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Floodplain Meadow Arts Competition 2021

Floodplain Meadows Arts and Crafts competition 2021 

And the winners are...

Alice Walker from Oxfordshire and Claire Cornish from Cumbria!.

The winning pieces of art demonstrated the diverse role of floodplain meadows for biodiversity, flood water management, agriculture, and the importance of their preservation.

We were overwhelmed with the creativity and talent shown, and the response showed towards our beautiful floodplain meadows.  Choosing the winners was very difficult and we just wish there were more months in a year!  However we are hoping to be able to use the artwork submitted in various ways in the future. More of the art work was showcased during the FMP conference which took place in mid October for conference attendees to enjoy. Certainly Simon Elliott’s soundscape, which we played a few times during the conference, was popular and can be heard here  https://soundcloud.com/simon-elliott-5/dawn-chorus-at-wheldrake-ings/s-3ju2FUHhaEF.  

Alice Walker - A precious resource

Claire Cornish - Seasons Song

More about Alice Walker

Alice Walker said “I’m an artist and teacher based in Oxfordshire. I work in oils, watercolours, collage, pencil and print and digital media. I have always had a deep love of being in nature and responding to it creatively.

Last July I was fortunate enough to take my art students out sketching in Long Mead Meadow on the banks of the Thames, just West of Oxford. It was there that I discovered the amazing story of Britain’s floodplain meadows: how they were once the most valuable land in Britain, allowing villagers to overwinter their livestock providing both grazing and a hay crop because of their fertility. I also learned of their importance today as a valuable source of hay, a carbon store and vital habitat for a multitude of species.

I was shocked to find out that barely 3% of these meadows remain in Britain – but inspired by restoration projects like the Thames Valley Wildflower Meadow Restoration Project that are bolding working to improve this for future generations.

When I heard about the FMP Art Competition, I was excited about the potential of art to respond to the challenge of raising awareness of these amazing habitats.

On one level my task was easy -as these meadows are naturally stunning -and art that communicates the beauty and wonder of the natural world draws our attention to it, brings us joy and reminds us how much we value it and that we should protect it.

But more than that it was important to me to amplify the message that these vital floodplain meadows are still under threat; from agricultural practices, housing and road developments and even flood defence measures.”

More about Claire Cornish

Claire said “I’m so delighted to have been selected for the floodplain meadows calendar and as an overall winner. I thought the competition was imaginative and very open ended – really anyone could send in something they had made or written – it had a very broad scope. It’s so lovely to be chosen based on ‘Seasons Song’. I wanted to share something of how I feel about floodplain meadows, their annual changing cycle and specialness.

I love meadows and working in them with farmers and botanists. Sometimes when we are out in the field, we just stop what we are doing and take in the space. Often all we can hear is a quiet buzzing of insects and the sound of a far-off curlew or oyster catcher. It’s magical.” 

Claire’s piece ‘Seasons Song’ is an intricate piece of stained-glass art with designs representing the many grasses and flowers found on in floodplain meadows, and importantly the sustainable cycle of floods, silts and drought that enables meadows to flourish there. Her cyclical artwork is drawn together with the powerful words “Cherish the winter floods, that nourish our summer hay.”

Claire and Alice will each also receive a prize of either a Field Studies Council voucher worth £250 or a hamper of floodplain meadow produce provided by Andy Rumming’s Beef.

All calendar winners

The other winners can be found on the flicker album below:. 

 https://www.flickr.com/gp/193954458@N08/9T4902  

We are designing the 2022 calendar with the plan to have it available in December  onwards. Further details to be announced then.

Family prize

There was also a special family prize for the Smith Badger family who received a ladybird house generously donated by the Wildlife Trust.  https://www.flickr.com/gp/193954458@N08/TM7uBv  

View the announcement of winners

View the conference announcement of the winners and summary of the competition on our you tube channel here https://youtu.be/fybkxTO_ll0

More about the competition and our future plans

Funded by the Morgan Family Bursary Fund and the William Dean Countryside and Educational Trust, the competiton had more than 100 entries from across the UK and internationally. All the judges agreed that the imagination and creativity shown by all those who entered was outstanding. Creative approaches to the brief set by the competition ranged from soundscapes to embroidery, poetry to botanical illustrations with entries coming in from as far as Russia and Bangladesh.

Watch this space for details of a physical exhibition next year......