Life in the Undergrowth is a project artist Fiona Campbell developed during lockdown as a new way of looking at the world. One of the outcomes is an enchanting short film - Fiona’s ‘first serious experiment with film-making’, and the result of a 5 month engagement with the nature in her garden.
‘In isolation, I began taking life at a slower pace, sowing veggie seeds, and mending things. Appreciating, observing and attending to nature seemed vital.’
One of Fiona’s pieces Time Capsules comprises found objects: giant molars, glass bottles, ceramics, old rusty nails.. attached to each other with fine copper wire, suspended on a steel structure. ‘During lockdown I dug up a lot of soil to make space for a studio bay. I sold the soil locally to help finances through covid19. Excavated from the earth in my garden, each find has a story - some known, others a mystery.’
Fiona’s garden in the rural village Cranmore, Somerset, was until then somewhat neglected. It became her world and route to wellbeing, providing a sense of peace and purpose. ‘Life in the Undergrowth’ was inspired by small hidden worlds in her garden that often get overlooked. It became a circular process - garden feeding art and art feeding garden.
‘While resurrecting my veggie patch, a fascination with the entanglement of roots, worms and shoots in upturned turf led to experimental responses using to-hand materials and found objects’. Fiona drew knotted clumps of turf; dried duckweed, sunbleached, became paper; handmade tools from plant debris generated drawings and sculptural works evolved.
Encounters between Fiona and her garden helped her form a stronger bond with all that comes and goes. ‘Witnessing transformation, life and death, it was emotional at times. Communing with small creatures, incidents happen, some wonderful, others very sad’ says Fiona.
The project was supported by the Art Council England/National Lottery Emergency Response Fund.
Fiona’s Life in the Undergrowth project will be showing alongside some of her other mixed media artworks during Somerset Open Studios, opening this weekend (19 Sept - 4 Oct). Visits are welcome by appointment. This sunny start to autumn is perfect for a wander in the fresh air of her spacious sculpture garden, and safe measures will be in place in the studio: Venue 70, West Cranmore, BA4 4RH. Bookings T: 07515537224 or E:
For further information visit: www.fionacampbellart.co.uk