‘If we and the rest of the back-boned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if the invertebrates were to disappear, the world’s ecosystems would collapse.’
Sir David Attenborough
The #flightpathcommunityproject began with a simple concept that has inspired so many to look at their own environment and reconsider their connections with nature.
A small piece of paper becomes a nature corridor. The graphite marks drawn by Louisa represent buildings, roads, paths, barriers to wildlife. Sent out into the world to encourage a closer look, each response forms a unique view, and highlights the variety and beauty of our micro world. From wildflower meadows to "weeds" in our cities, from gardens and allotments and derelict industrial sites, we have looked closely and noticed far more than we imagined.
Initially inspired by talks on Craftivism and the Buglife B-Lines project, the project draws from campaigns run by other nature charities that have been brought to our attention such as #beethechange (BumbleBee Conservation Trust) and #nomowmay (Plantlife) as well as The Big Draw #makethechange 2021 challenge. A close eye has been kept on COP26.
Drawing, painting, stitching, collage, cutting, printing - almost every form of art has been utilised to consider insect habitats and the barriers they face with climate change, food scarcity and habitat destruction. The research and emotions have been shared to give encouragement to all ages and generations have worked together to explore the environment and record their findings. We have learned not to take things at face value., we have learned to question, we've learned we don't need to be perfect but we do need to begin with small but determined changes in attitude and practice.
The project has inspired conversations and opened our eyes to a positive future, created personal connections and given solace in difficult times. Social media, and Instagram in particular, has been key to this mail-art project, a platform for the worldwide contributors to grab a coffee and scroll through all the fabulous photos and videos, and read the impact directly presented by the participants. Simply follow the project hashtag - #flightpathcommunityproject.
Overall we have connected across the garden fence, through Royal Mail and on our mobiles. We have inspired hope in each other and created some beautiful art.
"I can honestly say there is something wonderful about each piece that I have held in my hands. At times it has been overwhelming - the art, the stories, the conversations and the hope that this project has given me. I wish you could all have shared in the excitement of opening the envelopes and looking closely at the inspirational work you have done. I feel privileged to be steering this project." ... Louisa Crispin, Project Creator
The first exhibition of over 160 responses will be on show at Kaleidoscope Gallery from 23-27 November. The Kent County Council Sevenoaks Kaleidoscope Gallery is run as an artist led space by Sevenoaks Visual Arts Forum (SVAF)
Louisa will be at the Gallery from 10am to 4 pm daily and there will be a formal talk about the project on Saturday 27 November at 2pm - all welcome.
The Sevenoaks Kaleidoscope Gallery, Museum and Library,
Buckhurst Lane, Sevenoaks, TN13 1LQ
Louisa Crispin (www.louisacrispinart.co.uk)
Supported by Sevenoaks Visual Arts Forum (www.svaf.co.uk)
Bumblebee Conservation Trust (www.bumblebeeconservation.org)
Louisa Crispin - the FlightPath Story
Louisa Crispin began drawing in 2010 and found herself focused on the minutiae in nature - lichen, bees, butterflies and small birds. This concentration on observational drawing bought back an interest in nature that had largely been suppressed since childhood.
The FlightPath story began in 2017 with a large wasp nest in Louisa's loft space. For most of the year the wasps happily moved to and fro via gaps in the tiles, occasionally finding their way into the house and waiting patiently to be let out of the window to carry on their work.
At this time Louisa was looking to broaden her drawing subjects and the sight of a dead wasp caught her eye, it's yellow body bathed in sunlight casting a long shadow across the window ledge.
The intense reaction to her wasp drawings started Louisa thinking. Why are we so negative about wasps, what is their role in nature? Gradually through research, one drawing at a time she found attitudes changing as people looked closer at her exquisite drawings and listened to their story.
2020 brought more time in her studio, exploring the materiality of graphite and paper while listening to radio, online talks and podcasts. Connecting through Instagram, two recommended talks brought about a change in mindset:
During the pandemic Louisa discovered the power of Mailart through Bruton Correspondence School, Amanda Lynch and Clayhill Arts. When visitors to her 2021 solo show at Kaleidoscope Gallery in Sevenoaks were restricted by an extended lockdown she decided to launch her planned community project online via Instagram and Royal Mail. It hit a nerve and soon the requests to join in were overwhelming.
While continuing to develop her own work with sculptural 3d pieces, Louisa has steered this project, sharing the research, responses and thoughts through social media and gathering a community of like-minded people gently highlighting an important message. The first exhibition at Kaleidoscope Gallery in Sevenoaks is just one step in the journey for this popular project.
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