Secret Gardens August/October 1988

Submitted by root on Fri, 06/08/2012 - 13:38

'The universal concept of the secret garden, ancient and hallowed, is vital to psychic life, whether as a creation of the imagination, or as a real place.'   

'Your high walls enclose a small patch of sky and earth, a microscopic landscape   where each object is so essential that it is … reduced to a symbol.'       

-- Meinrad Craighead  'Elemental Symbols'

'Secret Gardens' was one of a series of exhibitions with the overall title: 'How Does Your Garden Grow' - taking the garden as its central image.

'Secret Gardens' looked into the hidden side of life, and these gardens - padded, quilted and collaged - batik and woven- embroidered, painted and printed - are the gardens of the mind; the gardens of our collective unconscious; the gardens of symbolic myth. They embodied private thoughts and ancient feelings; they evoked 'the whole poetry of creation': regeneration and continuity; fertility and growth, and the endless renewal of life.'

The Artists and Their Work:

Elizabeth Mellor (Oswestry, Shropshire)

Her three works exhibited were from a series of six called 'The Garden Series', in which the image of the garden is used entirely as "a symbolic representation of finite creation". She said: "Although gardens represent universal ideas, I also wanted to use images which were not just of the 'collective', but understood by personal experience."


Her work was about  'creation' and 'creativity'. She researched historical and literary creation myths from around the world, and examined reasons why people need to be creative.

Liza Collins (London)

Liza's tapestries were all woven using the traditional 'Goblin' technique and were made of hand-dyed woollen weft yarns on a cotton warp.



She said:  "In my images the 'garden' also represents continuity and regeneration; not only of nature but also of the human spirit. Motifs that derive from buds, seeds, flowers and fruit are used as emblems that celebrate fertility, growth and the endless renewal of life. For me the garden contains the whole poetry of creation; it's strange and fascinating workings, its patterns and processes and its capacity to evolve and change."

Pauline Slater (Preston)

Pauline's work was a little different - A Mourning Banner for Emily Bronte  

A moving and personal statement by one woman artist about another - and yet it was also a universal statement created for all women everywhere. It is a secret garden of the imagination.    

Gloria Ramsey (Leicester)

Her  'Secret Garden' was, on the one hand, a portrayal of a 'real' garden - but was also that 'secret, ancient and hallowed place' of our dreams. For, as if in a dream, the vital keyhole becomes huge... taking up the whole space...and at the far end of the garden... another gate... leading out ..…to who knows where ...?

Claire Johnson (Northwich, Cheshire)

Claire's two pieces were from her 'Clover' series of 3D works, all of which took inspiration from the growth of clover shapes and the fading and decay of clover colours.



Nicolette May (Kingston-upon-Thames) had just received her degree from Liverpool Polytechnic, she specialized in fabric design.

All of the works were for sale except for the 'Mourning banner'. All artists were happy to take commissions.