Local community invited to reflect on what lockdown has meant to them on the ‘Tree of Plenty”

On the junction between Kingston, Sturton and Hooper Street, an eye-catching, colourful tree has appeared decorated with garlands, ribbons, beads and wonderful messages.

This Tree of Plenty is the inspiration of our Artist in Residence at Ironworks, Hilary Cox Condron, who was keen to engage with the local community and help them mark their experiences and memories of lockdown.

Hilary explains,

“Art and nature really helped me through the lockdown period and I wanted to create something for the local community that could be used to stimulate peoples imagination and allow them to think about what they want to take away from the lockdown experience.

“I asked residents to make a Garland of Thanks to put on the Tree of Plenty so they could share who or what has been important to them, give thanks and most of all spread of little joy. The reaction to it so far has been really positive and I am so impressed with what has been created.”

Local resident Julie brought along a beautiful stream of ribbons and beads that she made for a project. She is already retired and said lockdown hadn’t made that much difference to her.

Sue bought some rosemary from her garden, a herb of remembrance which has been tied to the bottom of the tree.

Many others have posted about time spent homemaking, mending sheds, making sourdough bread, tending to allotments that have never looked so good and going through old photos and memoirs. Another resident has even seen butterflies in his garden for the first time whilst others spoke about goldfinches, ladybirds and even grass snakes.

Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Housing at Cambridge City Council and CIP board member adds, “The Tree of Plenty is a wonderful addition to the Mill Road area and a lovely way to positively reflect on what has happened this year. As a partnership we have commissioned an extensive programme of public art across our programme of new housing with a number of different artists, including Hilary, who are working with the existing community to create stunning artwork that will eventually be installed across our developments.”

As part of the programme, titled Resonance Cambridge, the artists commissioned will be delivering a range of talks, walks, workshops and much more in collaboration with local residents over the next few years. The activities and stories collected will inform the design and character of the artworks commissioned for the new public spaces being created.

At the former Mill Road depot, we are building 236 new studio, one and two bedroom apartments and two, three and four bedroom houses, 118 of which are council rented homes. Known as Ironworks, the scheme has been designed to reflect the industrial character of the area by combining bold and contemporary design to create a distinctive collection of homes, in keeping with the aesthetics of the area.

For further information about the public art programme ‘Resonance-Cambridge’ and to find out about events taking place in locations across Cambridge please visit www.resonance-cambridge.co.uk

For those interested in sharing their thoughts and stories with Hilary please contact her at hilarycoxcondron@gmail.com. Hilary will be holding an ‘Resonate and Reconnect’ exhibition at The Museum of Cambridge in December.