Work starts on community art project

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The Gardeners’ House Penzance has started working with the community on an art project which will inspire installations for its new sensory garden.

Artists Jane Darke and Andrew Tebbs will be working with Penzance community groups over the next 12 months on a series of workshops, helping them to create designs inspired by the project’s rich archives.

Local craftspeople will then be commissioned to recreate these designs in stone, metal and wood that will feature in the sensory garden.

Celebrating the natural environment – as well as keeping a record of the horticulture and botany of west Cornwall stretching back for many years – the Gardeners’ House will see the refurbishment of a dilapidated building in the heart of Morrab Gardens at the centre of Penzance.

Darke said: “We have begun working with a group of Penzance residents at Richmond House using a variety of materials and techniques. The first workshop included pressing seaweeds and wildflowers and drawing plants from life. The plants were left in the presses for a month and then opened at the following workshop for mounting and framing. These completed works will be included in an exhibition at the completion of the project.

“Each artist has been given a portfolio to store the drawings and designs made over the next year. These designs will be translated by skilled craft workers for inclusion in the hard landscaping of the new sensory garden, along with some of the original work made in the clay and mosaic workshops to come, all managed by Andrew Tebbs and I.”

Work to clear the existing space of any excess vegetation and to find new homes for some of the plants in other areas of Morrab Gardens has already begun.

The sensory garden, made possible by funding from the Tanner Phoenix Trust,will be created between the Gardeners’ House and Pengarth Day Centre. It will give a tranquil safe space where people can reconnect with nature and hopes to enhance the lives of older people, particularly those living with dementia.

The Gardeners’ House, a charity based in Penzance, received £2.2 million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, as well as a grant of £896k from the Penzance Town Deal fund to help realise their vision.