Derbyshire artist Victoria Brown is working with pre-school children at Derby College’s Little Explorers Nursery at Broomfield Hall in Morley on an arts project which will culminate in an exhibition of work at RHS Tatton Park in July.
The Bean Project is part of the United Nations 2016 Year of the Pulse and involves Victoria and the children planting a bean crop at Broomfield Hall and two local primary schools – Dale Primary School and Weston-on-Trent Primary School.
This will be the inspiration for a new series of paintings by Victoria entitled ‘The Bean Scrolls’ which will celebrate the land, plant growth and the production of nutritious food to feed an ever growing world population.
Having planted the seeds, the beans will now be tended by staff and children who will then be joined by Victoria for weekly creative workshops where they draw, paint, sculpt and photograph the plants with some of their work being included in Victoria’s exhibition.
Kate Cox, Manager at Little Explorers Nursery, which was Derbyshire’s first Forest School with much of the day spent exploring and learning outdoors, said: “We are delighted to be included in this fascinating project.
“One of the poly tunnels at Broomfield Hall are effectively now a pop up studio with four planting beds and creative studios for Victoria to work with the children once a week on artwork inspired by the planting and growing of the bean seeds.
“This is a perfect fit with our ethos as a Forest School and the children are very excited to see the shoots starting to emerge from the soil.”
Victoria has worked as an artist for ten years following a career in teaching and education. Her most recent projects have been ‘Losing Lace’ and ‘Blossom’ both supported by Arts Council England and the National Lottery.
Within her Losing Lace project Victoria researched the Lace industry in Nottingham and her family connection to it. She created a large collection of lace paintings inspired by the beautiful lace patterns from old lace pattern books alongside a lace installation. Using oil paints, liquid leaf and gold leaf Victoria has developed her own painting techniques, her love for pattern; detail and colour perhaps have roots in her early experiences with lace.
This style has followed into the collection of paintings titled ‘Blossom’ painted during her arts residency at The National Trusts Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire where she celebrated the spring blossom within the fruit orchards.
Both projects aimed to engage the public with the arts and Victoria delivered workshops, exhibitions, arts training and ‘Pop up’ studios where everyone was encouraged to draw, paint and make blossom art.
Victoria explained: “This project builds on my passion for the natural world and I was keen to bring together art and agriculture to highlight the miracle of nature, growing food and our dependency upon it.
“My husband is a farmer so I know only too well the realities of arable farming and our dependency upon soil, climate, politics and global economic influences. Within these challenges the wonders of growing can easily be overlooked and taken for granted.
“Through the project, I aim to celebrate the bean crop and highlight issues faced feeding the world, the project will start with the planting of a bean crop on the farm this spring.”