It was a delight to be invited to the Bournville College / Staffordshire University Foundation Degree students end of year show preview night on Thursday 12th May. This was especially so as one of my mentees, Rachel Faulkner, was exhibiting her wildlife inspired needle felted work.
Rachel’s textile work “The garden, a keepsake in a jar”, explores the idea of collections and keepsakes, and examines our ongoing [sic] ” need as humans to keep mementos of the past and preserve them for future generations“. Her work investigates the Victorian obsession with collections, moments mori and the impact of collecting, cataloguing and displaying taxidermy collections. This contrasts with a desire to preserve and encourage species and ecosystems today, and I think, asks; what and whose idea of the garden & nature is it, a real or imagined one, ours or one of the past, that we wish to preserve?
Rachel piece is a keepsake of memories of her garden; featuring two terrariums, a tree and specimen plants. One terrarium contains a rose – representing the idea of the quintessential English rose garden, and the other houses a frog and insects on a log pile – purposefully placed and designed to attract wildlife. The tree at the centre of the two terrariums has an ecosystem of its own, in which a bird resides alongside a human’s treehouse with a window box of flowers!
Rachels’ work and more can be seen at Cohesion, the Bournville College / Staffordshire University Foundation degree Contemporary Art Practice show.
Cohesion: 9am – 5pm 12th – 26th May Prirory Square, Queensway, Birmingham, B4 7LJ