Eden Unearthed isn’t just something to see, but rather can be an immersive experience that you can actually take part in and “do”. This was demonstrated with a visit recently by some students from Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off The Streets to Eden Unearthed.
It was a wonderful day, led by curator Meredith Kirton and textile artist Lisa Shepherd together the group was helped to collaborate in three installations. Lisa Shepherd took the students through a brief history of how Cyanotype prints were developed, then everyone made a couple of their own prints, contributing one for the installation called Floral Odyssey and keeping the other. "It was heart warming to see the students engage with the process, from the initial outset of collecting specimens from the garden to the reveal of the cyanotype print; they were all thrilled with their results", reflected Ms Shepherd. "One of the students found some flowers in the pressed flower collection that brought back memories of a family member and was really keen to use them in her work. She was very proud of her finished piece and it was a pretty special moment". The students clearly loved collecting the leaves and creating a bespoke nature composition for their own prints.
Meredith Kirton took the students on a tour through the exhibition, discovering some of the deeper meanings behind some of the works. The group also participated in the string art piece called Being Keepers, by Ryoko Kose with Danielle Minetti, taking a roll of crocheted hand dyed red yarn and meandering through the garden to create connections with each other and the garden. She remarked “it was really great to see the students get so much out of the artworks and understand them to a deeper level. Also great fun was weaving our way around Being Keepers together.”
To finish, students mindfully coloured in leaf templates, then added them to the wings of a new installation inspired by International street artist Kelsey Montague. Called the Wings of Eden, the work is a collaborative piece part created by one of our staff members Lanelle Carrusca. Lanelle has drawn a chalk outline of a garden inspired “Angel selfie” which stands guard at the entrance. The work hopes to take on a virtual presence and invites people to step into the picture and become the a heavenly version of themselves, and share what inspires them alongside their photo on social media with the hashtags #WhatLiftsYou #wingsofeden #edencommunity #letyourspiritssoar
Eden Gardens has supported Youth Off The Streets since opening 17 years ago.
Community Engagement Manager Anna Ainsworth reflected, “We were so pleased to be able to, once again, welcome students and staff back to Eden for the workshop with Lisa Shepherd on Thursday. Initially the students were nervous but, once in the garden surrounds, they became creative and involved in the artistic process. By the end of the workshop all were thrilled with what they had created to take home, and to add to the installation at Eden.”
Eden Gardens is involved with a number of charities and community groups and this work aims at engaging everyone: staff, Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off The Streets and local schools, to help craft our own guardian angel with feathers based on leaf forms. There is also a colouring in competition that is being run in conjunction to the work. To get involved contact firstname.lastname@example.org