Help create a living art installation inspired by Somerset countryside

The summer holidays are a brilliant time to try new experiences and spend as much time as possible outside. So in July and August, visitors to Clarks Village will have the opportunity to help create an art installation and admire the creativity of fellow shoppers.

Talented artist and educator, Joy Merron from Frome in Somerset, supported by the Somerset Art Works team, is taking up residency under the London plane tree in the gardens outside Thornton’s and Radley. Visitors are invited to come along to one of the seven free workshops led by Joy Merron and fellow artists Donna Vale and Lisa Cheung in July and August.

The sessions have been designed so shoppers can spend a few minutes or longer, and so that all ages can get involved to help create a magical installation using recycled materials and specially made decorations. Materials are provided and no previous artistic experience is required!

Steve Burge, Marketing Manager for Clarks Village continues, “Somerset is a fantastic creative place and this summer we wanted visitors to have the opportunity to do something different and unique, to get involved and help create a living sculpture. Being an outdoor shopping centre in iconic countryside is core to what makes visiting Clarks Village so special. We’re also one of the greenest shopping centres in the UK so we love that Joy Merron’s design will showcase how recycled materials can be used to create extraordinarily beautiful art. We can’t wait to see how the installation evolves during the summer holidays and see the final result of everyone’s involvement at the end of August.”

A large colourful “canopy” made of strung and suspended recycled bottle tops will semi encircle the tree-trunk and create viewing windows from the walkways onto the heart of the installation – the “garden tree”. The gentle sound of the bottletops rustling and the light catching the colours of the bottle tops will evoke bunting, the whisper of waves, beach tents and summer celebrations.

Joy Merron explains the inspiration behind her bespoke design, “The design is inspired by making the most of everyday objects, the beautiful gardens of Clarks Village and celebrating both the geometry and life-giving power of nature. At the heart of the installation is the trunk of a beautiful, mature tree that offers shade to shoppers and a home for lots of wildlife. We are looking forward to meeting lots of people and helping them to make the different pieces that will become a living art gallery that will grow in both size and biodiversity during the summer holidays.”

On Saturday 22 July and Saturday 29 July, visitors can help to plant miniature gardens in recycled bottles that will be suspended at the centre of the colourful canopy. The bottle gardens will burst into life during the summer as the plants, flowers, herbs and greenery grow and provide additional holiday destinations for insects.

On Saturday 5 and Thursday 10 August, visitors are invited to make birds, butterflies and  insects in the creative creatures workshops from reclaimed materials. The fluttering creatures will adorn the canopy and create subtle sounds with natural movements.

On Saturday 19 August, visitors can make flowers using reclaimed materials that will be suspended in the canopy. The beautiful transparent flowers capture the colourful light to add the magical spark to the installation.

On Saturday 26 August, visitors can make summer jewels to decorate the installation. Flowers and leaves will be encapsulated in clear and tinted resin ‘drops’ to be strung like ‘fruits’  – echoing a change in the seasons.

Zoe Li, project manager from Somerset Art Works says, “We are thrilled to be working with the team at Clarks Village for the first time and can’t wait for Joy Merron’s installation to start taking shape. The creative process of participating in making something and then seeing what you have helped to make is really exciting and we are delighted that lots of people will get the chance to share that experience over the summer.”


For full details of the times and dates of the celebrating summer workshops visit

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Published on June 26, 2017 // Paul Newman