Easter Sculpture Festival

25 March 2016, 10.00 AM - 28 March 2016, 5.00 PM

University of Bristol Botanic Garden

Musical fountains, grand ceramic bird houses and the head of a Trojan horse are an example of what you can expect at this year's Easter Sculpture event.

The event has become a favourite for families, as well as art and Garden lovers, with the plants in the Garden beginning to stir, flower arriving around every corner and leaves beginning to burst on trees and shrubs.

This year there will be ironwork demonstrations from blacksmith Joanna Willliams of the Underfall Yard in Bristol, and Martyna Zoltaszek will be giving a demonstration of her highly imaginative creative processess on Sunday and Monday. Jo Whiteland will be demonstrating the Malaysian technique of batik on Friday and Saturday, where selected areas of cloth are blocked out by brushing or drawing hot wax over them, and the cloth is then dyed. Jo is inspired by the natural world and her colourful work reflects this. 

Visitors will also be able to try their hand at throwing pots as ceramicist Tez Roberts is bringing her potter's wheel for the first time. After Tez graduated from Wolverhampton in 2003 she set up community arts group, Labyrinth Arts. She now has a studio in the Forest of Dean and uses a variety of firing methods preferring Raku and stoneware.

On Sunday and Monday, willow weaver, Maya Wolfe, will inspire visitors to create a wide array of magical sculptures, including damsel flies and butterflies, to take home with them. Maya is a Bath based artist whose work spans many forms, from sculpture and site specific installation to carnival costume, structures, puppetry and more.

The Glasshouses this year will become an Aviary with a kaleidoscope of birds taking up residence. Zoe Cameron has invited 20 artists and designers to use their ingenuity to create birds from materials as diverse as recycled plastic, bike parts, wood, steel and clay to flourish in the tropical paradise. A special bird spotters guide will aid identification! Also, visitors will be able to buy and rehome a starling with all proceeds going to charities working in the current refugee crisis.

Peter Garrard's 'The Ideal Home' series features palatial bird houses, while Lynda Radford of the Glass Collective uses recycled glass to make the discarded beautiful. Philip Thompson chooses stainless steel for its reflective and contemporary qualities (as can be seen with 'Trojan Horse', right) and bronze for its patination effects.

An exhibition of paintings of rare plants growing in the Avon Gorge and other sites in SW England, including a collection of 13 different species of Sorbus Trees, one of which is the Bristol Whitebeam will be on display. The botanical artists participating are: Annie Morris, Andrea Pomroy, Erica Thomas, Jenny Brooks, Anne Girling and Fiona Williams. The paintings are not for sale but each day one of the artists will be demonstrating and will have cards for sale and prints produced from any of the paintings in the cafe area.

Joining us again this year will be the ceramic garden sculptures of Karen Edwards, as well as the stone sculptures of Jitka Palmer inspired by stories and themes. Also in the Garden will be the impressive stained glass of Jude Goss and Aurora Pozniakow, with 3D glass displays from Adele Christensen, and the ever popular rusty steel garden sculptures of Willa Ashworth will be on show and sale once again.

Tours of the Garden will take place throughout the day at 11.00am, 2.30pm & 3.00pm and refreshments will be available while the event is running.

Admission: Adults £4.50. Free to Friends of the Garden, University staff, students and children under 16 free.

Zoe Cameron brings a murmuration to the Garden.

Joanna Williams, blacksmith. Photograph by Bob Foster.

The Chalford birdhouse by Peter Garrard.