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'Adventurous Journeys'
The Big Draw at

Wakehurst Place

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The Big Draw

 in 2012 Wakehurst Place and the millennium seedbank  were chosen as the venue for the south eastern regional launch of the Campaign for Drawing's 'Big Draw Festival' (a celebration of drawing that takes place each October).

Steven was selected from an open competition to be the lead artist, working with the learning team, volunteers, scientists and horticulturalists from Wakehurst they developed a range of creative drawing workshops and events that shared and engaged members of the public with the work and research undertaken at the world heritage site.


The overarching theme was that of 'adventurous journeys' - referencing the amazing journeys seeds make and the ingenious designs and methods they use to assist with their dispersal. 

Through artist led workshops, self directed creative activities and events, a team of artists, worked with and  alongside staff and volunteers to engage people of all ages in creative appraches to drawing. activities took place throughout the month with additional workshops with local schools and groups.

Using Overhead projectors sculptor Steve Geliot worked with scientists from the Millennium seedbed to engage the public in developing a large collaborative drawing large images of pollen 

Artist Louise Clarke worked with the horticultural teams using charcoal that had been made from tree thinnings (a demonstration on  charcoal making accompanied the workshop

Painter Phil Tyler explored blind drawing 

Glass artists vanessa Dell worked with the public Chinagrapgh pencils to capture the wide variety of sed shapes 

Volunteers supported the public with making botanical  water colour studies of plants and flowers in the walled garden.

The public had the opportunity to print their own wall paper inspired by the plants and trees from across the gardens using pre carved printing blocks.

Working with the horticultural team Stevens drawings of seeds were translated into a large scale drawing in the meadows using a variety of different sized lawn mowers.


Sculptor Peter Randal Page could be observed making a large scale study of a seed pod.

Scientist were on hand to share their botanical knowledge around seed dispersal and explain the process of how the seeds are gathered and prepared for storage in the seed bank


 The public could explore a handling collection of different sized seeds.

Like plant hunters, visitors could go on their own adventurous journey around the property recording  images of their travels on a postcard which they posted on a wall as they left.


The event helped to celebrate and make visible the important work of all staff across the organisation and provide them with new insights into ways of engaging audiences and what the public see in their venue.



Each project had its own local brief, but the core aim was to work with and develop confidence within the heritage centres to develop their own creative projects, share skills and knowledge about the potential of the heritage sites and develop different approaches to interpreting collections and drawing. Some sites had had no previous experience of engaging the public. 


Two of the projects won national recognition from the Campaign for Drawing as 'Drawing Inspiration' Award winners.

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Drawing in the meadow



The project with the school developed the confidence of the museum staff to repeated the project for the general public.  Further 'self directed 'drawing activities were developed which encouraged the public to explore the collections.

 For "A Public Collection" the public created their own individual collection catalogue cards, when completed each card had drawings and information documenting the individuals favourite items within the museums collections. Visitors were encouraged to look through the catalogue and could take out the cards to help them explore the museum and find the artefact in the collection for themselves. 

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The work at Wakehurst Place followed the theme of 'filling spaces'. – The Millennium seed bank had just reached its billionth seed. Workshops were devised for a range of ages, to utilise different approaches to drawing and for both self directed projects and artist led workshops. One workshop, to celebrate the scientific work of the seedbank, engaged the public in observing and drawing seeds onto sheets with pre printed images of seed jars, another applied visitors drawings to recycled cardboard tubes to create a stack of 'storage jars' to fill the windows of the seedbank.  Plant hunters notebooks were developed for the public  head off and to explore the site, with guidance on different approaches to drawing participants were encourages to  share their results in a collaborative creative outcome.

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Friends of Worth Park

Worth Park is an open space in Crawley which was once the grounds of a large hall (now demolished) owned by the Rothschild family. The grounds had been laid out by Pulman and are of historic significance. The aim of the project was to engage people in the site and spread the word about this relatively unknown and under-used site. The group of volunteers from the local croquet club undertook tours of the grounds and shared information about the house and its history sharing its remaining historical features.  Visitors played croquet on the original lawns with paint covered balls and onlookers used small sketchbooks to sketch the players on the croquet lawn. 

The project was a Campaign for Drawing  - Drawing Inspiration Awards ‘Winner’.

Compulsive Productions Film

A  film was made of the project, to inform and encourage other heritage sites to develop similar arts projects.The workshop with the pupils from St Andrews was included in this film.

See the whole Compulsive Productions film here: Big Heritage Draw West Sussex.  (the sections of the film refering to Worthing Museum are between 0.55 - 1.24, 10.20 -14.40, 20.33- 24.33).

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CPD Workshop for Sussex Curators and Museum Staff

A subsequent special CPD training day was organised to launch the Compulsive productions film about the Big Heritage Draw - West Sussex and included a workshop led by Steven for curators and museum workers from across the county, engaging them in a drawing project similar to the project with Worthing Museum and St Andrews School.