We have more or less recovered from our most recent public event here at Ruskin Land which combined Big Draw and Apple Day celebrations. It was great to be able to link the tremendous work being done in and around the Wyre Forest to maintain and enhance traditional orchards and the great variety of fruit they contain, with a more recent initiative which aims to encourage people to observe, draw and enjoy being creative.
The Big Draw is a global celebration of drawing which takes place every year in October. This year with the Wyre Community Land Trust we organised three days of artistic activities at Ruskin Land in the Wyre Forest, including the scientific process of making charcoal to draw with. The theme of the Big Draw 2016 is S.T.E.A.M. – science, technology, engineering, art and maths. The aim is to get the missing A into S.T.E.M. – the Government initiative in schools, and to highlight the huge importance of the arts in all areas of education. John Ruskin would approve. He believed in the value of drawing as a way of appreciating the world around us. The Guild of St George, Ruskin’s charity, funded the Big Draw when it was first set up many years ago and continues to do so for this very reason.
On Thursday, families from Birchen Coppice Primary School attended the event at St George’s Farm. They produced lots of the lovely work you can see here, including the pastel drawing of fruit by Gerald the premises manager.
On Saturday, we celebrated national Apple Day which has become an established date in the calendar since it first took place in Covent Garden, London in 1990. We organised a range of fruit-related activities including juicing, apple bobbing and the longest peel competition (won by Jake). A display of over 20 varieties of apple grown in local orchards included the variety reputed to be Ruskin’s favourite, the Ribston Pippin.
Altogether, over the three days, more than 100 people visited Ruskin Land. They met and drew the working horse Duke, spent time being creative, heard about the work of the Wyre CLT, and enjoyed soup, cake and marshmallows round the bonfire.
We have now mounted a small exhibition at Bewdley Museum which shows the wonderful creations from the event by people of all ages, from 18 months to 83 years old. Oscar, pictured below, enjoyed the event so much he came every day! The exhibition runs until Sunday 27th November (winter opening 10am-4pm, Friday, Saturday and Sundays).