‘Swarm’ down to Skelton Grange on Saturday

A popular community and environmental education centre in South Leeds is celebrating its 25th birthday this year by inviting everyone to come and see Swarm at Skelton Grange this summer!

The special opening event on Saturday 19 August launches a month of an exciting new exhibition and installations inspired by bees, wildflowers and our natural environment, using materials reflecting Leeds’ industrial heritage.

Just two miles south of Leeds centre, the beautiful Skelton Grange eco-building is set in a 10 acre nature reserve reclaimed from a formerly industrial site. Managed by The Conservation Volunteers charity, the centre has large, natural-lit spaces looking out onto a fruit orchard and vegetable gardens, apiary, ponds, woodland and wildflower meadows. This has achieved over 25 years by, and for the Leeds community, connecting more than 150,000 people with their local environment and its story.

Laney Birkhead’s inspirational Swarm installation will be at the heart of the exhibition, and visitors will be able to walk inside a ‘hive’ of 50,000 hand printed bees. This magical experience was explored and enjoyed by so many people at Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley last year, and we are delighted to be able to bring this opportunity back to Leeds.  A documentary film produced by Paul Harris will also be screened, which tells the story of how hundreds of people from all over Yorkshire helped print the 50,000 bees, and turn them into an art installation…

This event is extra special as it will also feature new permanent willow, wood, ceramic and beeswax artworks made for Skelton Grange with support from Leeds Inspired and Grow Wild. These new artworks have been made by Leeds schools and community groups, and will include a ceramic wildflower meadow inspired by the Tower of London poppies, carved spoons made of wood harvested from the Skelton Grange nature area, and a record of the site’s wildflowers through the seasons preserved in natural beeswax.

Visitors will also be able to enjoy and buy beautiful art and craft work created by the Swarm collective of twelve local artists and makers in response to the plight of the honeybee and other pollinators – their range of prints, glass, jewellery, prints, film, ceramics and textiles are truly inspiring to see. Teas, coffee and gorgeous cake from friendly vegan Leeds bakery, That Old Chestnut will be available, and you can also wander around Skelton Grange’s beautiful nature area.

A celebratory exhibition and installations at Skelton Grange Environment Centre – Daily, from Saturday 19 August to Saturday 16 September, free entry.

More information can be found at www.tcv.org.uk/skeltongrange or call (0113) 243 0815 or email skelton@tcv.org.uk