We’re delighted to see Edinburgh based artist Natalie Taylor to be rejoining North Edinburgh Arts on a part time artist residency. She will be working between now and the end of 2021 in and around the garden with young people, families and adults on creative nature projects.
Natalie has worked with us before, as part of the original NEA garden team, working with local residents on many of the creative garden projects. You may also have seen her designs in the Muirhouse Avenue Amphitheatre, or been part of Centipede’s community project Germinator. More recent projects include the design for the new Pennywell Nature Garden, currently under construction on Pennywell Road.
Natalie has been focusing on butterflies in our Garden this year, working towards an installation of a butterfly-friendly living dome for Edinburgh’s Virtual Doors Open Day in September 2020. Read on to learn more about what the project has included.
In Spring 2020, Natalie has started a postcard campaign for local people to take part in, if they wished, by creating collaged butterflies of native species, almost half of which are now under threat of extinction. The campaign is to urge Scottish Government to back proposals to ban pesticide use across Scotland. Pesticides are a key reason that 40% of insect populations are threatened with extinction. You too can join in with our campaign by creating your own postcard – get in touch with us by emailing email@example.com.
During Covid-19 lockdown we put together wildflower seed packs for local people. This was to increase access to wildflowers, a key habitat and food source for insects and butterflies across the area. Natalie created the above watercolour to help us promote this initiative and draw attention to the importance of wild flowers.
During the early summer, Natalie invited Ross MacRae mural artist and illustrator to create a butterfly chalk drawing within a timber frame in the cafe area of NEA. Here you can see Ross drawing the Peacock butterfly, one of our most spectacular native species.
Later in August, as lockdown started easing, Natalie worked on putting together The Butterfly Shrine, a 5m wide oak structure celebrating butterflies in the NEA garden. This was designed to attract butterflies with the wildflowers attached, and special ceramic feeders full of sugary nectar for butterflies. Natalie Taylor creatively highlights the reducing numbers of butterflies, one of our main signals for insect population in the landscape, both rural and urban.
We’ve created a short film that shares some of the work created by the North Edinburgh Arts’ Garden team this year with a particular focus on helping the butterfly population in Scotland. Watch the film and get involved in the butterfly conservation!
If you have any questions about this project or would like to get involved with our postcard campaign, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Garden Artist Residency is supported by the National Lottery Community Fund and Urban Union.
Top image credit: Alice Betts
Illustration: Natalie Taylor