The Eden Lantern Build Project, 2010
In October 2010 I was offered a commission by the Eden Project to build a large-scale sculptural lantern on-site, and to run two workshops in a local school. The commission was as part of their Time of Gifts festival, which aims to encourage skill-sharing and community participation in the run-up to Christmas. The lantern and the children’s creations were taken through the streets at the St. Austell Torchlight Carnival and then shown again at the Eden Lantern processions at the end of November.
The lantern I created was a giant jellyfish and the project focussed on the rising jellyfish populations in recent years around the coast of the UK. This is due to warming ocean temperatures and changes in interacting ecosystems caused by climate change. I explored these issues with the children during the workshops; at the carnival the children surrounded the lantern with their smaller jellyfish, acting as a fluther. Together we hoped to create further awareness of jellyfish population boom and climate change, throughout the local community and beyond.
Environmental education through arts workshops has been a dedicated part of my practice for some years. I have ran regular educational sessions for the London Wildlife Trust and one-off workshops at festivals such as the Camden Green Fair, as well as working on art education programmes in Ecuador, in the nursery local to where I carried out my research into the cloud forests. As an artist I believe in the importance of working within community and from a grass-roots level to catalyse change. Engaging younger generations in environmental issues and encouraging them to teach others is vital to a shift in our societal conscience, in the way we understand ourselves as part of earth.