Somerset Art Works (SAW) and The Great Crane Project have been working in partnership since 2010. SAW has engaged a number of professional artists to develop a programme of community engagement projects inspired by cranes to offer creative opportunities to local schools, groups and individuals and to help raise awareness of this fascinating conservation project.

Activities Summary

More information and images can be found on our project blog


  • Artist Sarah Butterworth was commissioned to lead an exciting celebratory project working with school and community groups through the Autumn of 2014. A Celebration of Cranes marked 5 years of the Great Crane Project and SAW’s creative partnership through this period, culminating on 22 November with a procession of illuminated lanterns, crane puppets, dance and live music.  See a short film of the celebration by clicking here
  • Melanie Tomlinson devised activities and resources to create, a website designed for education settings and groups to nurture independent study and creative skills, build self-confidence and understanding of cranes, conservation and the environment. The education programme was funded by InspirED Somerset and Melanie worked with 12 Somerset schools.
  • Schools Twinning Project – Artist Melanie Tomlinson linked German and Somerset schools in a creative project using illustration and metal to create stunning dioramas. See The Company of Cranes blog for full details of Melanie’s work with SAW and The Great Crane Project.


  • The Company of Cranes – Artist Melanie Tomlinson worked closely with the project teams at SAW, The Great Crane Project, Ash School and their twinned European partner schools. As well as developing her own creative response to the project, Melanie’s commission also involved running workshops with local and European Schools.  Work was shown at Slimbridge WWT in the Summer and during Somerset Art Weeks in Sept/ Oct 2013.

    Supported by the Arts Council as part of SAW’s Abundance programme.


  • Othery Village Crane Trail – community and school workshops led by Artists Kitty Hillier and Belinda Brownlee
  • The Paper Crane Project – community and school workshops led by Artist Lucy Lean
  • Flight of the Cranes – a SAW curated exhibition to be held at Slimbridge WWT in the summer featuring the work of the Somerset Crafts group and an installation of hundreds of paper cranes created by Lucy Lean as part of The Paper Crane Project.
  • Exhibition at Somerset Crafts during Somerset Art Weeks of The Paper Crane installation.  Educational visits and activities offered to local schools.


  • Huish Episcopi Academy Papier Mache and Wire workshops
  • Short Breaks for disabled children and their families – Reserve visits and creative workshops
  • SAW curated an exhibition at Slimbridge Wetlands Centre, Gloucestershire of crane-inspired project work by Somerset school and community groups, including paper mache sculptures, painted life-size crane decoys and delicate wirework.
  • The exhibition then toured to historic Muchelney Abbey for Somerset Art Weeks 2011, displayed alongside artists’ work.  School visits were hosted and an evening talk and reception was held.


  • Wire Workshops with Somerset primary schools led by artist Fiona Campbell
  • Development of the Volunteers Art Resource Pack – delivered Somerset-wide
  • Art in Nature Community Workshops – Reserve Visits and Arts Activities from RSPB Dewlands Farm.


Somerset Art Works (SAW) is a non-profit making organisation promoting the Visual Arts and creating opportunities for Visual Artists and Makers in Somerset through advocacy, promotion and development. SAW initiates and manages a range of events, projects and opportunities throughout the county and is a membership organisation for practising artists.
If you want to find out more about the Great Crane Art Project contact us 01458 253800       [email protected]

The Great Crane Project is a partnership project between the RSPB, the Wildlfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) and the Pensthorpe Trust, with major funding support from Viridor Credits Environmental Company.
It was set up with the aim of helping the re-colonisation of the UK by the crane and securing the crane’s future as a breeding species. For nearly 400 years, these stunning birds have been missing from our wetlands. Drainage and hunting caused them to disappear as a breeding bird by the start of the 17th Century.

Featured Artists

  • Lucy Lean
  • Fiona Campbell