What if we were to live and create using only materials locally available to us?
Gatherers is a digital and physical exhibition by OmVed Gardens, Thrown and Metafleur. The exhibition showcases a group of artists with distinctive connections to their materials.
Foraged, dug, cut and collected, the materials used by the artists and makers are not just about form, but are a way of exploring their surroundings; unique stories revolving around a sense of place.
Using the medium of ceramics as a starting point, the exhibition includes wild clay projects that stretch from Tambourine Mountain, Australia, right back to OmVed Gardens itself. Slate and gorse from North Wales are combined with clay in a collection titled ‘The Gold Beneath the Gorse’ by award-winning graduate Rhiannon Gwyn, while the partnership of artists Steph Buttle and Tim Gray presents the collection ‘Unessential Items’, a series of sculptures inspired and formed by storm-revealed root balls, “all those hidden tendrils suddenly discovered and looking mysterious”, found on the Dorset coast.
The ceramic work and exhibition content will be further expanded with foraged floral displays from Metafleur flower studio. This will include an intertwined collaborative wild garden installation by Metafleur’s founder Alice McCabe and ceramicist Zuleika Melluish on the central stage. With Alice’s usual suppliers suspended, Metafleur uses solely flowers dried from previous events together with materials from friends offcuts and materials.
Originally part of the Chelsea Fringe Festival, and due to open during lockdown, the exhibition will exist in the digital sphere to begin with, enabling guests to experience foraged art through Virtual Reality, online workshops, film and photography.
As the United Kingdom begins to re-emerge following the lifting of restrictions, the exhibition will slowly take form physically, with members of the public invited to OmVed Gardens in line with government guidelines. This could be in three weeks or three months. Like the works on display and the state of society, the exhibition’s path will be improvised as it progresses, an on-going experiment of sorts.
A link to the exhibition website can be found here:
My work in the show
My work is an experiment with London clay Harvested from the OmVed gardens site and a response to the social history of the Highgate area. Having started using clay dug from my own back garden in Brockley, South London, I have become fascinated with wild clay and the opportunities to use foraged elements within my work.
“I use a lot of found and donated materials in my practice, I dig local clays for the clay body mixes, slip decoration and combine them with ash from organic sources such as trees, shrubs and plants to make my glazes. This ‘homemade’ approach contributes to the narratives within my work and naturally discusses the relationships between objects, people and place.”
For this exhibition, I began to dig for clay at OmVed Gardens, aiming to create work made solely from materials from the exhibition site itself. In January 2020, I along with friend and potter Charles Olive travelled to OmVed in search for wild clay and, on finding it there, dug a trench in the garden. I have devoted myself to the project ever since.
In March 2020, having processed and explored the characteristics of the local and other materials sourced for my work from the site, my work was unfortunately put on pause due to the coronavirus lockdown.
many pieces of work for this exhibition currently sit ready to be finished in my studio. Luckily throughout the whole process documentary maker Tom Broadhead had been documenting the process of the project through video and interview sessions. He has managed to put together selection of interviews, photographs and video footage so that you can get a feel for the proejct so far.
A link to my page on the exhibition website with all of Tom's fantastic documentary is here:
A link to the documentary made by Tom Broadhead can be found here:
OmVed Gardens is an urban greenscape nestled behind Highgate High Street. Until recently a wounded and tarmacked wasteland, it is being transformed into a diverse habitat with a wildflower meadow, an orchard and a vegetable garden.
Through collaboration with artists, architects, chefs, musicians and horticulturalists we are exploring the nature of the relationship between people and our connection to the environment.
This is the second collaborative exhibition between OmVed Gardens and Thrown for the Chelsea Fringe. See gallery below for images from last year’s exhibition, From this Land.
More info on OmVed Gardens at omvedgardens.com.
Thrown was established in March 2018 in response to the current uprising of ceramics within contemporary art. Fascinated by this age of alternative mediums, the gallery seeks out distinctive contemporary art in its many forms with a particular focus on the creativity currently turning to clay. The gallery represents internationally acclaimed names alongside emerging talent, providing a much-needed platform for makers finding their identity as artists.
The gallery was set up by gallery director Claire Pearce who has been working in galleries since graduating from a degree in Architecture in 2010. Five years spent in St Ives, Cornwall, first introduced her to ceramics as an art form, which has been a passion ever since.
Metafleur is a floral design studio based in London, creating large-scale floral installations for events and commissions alongside dried flower arrangements for offices.
Focus is placed on collaboration with client, research of selected materials and increasing project sustainability so that designs are realised with precision and environmental responsibility.
Director Alice McCabe has over fifteen years experience working as a florist and three running her own floral art company both creating installations and offering technical assistance to contemporary artists wishing to work with flowers.