Summer of Culture at Clarks Village

This Summer, Clarks Village embarked on a cultural art project, encouraging its shoppers to try new experiences and spend as much time outdoors as possible. So, in July and August, visitors to the shopping village had the opportunity to help create a living art installation and admire the creativity of fellow shoppers…

Designed and delivered with the support of Somerset Art Works, we teamed up with talented artist and educator, Joy Merron from Frome in Somerset, who took up residency under the London Plane tree in the gardens outside Thornton’s and Radley at Clarks Village. Visitors were invited to come along to one of the seven free workshops led by Joy and fellow artists, Donna Vale and Lisa Cheung.

The aim was to create a large colourful “canopy” made of suspended recycled bottle tops that partly encircle the tree-trunk and create viewing windows from the walkways onto the heart of the installation – the “garden tree”. The gentle sound of the bottletops rustling and the light catching the colours of the bottle tops evoked thoughts of bunting, the whisper of waves, beach tents and summer celebrations.

The sessions were designed so shoppers can spend time with their children and the artists, and create a magical installation using recycled materials and specially made decorations. These workshops included, a Bottle Garden workshop, Creating Creatures workshop, Bottle Flower workshop and a Summer Jewels workshop – all designed to help children create beautiful crafts with recycled materials, decorating the famous Clarks Village London Plane tree.

Joy Merron explains the inspiration behind her bespoke design, “The design is inspired by making the most of everyday objects, the beautiful gardens of Clarks Village and celebrating both the geometry and life-giving power of nature. At the heart of the installation is the trunk of a beautiful, mature tree that offers shade to shoppers and a home for lots of wildlife. We were pleased to meet lots of Clarks Village shoppers and help them to create the different pieces that became a living art gallery that grew in both size and biodiversity during the summer holidays.”

Over the course of the Summer, more than 200 children got involved in the six sessions at Clarks Village, and the feedback was incredibly positive – with many shoppers commenting on the lovely opportunity for children and a demand for more activities like this.

As we finalise this Summer project, we’re already well into planning the Christmas season with Clarks Village – which all kicks off on Saturday 4 November 2017, with an explosive fireworks display. See more here.

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