Gardens turn into natural art gallery

PUBLISHED: 14:27 18 October 2007 | UPDATED: 21:50 29 May 2010

Ten-year-old Tessa Gibson takes part in the Big Draw – Pic: Michael Boyton

Ten-year-old Tessa Gibson takes part in the Big Draw – Pic: Michael Boyton

VISITORS to the Gardens of Easton Lodge had something to get their creative cogs turning as it held its third annual Big Draw event at the weekend More than 400 people joined in with a rich mixture of artistic activities including art trails, paint cotton

VISITORS to the Gardens of Easton Lodge had something to get their creative cogs turning as it held its third annual Big Draw event at the weekend More than 400 people joined in with a rich mixture of artistic activities including art trails, paint cotton bags, decorated old bicycle wheels and even turned themselves into green energy machines, all run by professional artists Anne Schwegmann-Fielding, Kiran Chahal and Emmanuel Quartey Papafio.

Catherine Mummery, project co-ordinator for the Gardens of Easton Lodge Trust, said: "The Invitation to Explore Big Draw weekend was all about making connections."

One of the projects was the culmination of work happening in local schools, which involved more than 1000 children from six different schools decorating and displaying cotton reusable carrier bags.

The schools involved were St Mary's Nursery; Great Dunmow Primary; Great Easton Primary; Dunmow St Mary's Primary; Stebbing Primary and the Helena Romanes Secondary.

Pupils had all been asked to look at the themes of trading and faces. Connections were made with the story of the 18th century Ghanian anti-slavery campaigner Cugoano and the modern day Fairtrade movement.

This was part of the Gardens' programme to commemorate the bi-centenary of the abolition of the slave trade.

Decorated bags were hung on the 100-year-old yew gardens' hedges turning that area of the gardens into a natural art gallery.

"Surprisingly enough we have never had to try and hang 1000 cotton bags on a yew hedge before and slightly underestimated the time it would take, we were still hanging bags and sorting event signs as the first visitors arrived on the Saturday," said Ms Mummery.

"The Big Draw projects just seem to get bigger and madder each year," she said, adding, "I really want to pass on my thanks to the amazing hard work put in by all the children and teachers.

"These were not the easiest of themes to look at but they rose to the challenge brilliantly."

The Gardens also launched a new project, a competition that is being run in association with the Campaign for Drawing and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

"We want young people to get inventive and create green machines," said Ms Mummery.

The competition is free to enter and there are some great prizes on offer. To find out more and to download competition details visit the Gardens of Easton Lodge website at www.eastonlodge.co.uk or call 01371 876979. The competition deadline is November 16.

The Gardens of Easton Lodge Trust would like to thank Dunmow Round Table's Cash for Causes scheme for supporting the weekend. The schools' project was also supported by a grant from Awards for All.

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