Tuesday 11 October 2016

Ceramic Art Bat Boxes at Holton Lee, Dorset

I’m Janna Edwards and I run 15Days in Clay, a local Community Award winning ceramic Art project, at Livability Holton Lee. Holton Lee is an idyllic 350 acres of woodland, heath, reed-beds, a few fields and some important buildings and all on the edge of Poole harbour. This is where our studio is based.

At the start, in 2003, I had just enough funding to run a ceramic class for 8 people, one day a week over 15 weeks, hence the name. Thirteen years on and we now have over 40 artists attending over 4 days a week and supported buy a team of exceptionally talented volunteers. The artists have a range of learning /physical needs and we have built an supportive environment where they can engage and progress their creativity and talents to become artists in their own right.

As for the bat boxes; in the field by our studio a big old oak tree succumbed to a violent storm a few years ago; all the branches broke off and all that was left standing was its huge trunk. Geoff Jones, who worked at the time for Holton Lee, asked if we could make some bat boxes to go on the trunk to make a bit of a show.

We had just had a big exhibition at Poole’s Art Centre, The Lighthouse. For which each of us made large quirky busts of ourselves, some 50 all together; it was a huge success and we followed on with the bat boxes taking on a basic design with each artist giving their individual take on the box transforming it into something special, but they never got to adorn the tree trunk.

There was a Community Fair coming up, the boxes were ready and after a bit of head scratching it was felt that a more suitable setting for them would be on the wall of the ‘Old Farmhouse’. Here they not only look fantastic, blowing our own trumpet, so to speak, but also very timely.

The Farm House with a 15 Days in Clay Totem obscuring the view of
the bat boxes on the right hand wall of the farm house

The farmhouse is home to three species of resident bats and there is also another smaller colony in the adjacent building called ‘The Barn’ , its not actually a barn and it is being upgraded to a new life as a spinal injury rehabilitation centre. This work could not have been done without the Farmhouse next door being able to provide alternative accommodation. With a bit of luck the bat boxes will soon have their first batty residents.
It makes me very proud to be able to show off their work in the bat boxes now on permanent display

So , any time you are near Poole, call in to have a closer peek at our work and enjoy our wonderful surroundings.

Janna pointing out the bat boxes.

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