The Way through the Woods…

Summer is in full swing as we delve deeper into the woods. Fiveways School began their sessions this week with some adventurous orienteering, using a map to find their way to a secret lakeside location.

We collected lots of leaves on the way, and explored their different properties before making our own ceramic leaves and some little bowls. It was a rather hot day and we were very envious of the ducks and swans enjoying the cool water!


After a spot of lounging around in the canopy, students from Preston School worked together to make tree-trunk wrap-around pots.  We rolled clay slabs and pressed them against our favorite tree. It was very exciting to peel the clay away from the tree-trunk, revealing the texture of the bark.

Ash Glaze

Trees and plants draw out a unique cocktail of minerals from the underlying geology, which are still present after the plant is burned. I’ve begun developing some ceramic glazes using ash collected from Yeovil Counrty Park. I’m looking forward to seeing the results!


Into the Wood…

May’s merry mix of warm and wet weather has brought all the trees into leaf at Yeovil Country Park. It has been a spectacular time to begin my time here as artist in residence for the final year of Water-Meadow-Wood. I’ve begun exploring the park and finding out about the variety of trees and habitats, with expert guidance from park ranger Becky Russell.

Penn Hill


School groups

I will be working closely with groups of children from two local Schools; Preston and Fiveways. Using clay we will imprint a record of our interaction with the trees in the park all the way from root to leaf. We have begun by making ceramic leaves and mixing underglaze colours to reflect the variety of greens on display. A showcase of the artwork will be exhibited at the Octagon Theatre in September.


Family Friendly Workshops

There will be three Family Friendly Workshops over the course of the residency. The first took place last weekend at Wonderful Woodlands, a brilliant event organised by Yeovil Country Park, which had over 200 visitors! My workshop celebrated the importance of woodland as a habitat for wildlife; making Minibeast Wonder-worlds using a variety of sculpture techniques. I was hugely impressed by the participants’ creations, and I’m really looking forward to the next event!


Artist’s Assistant

I am delighted to announce that I will be assisted during the residency by Nancy Castle, a local photographic artist and Forest School educator.

Artist’s Assistant Required – Bursary Role – Water-Meadow-Wood


Assistant required for Water-Meadow-Wood at Yeovil Country Park. The primary focus this year will be documenting school and family workshops for the project blog, high quality outdoor / people photography skills are essential,  generally helping out with workshop set up, delivery, showcasing etc.  Must be good with people, we will be working with SEN pupils and can process DBS as required.

Wood Residency 2017

Somerset Art Works (SAW) is delighted to appoint Elizabeth Jardine as Artist in Residence for 2017. 

Elizabeth will be working with local schools and families, outdoors at Yeovil Country Park, co-creating art work inspired by the Woods.

In her own artistic practice Elizabeth Jardine makes paintings, artist books and videos after periods of immersion in the environment.  She considers social, historical and geographical networks within the context of a particular place through a personal physical encounter. Her work provides a meditative space where viewers can be drawn into their own journey.

“I’m thrilled to be resident artist for Water- Meadow-Wood and am looking forward to making artwork with local people, responding to the woods in Yeovil Country Park. I think it’s so important for people to have direct engagement with the natural world, especially in their local environment. Making artwork in response to a place not just facilitates, but really enriches this involvement.”        

Artist Residency Year Three, Water – Meadow – Wood

Somerset Art Works is delivering an artist residency programme at Yeovil Country Park following the themes of Water – Meadow – Wood.

This three-year project is providing greater engagement with people and new opportunities to interpret the natural, cultural and historical heritage of Yeovil Country Park.

The theme for 2017 and the final year of the project is ‘Wood’, the woodland as a place and as a habitat, providing inspiration for creative exploration.

Farewell to the meadow

As the meadows of the park slowly disappear and the seasons begin to change, late August was the perfect time to install an outdoor exhibition at the park. The ‘Meadow Finds’ exhibition was open on 20th -21st August, showcasing all of the work created during the Meadow residency with the community groups. The weather forecast had predicted heavy rain and strong winds for the Saturday, but thankfully it was mostly dry and though the wind was a challenge when installing the work, it all held up well. The exhibition was well received and attracted attention from passers-by as the show was installed along the pathway beside the visitors centre. The Saturday afternoon workshop, ‘Postcards from the park’ was also popular. Participants made cyanotype and leaf imprint postcards from flora and fauna from the meadows.


