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Local student artists attracts attention with ‘insect hotels’

By WBCraig  |  Posted: December 09, 2013

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Artist Sophie Stanley (left) and Jacqui Owen, Gyllyngdune's visitor and education officer, with some of the Insect Hotels

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THE work of a local student artist has attracted lots of attention, earning her a new commission to create ‘insect hotels’ inspired by Cornish coastal villages.

Local artist Sophie Stanley was asked to design the insect habitats at Gyllyngdune Gardens after her previous installation at Trelissick Garden – of a giant bees nest – attracted a great deal of attention.

The third year contemporary craft degree student was commissioned to create a variety of small houses, emulating Cornish seaside homes.

“Trelissick opened up a new opportunity for me to work in a garden rather than a gallery,” said Ms Stanley.

“Putting art in an unexpected location involves more people in art who maybe would not have seen themselves as art lovers.”

Insect hotels are habitats made entirely out of natural materials which provide insects with refuge and nesting facilities, particularly during winter.

“It’s interesting to create something which is going to be destroyed,” added Ms Stanley.

“It is different from normal art which is made to retain a value. This will degrade with the environment.”

The artist worked closely with Jacqui Owen, visitor and education officer at Gyllyngdune Gardens, and head gardener Matt Stannard.

Each house is filled with natural materials and topped with ‘succulents’ – plants which store water in their fleshy leaves – from the Gyllyngdune greenhouse.

“Sophie's work is fresh and exciting and we were really keen to support her,” said Ms Owen.

“She was purposely given a very open brief to ensure that she wasn't creatively restricted, where she was asked to come up with something that was organic and in harmony with the gardens, as well as providing a home for the local insect population.

“The houses look fantastic now that they are in situ and we hope that this will be the beginning of more collaborations to introduce sculptures to enhance the gardens.”

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