SCULPTOR Fiona Campbell and wood worker Nick Weaver, two of the artists who collaborated in the Step in Stone art in quarries project in Somerset in 2015, have been commissioned to create two focal pieces for an artisan show garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, from 24th to 28th May.
The two artists were commissioned by multi gold-award winning landscape designer Sarah Eberle to make work as part of her garden for Viking Cruises. The garden is inspired by Cambodia’s floating gardens and artisanal fishing techniques in the Mekong River region, following Sarah’s journey on board the Viking Cruises Magnificent Mekong.
Fiona is creating a large canopy inspired by traditional fishing nets and silk weaving and Nick is making a lounger styled on a traditional fishing boat.
The 7 x 5m garden is entirely water with a small deck leading to the boat/lounger and cantilevered canopy suspended above. The beds follow the style of the region and contain an eclectic mixture of fruit, flowers and vegetables. Harvested hazel, other reclaimed woods and a plethora of woven wire, silk and found materials are used to harmonise with the planting.
Fiona was approached by Sarah after seeing her installation piece “Lichen” at the Maureen Michaelson Gallery stand at GROW London last year. Fiona says: “The four- metre textured fishing net/canopy I’m making by hand incorporates fine woven copper wires, twine, silk, wool and other surprising found materials like fish skeletons!
“It’s a long process and an exciting prospect – I’ve not produced work for Chelsea Flower Show before. There will be technical hurdles, but I’m looking forward to weaving and layering it up. I’ll also be creating some wire fishing baskets as props.”
Nick says:: “Working with Fiona last year on Step in Stone was an intriguing and very rewarding experience so I am delighted to be working with her again on this. I love Sarah Eberle’s concept for the garden. Sarah’s photos and stories of the area and traditional boats are really interesting and have inspired our designs. The boat/seat is a fascinating challenge and satisfies my desire to make unique and unusual pieces. I can’t wait to see it all come together at Chelsea.”
Pictured: Fiona Campbell and Nick Weaver cutting hazel for the canopy support. Photo by Alex Crossman; Nick’s carved snake’s head for the lounger; Fiona working on her canopy, and the half-woven canopy.