Tuesday, 10 March 2015

An Anniversary of Sharing Nature & Art

An anniversary has crept up on me that I hadn't even realised was occurring until I was getting ready for my first workshop of 2015 with the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.

It was 10 years ago that I first started teaching botanical and natural history art workshops for them. Opportunities for lifelong learning were occurring not only in colleges but within other organisations and the HIOWWT took this on board and started to provide a wide variety of courses and workshops.  Not just those that enhance professional development in the field of conservation, but those that appealed to a variety of members and non-members.  Subjects ranged from photography, species id, willow weaving and sculpture and now include bush craft and pond-dipping for adults !

Back in 2006

Now, teaching botanical and natural history art is my main occupation, but back in 2005 I was studying for my ecology and conservation biology degree which meant that I also had the chance to spend time volunteering with the Trust at their Swanwick Lakes Nature Reserve.  When I then finished my degree and worked in consultancy, I still taught workshops for HIOWWT when I could.

2006 - drawing and painting fungi

All through this time the thing I enjoy most is opening up the natural world to people.  Through art you can really spend time and look at something and marvel in its construction, growth habit, beauty, colours - the list goes on !  I know one comment that often comes up from people that have attended the workshops is, that they observe and notice so much more when they are out on one of the reserves or even just going for a walk in their local patch.  As well as that they are picking up additional skills in the field of art and natural history and understanding the important conservation and land management work that the HIOWWT is involved in.

Before I show you a selection of pictures from the last 10 years, I would like to say a huge thank you to all of the staff that have supported and encouraged me during that time, especially the Swanwick Lakes team and the staff at HIOWWT head office, who take care of co-ordinating the many workshops and the bookings.  I would especially like to say thank you to the many people that have attended the workshops, some of whom still come along and had attended the very first course I taught in 2005.

For more information on HIOWWT courses go to: http://www.hiwwt.org.uk/courses

The Swanwick Lakes Team - in 2011 at the opening of the Natural Year at Swanwick Lakes Art Exhibition

Making natural pigments

The launch day of the Swanwick Lakes Artist in Residence year 2010 - 2011

Christina Hart-Davies and I.  Christina opened the exhibition for me

The Natural Year Art Exhibition preview evening

A Brush with Nature workshop at Testwood Lakes Nature Reserve

Drawing and Painting Birds at Testwood Lakes

Some of the wonderful artwork produced during the workshops