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Shugborough Estate blossoms with six new recycled artworks

Six new artworks created using recycled material have been well-received by visitors at Shugborough Estate.

Hattie Lowe, visitor experience officer, taking a closer look
Hattie Lowe, visitor experience officer, taking a closer look

As part of the National Trust’s Blossom Together campaign, community groups in Staffordshire worked with a local artist to create the innovative art installations for the venue outside Stafford.

The creative collaboration, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, has resulted in six pieces, created using sustainable materials, which can be seen around the pleasure grounds, among the historic monuments, gardens and Grade I listed parkland.

Emyr Thomas, Shugborough’s visitor experience officer, said: "I wanted to bring people together to celebrate blossom, and we’ve managed that through collaborative creativity.

The works have been well-received

"I’m glad we’ve been able to offer some wonderful groups in the Stafford area the opportunity to work with a talented local artist.

"I hope visitors enjoy seeing the artwork at Shugborough as much as we’ve enjoyed making it.

"Each person focused on the individual flowers; they had freedom to experiment with the material and change the appearance in the way they wanted to."

Displays were created by community art clubs as part of the National Trust's Blossom Together project

Local artist Debbie Todd, from ProteanArt, hosted art sessions with local community groups to create floral eco-art using recycled materials such as tin cans.

Each participant hand-crafted intricate blooms as part of the framed installations now on display.

Debbie said: "ProteanArt’s ethos is to use sustainable materials and to promote environmental issues, especially the theme of recycling whenever possible.

Blossoms community art displays in Shugborough Estate grounds

"The printed aluminium drink can metal flowers are perfect to make outdoor blossom as they offer so much scope for colour and are weatherproof, yet the shapes capture the delicate nature of the flowers.

"The white frames were designed to be a strong visible outline to contrast the outdoor environment plus frame the blossom, much like a vintage polaroid photograph.

"I was amazed by the enthusiasm of all of the different community groups.

"Each group, old or young was so grateful to be invited and be involved in such a unique project, especially as their work was going to be a part of something much bigger and be displayed in such a public place."

Participants from various community groups took part in the project including AU-SUMS, a Staffordshire based support group for children and young people diagnosed with autistic spectrum conditions.

Alex Smith, AU-SUMS coordinator said: "Wow, what great fun we all had at ProteanArt making the drinks can flowers.

"AU-SUMS members were soon making beautiful blossoms and having great fun.

"It was so inspiring for all of us to be part of such a wonderful community art project.

"We can't wait to visit Shugborough to see the artwork displayed."

Other groups involved included Stafford Walking Netball, Plastic Free Rugeley, Beacon Friendship Group at Sandon Baptist Church, North Star Explorer Scout Unit, 23rd Stafford Guides, King Edward VI High School and Stafford Manor High School.

The project is part of the National Trust’s Blossom Together campaign, which aims to connect communities to nature through participatory events and tree planting. The campaign was awarded funding by Postcode Earth Trust.

Visitors can see the six art installations from now until Sunday June 5, as part of the estate’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

The installations draw attention to blossom trees across the historic estate and have been described as a beautiful addition and a great talking point.

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