My work always begins with drawing, so I am delighted this summer to have been offered the opportunity to be Artist in Residence at Snowshill Manor; my absolute favorite and the most fascinating National Trust property in the stunning Cotswold countryside, near Broadway, Worcestershire.
My objective initially is to study the flora in the beautiful garden. The garden’s terraces and rooms were originally designed by M. H. Baillie-Scott under the direction of the owner Charles Wade, who lived in the Priest’s House adjacent to the Manor. They are now being given renewed life and interpretation through the creativity and hard work of gardeners Vicky, James and Dorcas with their dedicated team of volunteers. As I visit weekly I am becoming increasingly fascinated with the collection of Mr Wade, housed in the Manor itself. I am ruminating on the creative possibilities that the collection itself holds.
During the spring and summer I am often to be found in a garden, a meadow or on the Malvern Hills drawing plants and flowers, building up a portfolio of drawings from which to work during the winter months. These plants might be architecturally striking and magnificent ornamental blooms, common wallflowers or weeds; I find them all captivating.
“Plants are like people; some demand to be seen with huge bold waxy flowers in gaudy colours, they dominate their setting and compromise everything that surrounds them. Others are weeds with tiny delicate blooms, clinging to an existence in the cracked paving, there by chance, breath-taking in their fragility and vulnerability.”
I often find a starting point in a poem or piece of literature that sets its scene in the natural world. I am interested in our relationships with gardens, how visiting, creating and tending them often becomes cathartic, as equally is the work that gardens inspire.
“I am very affected by the transients of the seasons. My soul hibernates in winter when the ephemeral flora recedes to the earth. I wait, with pent-up expectation, for the new spring to burst forth. Each year I revel and soar with Spring’s new growth, but this joy is always tinged with a hopeless knowledge that in time ‘the green thoughts and the green shades’ will wither again and die. I find a sublime beauty in this eternal cycle.”
Please click on the link below to find details and directions to Snowshill Manor…