This project grew from an ongoing collaboration between Wem Youth Club, local artists, Shropshire Wildlife Trust and Natural England. A group of children aged 7-16 years from Wem Youth Club made visits to Whixall Moss with artists Sue Challis, Kate Johnston and Andrew Howe, and Anna Martin and Phil Playford from Shropshire Wildlife Trust. They explored and learnt about the Mosses, and created artworks which they continued to work on at the Youth Club in workshops.
This resulted in three 7m long canvas banners, printed, painted and worked on by Youth Club members and a number of other prints and drawings. The banners were displayed back at Whixall Moss Mammoth viewing platform. The artworks, photographs of the children at work plus some work made by the collaborating artists featured in an exhibition at Wem Town Hall in September/October 2021.
Read more about the project in the blog here, and watch a short film about the project produced by MediaActive Projects CIC below:
The work has been funded by Arts Council England under the Mosses and Marshes project led by Andrew Howe and Kim V. Goldsmith. The project was also supported by the BogLIFE project which aims to restore the Mosses, and to support people in understanding their importance. Peatlands are one of the rarest and most precious habitats on earth. Over 80% of peatbogs in the UK have been damaged, including the Marches Mosses here at Whixall. BogLIFE is funded by an EU LIFE grant, and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Some images from the exhibition at Wem Town Hall
WEM YOUTH CLUB with Kate Johnston, Sue Challis and Andrew Howe
Three 7m long banners incorporate canvas and other fabric painted or dyed using peat and other natural materials gathered at the Moss, eco-printed fabric and cyanotype printing.
Sphagnum Moss, 2021
Bog Body, 2021
Oil on canvas
Linocut prints, 2021
Linocut prints of Fenn’s Old Works and peat cut landscape at Whixall Moss using peat ink
From a series of prints inspired by wildlife and human-made structures and objects found at Whixall Moss