Meadow Finds exhibition

The Meadow Finds exhibition consisted of works made with St. Gildas Primary School in Yeovil and South Somerset MIND. As described in an earlier blog post pupils from St. Gildas took photographs in the meadows and made cyanotype bunting. During workshops with South Somerset MIND I took them on two photo walks on the Meadow Finds photography walking trail (this trail map can be downloaded here). A selection of the participant’s photographs were printed as collages onto weatherproof ‘eco’ banners (these are made with recyclable material) and attached to the trees in the Ninesprings meadow.

Alongside these photo collages I installed the huge group fabric piece which I made with MIND: the Meadow Tapestry. Here is a video of it blowing in the wind at the park.

It measures around 4 metres wide and was created over several workshops with MIND. I wanted to make a completed piece as a collaboration with the group members and myself. The word tapestry comes from the old French word tapis meaning carpet. The meadowlands are a carpet of grasses and flowers underfoot. A tapestry is also normally displayed as a wall hanging, so I thought it would be fitting to create a tapestry scale piece to hang in the trees at the park. Though a tapestry is usually an embroidered piece, here we used light to ‘write’ nature onto the sun sensitive fabric. Each piece was created as a separate panel which I sewed together on my mother’s 45 year old trustworthy sewing machine!

I sat by the Meadow Tapestry on Sunday and chatted to visitors. Many were interested to hear about the light sensitive printing process, which we used to create the tapestry. The cyanotype process (also known as sun printing) involves coating either paper or, in this case, fabric with an iron-based solution that is sensitive to UV light. Once dry, items such as leaves can by laid on top of the sensitised material and left in the sunlight to expose. When rinsed in tap water, white silhouetted shapes remain. When I first experimented with this process a few years ago I bought the pre-coated sun print paper and fabric (see links at the bottom of the post). Then I started mixing my own solution and experimenting using watercolour papers and fabrics.

Final MIND workshop

On Monday 22nd August I had the final workshop with South Somerset MIND. After a celebratory, meadow-themed picnic (including elderflower fizz and a caterpillar cake!) we went on a photo walk from the meadows into the woodlands. We followed the path up to the springs, which many hadn’t visited in years. It’s one of the most beautiful parts of the park.

With all of the community workshops finished and the show packed up, the public facing part of my residency is complete. I’ve been taking my own photographs since the spring and am working on a limited edition publication (news of which will be updated on my website: The work by St. Gildas is going to be re-displayed in the Yeovil Country Park Visitors Centre in September. The Meadow Tapestry will hopefully be displayed somewhere in the county in the near future too.


Solar Paper from Silverprint:×7-Inch-35-Sheets/product/2172/2172/

Sunography Fabric –

How to make your own solution –

Information sheet to download on the cyanotype process – Cyanotypes info

Meadow Finds exhibition and workshop, 20-21 August

The Meadow Finds outdoor exhibition opens this weekend at Yeovil Country Park. This is a free, two day event. Come to the Ninesprings part of the park to view artwork created by workshop participants for the meadow themed residency. I’ll be running a free, drop-in cyanotype (sun print) workshop, ‘Postcards from the park’. There will also be free printed copies of my Meadow Finds, photography walking trail map available for visitors to take away and explore the whole park.

Meadow finds

An outdoor exhibition of photographic work made in the meadows of the park.

Ninesprings, Yeovil Country Park

20-21 August 2016. 10am-4pm daily.

Somerset Art Works appointed Carolyn Lefley as Artist in Residence at Yeovil Country Park for 2016. This is the second year for the Water-Meadow-Wood residency programme and the theme this year is Meadow. Carolyn worked with community groups to co-create artworks that respond to the Meadow theme. Participants explored a range of photographic techniques, from traditional sun prints to digital photography walking tours. The Meadow residency culminates in an outdoor showcase exhibition at Ninesprings. Come along and see the artworks displayed in the trees. 


Postcards from the park

Ninesprings Visitor Centre, Yeovil Country Park

20 August 2016, 2-4pm

Carolyn will show you how to make a sun-exposed cyanotype postcard created with natural material from the park. This activity will be free and suitable for all ages. 


‘Postcards from the park’ workshop, Saturday 20th August, 2-4pm.

This workshop will take place with the backdrop of the outdoor show. I’m busy preparing the two big collabative pieces I’ve made with St. Gildas School and South Somerset MIND. The largest and most ambitious work is a 13 ft x 4ft fabric cyanotype peice, the ‘Meadow Tapestry’. Here are a two photographs of the work in progress:
I’m looking forward to meeting lots of visitors at the park this weekend. The meadow flowers are just starting to fade and the grasses turn to hay. As we near the end of the summer this is a fitting time to celebrate the meadow spaces of the park and the artworks made within them.
Meadow haiku
   Meadowland awaits,
      A tapestry of flowers
          Amidst swaying grass.
                    Carolyn Lefley, 2016