Tatton park: Creative Cultivations by Artist in Residence: Christine Wilcox Baker
Indeed, in the soil itself, as Christine Wilcox Baker’s new works for Tatton Park are inspired by and entitled ‘Cultivate and Celebrate: Treasures of the Kitchen Garden’.
Ever wondered why a tulip is considered more beautiful than a bean flower; a rose bush more pleasing than a potato plant in full bloom? These, and many other questions about our perceptions of ‘natural’ beauty and the value we place on the food we grow and consume, will be explored by Christine over the coming months.
Christine’s interest in art in nature developed when she undertook an M.A. in Art as Environment at Manchester Metropolitan University, completed in 2008. Commissions have included a large scale installation, using natural materials, for All Saints Church, Daresbury (the ‘Lewis Carroll’ church’), to celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the birth of Lewis Carroll and a floating garden for Ellesmere Port Boat Museum.
Born and bred in Cheshire and currently living near Knutsford, Christine has been a frequent visitor to Tatton since childhood and has a real appreciation of this special place. In recent years, she has been intrigued by the relationship between Tatton’s Kitchen Garden and the Mansion Kitchen. Christine commented “The Mansion is full of treasures – items to be valued, celebrated and looked after and this inspired me to look at the treasures of the kitchen garden”.
Christine’s explorations will bear fruit in a series of ‘living’ works in progress, drawings, photography and paintings sited in both the Gardens and Mansion. This body of work will evolve and grow during the months of her residency.
Visitors will be able to get their first ‘taste’ of her work in an exhibition ‘Cultivate and
Celebrate: Treasures of the Kitchen Garden’ from Friday 23rd October to Sunday 1st November (closed Mondays), featuring growing works in the Kitchen Garden and the Mansion’s Library, Dining Room and Kitchens.
On Friday 30th October, visitors can experience an ‘Amuse Yeux’ in a drop-in event in the Kitchen Garden. Christine will be working with the garden staff to create art with plants and will be inviting visitors to ‘grow their own smile’. The Main Course will be served in spring 2010!
Christine hopes her work will inspire people to ‘treasure’ food and the growing process “My work invites the visitor to look differently at food and to focus not just on the harvest but also on the whole cultivation cycle and the beauty of the entire plants. My aim is to highlight the real value of the gift of food, how I believe we should not take it for granted, and to remake the links between the Kitchen Garden and the Mansion Kitchen”.
Cultivate and Celebrate: Treasures of the Kitchen Garden takes place from Friday 23rd October to Sunday 1st November (closed Mondays) in the Mansion and Gardens. Normal opening times and prices apply.
Christine’s residency has been funded and supported by: Arts Council England, Tatton Park Trust and Tatton Park.