Environmental blog: ‘An eco-centric approach’

Challenges!  We face them all the time.  These days there are particular concerns about our effect on the natural world, and how it affects our future and the future of the planet.  Importantly, what can we do to mitigate the impact of our actions?

This idea underpins the Court Barn exhibition, ‘The Creative Circle: Eco-conscious Design and Craft’, which runs until 8 September this year.

While the exhibition will open eyes to creative answers to the challenge, eco-consciousness is embedded in the origins of the Museum and in its present practice.  C R Ashbee moved the Guild of Handicraft to Chipping Campden in 1902 in search of ‘The Simple Life’, closer to nature, artistic vision and healthy pursuits.  It has to be admitted that home-grown vegetables, open-air swimming and country walks or bicycle rides did not, in the view of some Guild members, wholly make up for the lack of London amenities or indoor sanitation.  Nonetheless, inspiration . . .

The bathing lake in Campden

How does the Museum uphold the ideas which can today be typified as respect, recycle and re-use?  Recently a children’s workshop was offered to local schools and was taken up enthusiastically.  7 to 9 year olds were treated to a visit to the one remaining fruit orchard in the town, to explore the range of wild-life habitats it offered.  This richness would have been lost, had the orchard been sold for building land.  Inspired, the children thought about the plants and wildlife, then returned to the Museum to design their own art work, such as badges with a natural motif, made with found or re-cycled materials.

Stained glass windows made with found pieces from Wolds End Orchard

In the Museum we try to be eco-conscious.  Day-to-day consumables such as paper and wrapping materials are, where possible, FSC certified.  We showcase a local story and support it with a shop selling locally-produced craft, meaning that mileage is kept low.  Similarly, our exhibitions draw on local resources.  Additionally, although each show is freshly and attractively presented, display boards and cases are usually re-cycled from earlier events, with just a new configuration, coat of paint or lining material to enhance the impact.

We’re trying to meet the eco challenge. It may have grown harder since Ashbee’s time, but we will continue to look for more ways to do so.