Barnsdale Winter Gardens

Last month a few students from foundation visited Barnsdale Winter Gardens, near Oakham, to discuss undertaking a commission. We got to see the winter border, the area where the sculptures would be positioned, and chat with the gardeners about what they were looking for. Ultimately the brief is very open-ended but it was suggested that the sculptures need to ‘fit’ in the setting and appeal to the tastes of the visitors to the gardens (mostly older, retired people.)
Barnsdale Gardens is a collection of smaller gardens representing a variety of plot types and locations e.g. cottage garden, school garden, winter garden etc. It was set up by Geoff Hamilton 20 years ago as a way of educating and inspiring gardeners around the country, alongside his his role as presenter of BBC TV show Gardener’s World. He was a champion of recycling and re-purposing within the garden and ahead of his time in terms of environmentally friendly thinking. This factor will be an important consideration when designing. I have also begun making notes and sketches of concepts related to it being a winter garden.
After some thought about commitments I have decided to undertake this Barnsdale commission as part of my FMP. This is because I hope to also be working on some other sculptural work for an event that takes place in the summer. I am inspired by the work of Assemble, a collective of architects who recently won The Turner Prize and have also recently been thinking about my hopes for working within community arts in the future so it seems logical to make this the basis for my FMP.


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