An inspirational Sculpture
Park in the Weald of Kent
The Gardens of Gaia is an imaginative Sculpture Park set in some 22 acres
of woodland just outside Cranbrook, in Kent.
It is a place of tranquillity and inspiration where artists have been
invited to live and work in the forest and create sculptures specific
to the setting. Typical of the exhibits are pine trees sculpted by Giles
Kent, the Ring of Hope by Rick Kirby, also by Rick Kirby is a magical
figure emerging from the still waters of the Lake Chad (a small-scale
replica of Lake Chad in Africa). All these and other works are on permanent
display, to be discovered more or less by accident as you wander through
woodlands where nature has been left undisturbed.
“An extraordinary synthesis
of art and nature”
Clive King, The Times
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Other artists exhibited are a selection
of Britain’s most promising sculptors – Nick Joly, Alan Franklin, Wayne
Markwort, Andrew Horsfall, Karl Vizi, Laura White, Andrew Cheese, Sarah
Fiander, Ann Gillespie, Neil Buxton, Lee Mitchell and Sam Boffey.
The park is the inspiration of young artist and entrepreneur, Peter Bartlett.
“The idea came to me when I was walking the dogs around the woods and
lake on my family’s land. I had known the woods since childhood and everytime
I went back as an adult they never failed to return me to a state of childhood
wonderment. By inviting sculptors to interpret the spirit of the place
I hope to be able to share some of it’s magic.”
around the Gardens of Gaia is to embark on an inspiring voyage. The visitor
is taken unawares, almost every step of the way, glimpsing through uncanny,
unheralded works of art – nature collaborating in the creation of an Arcadian
Philip Vann, Contemporary Visual Arts Magazine
Over a year was spent preparing
the setting for the works of art – with minimal change to the environment.
Peter Bartlett chose artists whose work, though contemporary in spirit,
has a timeless, ethereal quality.
“I asked them to spend a significant amount of time in the park to become
attuned to the feeling of the place before formulating their ideas. Most
spent about 2 months here in total. The inspiration for each piece stems
directly from it’s site – they belong there and no where else. The park
is not intended to be viewed like an art collection. I see the sculptures
as enablers, helping the visitors to experience the spirit of the place.
I hope they will leave with a feeling of peace and optimism.”
sculpture and landscape, materials and elements, Bartlett’s creation is
an al fresco gallery worthy of the goddess Gaia.”
Liz Hoggard, The Independent on Sunday
The sculpture park is set in an
area of Kent that is well worth several days’ exploration. Within a few
miles are the famous gardens of Sinnghurst Castle and Great Dixter, Scotney
Castle and Bodiam Castle. Not far away are the great houses of Knole,
Penshurst, Hever and Chartwell. Few corners of England have such riches.