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Lincoln Cathedral Flower Festival - British Flower Eco Exhibit

Lincoln Cathedral - a new location for Evolve to exhibit in, despite being in the area for decades we had only visited a handful of times. The last being in February when the enormous Museum of the Moon exhibition was hosted. 
The architecture is amazing, gargoyles and sculptures imbedded into the stonework, their odd faces peering out at angles. The Cathedral is huge; when I received the Vision Flower Festival design brief sent by Designer Maggi Connor I knew I had an extra-large task looming! 
I absolutely love creating large scale exhibits - aiming to make them planet friendly - foam free, eco exhibits; thriving on the problem solving and challenges that develop through the process. Large scale installations are about practical solutions - plenty of water and well conditioned British grown flowers that will last the duration of the event, choosing flowers that can create impact, interpretation of the brief so the visitors understand the the theme straight away and of course oodles of impact and scale! Not forgetting of course.... health and safety, getting in and out of the venue safely and making sure the construction will fit in the van!! The trolley and ladders are on the top of the kit list always! Mr Fixit clocked up 15,500 steps on day one!!
Our more recent past exhibits have all been at scale - since founding Evolve in 2017 we have created several large installations...Helen dreams the vision and Mr Fixit creates the structures! 
So back to the design brief, the past few months have been all about creating the design to depict the story of visionary Sir Isaac Newton, born in Woolsthorpe in Lincolnshire.  We wanted to celebrate some of his amazing discoveries such as the The Law of gravity by adding Newtons cradle and the all important apples that fell from the famous tree still protected by the National Trust at Woolsthorpe Manor. 
Sir Issacs work with prisms in the mid-1600s led him to the discovery of the visible spectrum of light. Newton observed the way each colour of light would bend as it passed through the prism and this ultimately gave us the colour wheel that artists like us reference daily in our design work.
The plinth for the design was 8ft in diameter and beautifully prepared and in place for us to construct on top of. Firstly the tree trunk had to be built - a hollow structure created from the metalwork that builders use for reinforcing concrete! We always strive to use what we have and there is always something 'useful' around us! Welded to a heavy metal plate it was ready to decorate and convert into a contemporary apple tree. This is Mr Fixit's specialty!
The design was mocked up back at base - we arrived at the Cathedral and the steward advised we needed to keep the area where the security laser beams were located empty - adapt is what we do best; we adjusted the design to fit. Branches were added and secured and the tree started to take shape. 
The vision was to create four seasons on one tree - including an apple blossom effect with Statice and pink Gypsophila, lots of British Bramley apples kindly sponsored by Worldwide Fruit in Spalding hanging from the branches and fallen from the tree.
Newtons cradle was crafted out of mini apples and birch branches and added to the centre of the design. 
Sustainably sourced sphagnum moss from Norfolk was used around the base and on the tree trunk.
A polychromatic profusion of British blooms adorned the outer semi circle and includes Zinnia elegans Benary's Giants, Helianthus Sunflowers Helios flame and Procut Gold Light, Craspedia globosa, Limonium Statice sinuatum and Solidago. Echoing the refraction of light through Sir Isaacs prism. All the flowers are sourced from within just 40 miles of Spalding making them low-carbon too.
The rainbow effect of the polychromatic colours used echoes Newtons Theory of light; with the stunning backdrop of the stained glass windows being reflected in the mirrors that meander through the 'roots' of the tree. 
Thank you to the Flower festival design team for working tirelessly behind the scenes to prepare this spectacular event in the months beforehand and enabling us the opportunity to decorate such an amazing building.
What an honour it has been, we have been delighted with the feedback and comments on social media and from visitors. This is why we make these displays - we can, so we do, we share and we hope to bring a bit of joy and inspiration to all who visit and celebrate with us how privileged we are to work with British blooms from Lincolnshire and the neighbouring counties.
With Special Thanks to....
Worldwide Fruit Ltd for British grown Bramley apples 
British Flowers Direct for British grown flowers from local flower farmers in Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.
Blooms Floral Imports Ltd for Salal foliage on the tree branches
Maria Wolens for helping with set up and preparation.
Jacqui Owen for motivational and design brainstorming!
Julie Pearson NDSF GCGI Cert Ed AFIoPF Floral Designer & Trainer for the wooden screens used on the base of the exhibit.

Large scale installations by Evolve 

  • The Spiral Meadow at the Garden Museum 2018 for British Flowers Week
  • Leeds Castle Flower Festival 'Ladies Day' 2018 placed in the Spiral Staircase 'The Spiral Spa'
  • Leeds Castle Flower Festival Celebrating 900 years 2019 Lady Baillies bedroom 'The Interlude'
  • RHS Chatsworth Floral Immersion 'The Immersive Spiral Meadow' 2019
Find out more about creating sustainable flower displays on our workshops page.

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