Waltham Forest Echo

Waltham Forest Echo

Stay close to nature

Helen Bigham from Suntrap invites residents to be inspired by nature Before its closure for major refurbishment, Suntrap Forest Centre commissioned [...]

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Award-winning artist Ayse Rifat was a visitor to Suntrap in her youth and recently returned to sketch nature
By Waltham Forest Echo 09 December 2020

Helen Bigham from Suntrap invites residents to be inspired by nature

Before its closure for major refurbishment, Suntrap Forest Centre commissioned Walthamstow-based artist Emma Smith to capture the site in all its glory.

Art is included in the centre’s curriculum-led offer as it plays an important role in helping to renew or spark a new connection with nature. Award-winning artist Ayse Rifat, speaking about her previous trips to Suntrap during her school days, said: “What I didn’t realise at the time is how much of an impact our trips to Suntrap would have on me.

“I now use my love and passion for British wildlife existing on our very own doorstep to create artwork to raise awareness.”

Dr Ali Foxon, a climate expert, launched Boggy Doodles to encourage people to care about nature. The movement promotes people to make doodles of the natural world to calm a busy, anxious mind. Ali says that training the brain to notice the little things that spark joy boosts resilience to life’s challenges.

This idea resonated with Walthamstow-based artist Sharon Drew and inspired her to start running ‘green sketching’ sessions in Waltham Forest. Sharon said: “With the majestic Epping Forest in full autumn splendour on my doorstep, everything fell into place.”

The theme for next summer’s E17 Art Trail is ‘possible futures’, sharing different ways artists and creatives are adapting their practices in response to the climate emergency. If you’re interested in getting involved in this event, why not go out into local green spaces, be inspired, and maybe get ready to share your personal take on nature?

As American architect Frank Lloyd Wright said: “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”

Green sketching sessions with Sharon Drew cost £30 per person, including materials. The next session is on Sunday 13th December; to book visit sharondrew.com.