CERAMIC GARDEN PROJECT UNVEILED

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The Ceramic Garden project has seen more than 1000 flowers individually sculpted, inspire by 2014’s remembrance poppy day display at the Tower of London.

Richard Flatley, project co-ordinator, has overseen 500 people create the flowers, predominantly at Sandwell disability day centre Creative Arts in Oldbury, but there have been 30 other collaborative workshops across the Black Country.

He said: “Our project has improved a lot of people’s lives – we have relevance in the community. We’re spreading the name of Sandwell in a positive way.

“Visually it’s brilliant. We’ve been working on it since January up close, but we haven’t seen it assembled. To see it like this is quite jaw-dropping, I think there is a spiritual element to it too. We first assembled it outside and a hornet came and landed on one of the flowers, which was quite special.”

Flowers have been made by the likes of Mayor of Sandwell Councillor Barbara Price, ceramic artist Jon Williams and groups such as Sandwell Young Offenders.

Councillor Susan Downing, who was present at the launch at Tipton Library, said: “It has been a great success in the collaboration of many groups of young, not so young and those with physical and learning difficulties.

“It makes me proud of what they have achieved and of my small contribution to the display. I joined in with a group of partially sighted participants to make and paint some of these lovely flowers, and to be truthful they put me to shame with their expertise. But it just goes to show what can be achieved when we all work together to one aim.”

The flowers can now be viewed at Tipton Library and are due to be shown in other areas across the region and potentially the nation, later this year.

Words by Doug Wootton

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