Scrap all your preconceptions

sheffield finishedThe bowerbird is an amazing creature that woos its mate by building an elaborate nest decorated with brightly coloured objects – shells, flowers, stones, berries and even plastic or glass.

It is this bird from the southern hemisphere which mixed media artist Nicky Ward has chosen as her inspiration and the name for her art gallery and workshop The Bower Wirks.

Nicky is fascinated by the potential of what is often considered rubbish and she has set up her business to promote sustainable and creative recycling.

Her gallery in Wirksworth contains an intriguing display of beautiful artwork and all of it made from scrap. You could spend hours looking at just one collage marvelling at what can be done with the things we normally throw away.

“The more high quality recycled art I have on display the more inspired people are to value rubbish and use it in creative ways,” she says.

Nicky creates her own artwork and works on commissions but also operates extensively in the community with schools, homes for elderly people and other groups. The results of her collaborative work are springing up all over the county and she is inspiring many people with her handiwork and get-up-and-go attitude.

Each month she has an Art Tea event that celebrates ideas and encourages interaction between the generations. The Thursday evening sessions are open to anyone who wants to get involved and they turn their hands to anything from making rugs and envelopes to creating music. By all accounts there is an fantastic amount of cake eating going on as well.

This year Art Tea gained Arts Council funding to go on tour. The idea was that they collect rubbish from a specific place and create a collage to commemorate the visit.

This summer Art Tea on Tour was in Sheffield, London, York, Langdon in Essex and by the sea at Crosby near Liverpool. A film of their adventures was shown at the Northern Light Cinema during the Wirksworth Festival.

Plans are already afoot for the 2015 tour and Nicky is already brimming with enthusiasm and ideas.

Check out more details about future events either at Nicky’s facebook page thebowerwirks or at her blog

There are details about how to buy the DVD of Art Tea  on Tour – The Movie on the facebook page.