowing what a Sikh family might use to flavour something, or that Lilac is a common tree in Afghanistan and Pakistan too.
We came up with some great ideas for our guerrilla arts project too. There’s to many to go into detail here, but here are a few that we pulled together with Mel – our artist:
We saw an incredible heron – are their wing spans big or what! - so we thought we should make a willow heron somewhere along our walk.
We thought that the moss and lichens on the canal side looked like they could be crocheted or knitted, so we might do just that!
There was a pear tree growing on the embankment that apparently had loads of fruit this year – so maybe we’ll do some golden pears (no, not real, we’re not funded by an investment bank!) and see how long they last before being picked.
We found a tiny nest, incredible in its detail, and wondered what it would be like to live in one, so we’re making one! Won’t live in it though, what with not being a bird, we think it’ll be a bit cold – and smelly.
We liked the idea of there being metal creatures, birds, insects - we saw a dragon fly, robin, crows (don’t like them, ever since I read I’m the king of the Castle by Susan Hill – and believe me that was a long, long time ago) and beetles.
So, if you’d like to join us as we make all of the above, then come to Smethwick Library, we’ll be there Sundays in February, with a final walk to position our guerrilla art in March.
Friday 10th November
Really looking forward to our Arts & Nature trail this weekend, Sunday 12 noon, from Galton Valley Canal Heritage Centre. We'll have a guided tour by Paul from the Wildlife Trust and work with Mel Tomlinson contemplating what guerilla art we'll be working on in the Spring.
Everyone welcome, so do please join us.