‘Field Notes’ from Warnham

Bat Bothy

The Inspiration

The concept for a public art project based at Warnham Nature Reserve arose from incidental conversations with Cllr Jonathan Chowen about the forthcoming ‘Year of Culture 2019’ and the place of the nature reserve. The starting points for the strategy included the works of P. S. Shelley, particularly ‘Ozymandias’ and a desire to include permanent artworks and a writer-in-residence to include text in the process.

A nature reserve has its own distinct communities. The place is not unlike a gallery, but the exhibit is a precious living fragment of the world. A key finding from research by Rachel and Stephen Kaplan is that for a landscape to impact positively on mental well-being the environment needs a high fascination value. Creating works of art which are sympathetic to their environment – in form, function or materials, have this ‘high fascination value’.

Permanent artworks

The artist Will Nash created two permanent artworks for the reserve – the first work, the bat bothy, is a sculptural form that functions as a bat roost. Made from local stone that has been repurposed the bothy is reminiscent of the furnaces that once worked the metal smelted in the area. Members of the Green Gym helped to build the bothy using traditional techniques. Each stone carefully placed to create a balanced from that allows egress by insects and bats into the interior.

The second sculpture created from chestnut palings is an extraordinary tri-helix ‘insect’ to be discovered in the woods. The twisting structure has a fascinating amorphic quality. The Green Gym and members of the Friends of Warnham helped with the build. Both these sculptural works are the result of a team effort.


Temporary Works

Our writer in residence Tanya Shadrick, spent time writing with visitors to the Warnham Nature Reserve. Tanya is an emerging ‘writer of the outdoors’ whose thoughtful presence brought to life new aspects of the reserve for the visitors who encountered her in the reserve.

Our Writer of the outdoors Tanya Shadrick with some of the participants and haiku’s

The Haiku’s and microscopy introduced by Graham Magnus inspired the creative writing of participants and contributed to an exhibition of works. Funding for the project was secured from Arts Council England and Horsham Year of Culture 2019.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.