We began by discussing what we love
about our environment and the wider surrounding area. Many things were
suggested, including the beautiful landscape, the animals and the sea, but at
the heart of everything is the community of friends and family and the local
network. However, we wanted to make the local scenery and wildlife a focal
point. The community aspect, we decided, would be reflected in the work with
all four of the creative workshops - woodwork, pottery, metal and textiles -
taking part in the creation of the piece. So the majority of people in the
community had some input in the project.
We decided that the piece should be full of bright, vivid colours to reflect not only the beautiful landscape but also to reflect the colourful personalities and cultures that collectively make up our community. We also wanted to make the pieces from as much recycled or unwanted material as possible. For example, the fabric we used for the main background was old woven fabric made years ago in the workshop that was not being used or sold. The pottery group made the butterflies, rolling out the clay, then cutting and painting them with beautiful colours. The woodwork group provided the handmade dowel for the hanging and the hand-drawn seagulls that were cut out using a hand-built band-saw made in the workshop. All the wooden elements were made with recycled wood. The copper leaves were made in the metal workshop by flattening an old copper tank. The leaves were then cut out and decoration was hammered into them and polished. The textiles group pieced together the idea for the picture, choosing one of the sea and hills and placing the rough drawing of animals and Hapstead Village. Then the group took it in turns to sew the layers together, using the die-cutting machine to create shapes for the flowers, sewing the embellishments together and adding beading. Working on this piece was a great joy for all the workshops to take part in. Very often the workshops can become absorbed in dealing only with their own things from the range of what we produce and we sometimes forget that when we work together as a whole we can create something beautiful. It was good for everyone to have a go at something. Even if they found sewing too difficult they could still be involved in the design process, use the die cutting machine or select the colours of beads for someone else to sew on. Everyone was overwhelmed by the outcome of the project. It is better than any of us expected. We were so grateful to be invited to take part in the project and proud to have been part of such a special process within the wider Camphill Movement to create something collectively inspiring which also reflects our beautiful home so well.