Hello Nature | The Ballard of Peckham Rye 
Drawing workshop, November 2021

"In the context of the greatest health crisis of our times, increasing scientific evidence highlights the critical importance of accessing our natural environment – of garden plants, gardens and gardening, as a key factor that can benefit our physical, mental, and social wellbeing. Hello Nature is a series of artist-led commissions and workshops that aim to provide Southwark residents with greater opportunities to engage with the natural environment. 

The project is being delivered in partnership with The Ballad of Peckham Rye, a not-for-profit contemporary art commissioning organisation, Action For Refugees in Lewisham (AFRIL), an organisation established to support asylum seekers, vulnerable migrants and refugees in south east London and One Tree Hill Allotment Society, a member run community allotment. Hello Nature will enhance the Action For Refugees in Lewisham (AFRIL) allotment that supports families from refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant backgrounds who experience food poverty and are coping in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic, through building cohesive and supportive relationships between residents, allotment members and the AFRIL community.

Elyse Blackshaw will introduced us to an immersive experience of observational drawing from nature. The allotment site was established in the 1940s, today it is an important environmental resource with a range of natural habitats and native plants species, covering over nine acres. Taking inspiration from the allotment itself, Elyse will teach us how to create vibrant patterns and motifs from the plants around us. The workshop encourages imaginative and creative thinking, co-creating, practicing observational techniques and experimenting with mark-making to help children and adults explore their imaginations and develop their creativity in fun and engaging ways together. Following the workshop, Elyse will use the drawings to create a new permeant artwork for the AFRIL plot."