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The Gardeners’ House Penzance starts work on community art project for our new sensory garden

The Gardeners' House Penzance have started working with the community on an art project which will be used for installations in their new sensory gardens.

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 illustrations from 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.

The Sensory Garden, made possible by generous 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 project will also create a home for a unique archive of documents, books and illustrations. The ‘living archive’ collection will be made accessible to the public for the first time and highlights the history of Cornwall's natural heritage – and this fascinating archive will be used throughout the workshops to inspire creativity.

Artist Jane 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 wild flowers 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.

She added: “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.”

Connecting people, planet and place, the renovated building will become an important centre for the community, helping to improve mental and physical wellbeing. The renovated building will become a home to wellbeing workshops, green community projects and a sensory garden.

Miki Ashton, Project Coordinator for The Gardeners’ House said: “The sensory garden art project plays such an important role in tying the whole Gardeners’ House project and our objectives together.

She added: “It will be a wonderful inclusive space with these collaborative artworks creating a welcoming gateway by telling its story and sparking the curiosity of users and visitors to what they might find inside the building itself. The designs will be imagined and brought to life by the very community that will be using the spaces, making the Gardeners' House feel truly their own from day one”.

The project will continue across the next year – the next workshops will be with St Mary's School and Pengower House, working with clay to produce tiles for the Sensory Garden walls.

The Gardeners’ House, a charity based in Penzance, received £2.2 million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, as well as a grant of £896,000 from the Penzance Town Deal fund to help realise their vision.


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