'Brainstorming' the art of Peters Village
  • 02 12 2015

'Brainstorming' the art of Peters Village

Source: Steve Loader

Feeling inspired: (left to right) Mike Harvey, Cllr Jenny Head (Wouldham Parish Council), Charles Newington, Ray Sturgeon, Mark Maxwell and Dennis Worcester

Peters Village developer Trenport has staged two successful arts workshops exploring ideas for landmark public art at the site, where housebuilding begins in early 2016.

Nearly 20 people from the neighbouring villages of Wouldham, Burham and Eccles, took up the invitation to attend and work with a creative team to identify themes and designs that might be used to highlight the new community. 

“We wanted local people to say what they wanted the public art at Peters Village to look like, hopefully drawing on strong themes from the past along this stretch of the River Medway’s east bank,” explained Trenport Community Liaison Officer Shirley Boards.

“A love and interest in the local area rather than artistic skills were what was required to ‘brainstorm’ ideas, and our applicants proved to be creative and passionate, coming up with fascinating material. I was also pleased that they were drawn almost equally from the three villages adjoining Peters Village.”

Attendees included Eccles historian Ray Sturgeon (pictured below), who said: “It was a wonderful exercise and good fun, and all credit to Trenport for asking us locals what we wanted to see brightening up Peters Village, rather than simply imposing styles that potentially have nothing to do with our area.”

Two workshops were held, at Wouldham Village Hall on Saturday (November 28), with the first focussing on the area’s industrial history– Peters Village is being built on the site of the former Peters Lime & Cement Works – while the later session concentrated on the rich flora and fauna of the location.

Those taking part were inspired and mentored by prominent artists Mark Maxwell and Charles Newington, and art facilitator Colleen Dunn – the latter pair also contributing to Trenport’s successful ‘Why I Love My Valley’ arts competition for the three local primary schools, held earlier this year.Eccles historian Ray Sturgeon – “A wonderful exercise”

Key to the workshops’ output was suggested motifs for a proposed arched sculpture at the entry roundabout to Peters Village, and these included many images from the former cement works such as the trains and barges that once served the site, bottle and beehive kilns used to create the cement, the works’ array of tall chimneys, and even coopers at work – they made the barrels for transporting the cement.

The afternoon workshop then brought a sharp contrast, with rare flora and fauna of the site being the inspiration: the Marsh Mallow Moth and Adonis Blue Butterfly, the Man Orchid, and bird life, including swans, buzzards and cranes.

Ray Sturgeon

Eccles historian Ray Sturgeon – “A wonderful exercise”