Image above: Karen Liebreich and Steve Nutt launching Butterflies and Flowers; photograph Torin Douglas
The thousands of butterflies and flowers which a variety of groups all over Chiswick have had fun painting and varnishing over the past few weeks have revealed their purpose.
Surveyor Steve Nutt and theatrical rigger Rory Ferguson spent several days last week putting up a panorama of London by Will Pearson on the wall of Chiswick Police Station and above it camouflage netting to which they attached the 3,000 brightly painted butterflies and flowers.
The police are vacating the building this month and the idea is that it is being taken over by nature. Organised by Dr Karen Liebreich MBE and Steve Nutt of Abundance London, the art work is a real community effort, with schools, the police, passers-by and even newly arrived refugees taking part.
It didn’t stop the officers working in the building last Saturday from trying to arrest them when they started to put it up!
Image above: Sergeant Jim Cope and PCSO Cheryl Spilsbury, who work at Chiswick Police Station
Launching the art work at the Chiswick Flower Market on Sunday, Karen joked about the near arrest, but for a moment the previous Saturday, as they began drilling into the wall of the police station it looked like they might be charged with criminal damage.
Sergeant Jim Cope, who has been based at the station since January but has been in the Metropolitan Police for 23 years, looked a little sheepish as he told me all the teams except one – the officers from Syon – had taken part in a butterfly and flower painting session and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
Of course it was that one team which was on duty at the station when the drilling began. Words were exchanged and names were taken before the email chain was produced proving it had all been agreed and signed off by the police.
Jim and his colleague Cheryl Spilsbury, the longest serving PCSO, who has worked at the Chsiwick station for 14 years, will be based in Hounslow from now on, but with premises in Acton.
Image above: Four year old Marlene Semsch adds the very last butterfly
The last butterfly
The art work was pronounced finished as four year old Marlene Semsch climbed a step ladder under Cheryl’s watchful eye, to attach the very last butterfly.
The concept of of the building being enveloped by nature was developed by Steve and Karen, with Steve designing it on his ipad and Karen involving the whole community in its execution.
Chiswick designer Dawn Wilson created the templates for the butterflies and flowers. The panorama on the wall, Stilled in the Evening, is by photographer Will Pearson.
Many of the public workshops were run by Liz Butler, MA, RWS, whose tulip paintings are used by the Chiswick Flower Market for their banners and posters and Tanya Saunders who teaches children art in her Make & Paint sessions in Belmont Primary school and who also painted the vine snaking its way from the drain to the wall.
Images above: Using a scissor lift to attach the butterflies and flowers; surveyor Steve Nutt and professional theatre rigger Rory Ferguson with his wife Louise beside the Police Station roof
A big thank you
Abundance London would like to thank the following groups for taking part:
“We held drop-in painting sessions at various places around Chiswick for the general public, pupils from 12 local schools (Arts Ed, Belmont, Cavendish, Chiswick School, Chiswick & Bedford Park, Grove Park, Latymer Prep, Ravenscourt Park Prep, Southfields, Strand, St Mary’s and William Hogarth), community groups including Age Concern, the Brownies, Hammersmith Community Garden Association, Metropolitan Police, Speak Out in Hounslow, West London Welcome to refugees and many more”.
“The wall provides a real pop of colour, beauty and fun on the High Road and we’re probably going to need that this autumn” says Karen.
“Particular thanks to Will Pearson for his fabulous photo of the London skyline, to the Metropolitan Police for letting us use their wall, and to the European Regional Development Fund, with HM Government and London Borough of Hounslow for supporting the installation”.
Image above: Professor Jeremy Levy with professionally painted butterflies for auction
Buy a professionally painted butterfly or flower in a secret auction
Karen’s husband Jeremy has also contributed to the project – painting and varnishing and doing his stint on the scissor lift attaching the butterflies and flowers. On Sunday he was on the Abundance London auction stall explaining to passersby that 28 artists, many but not all from Artists At Home, had been given butterflies and flowers to paint and had donated their efforts for auction.
The list of artists is below, so if you know their style you can guess which is theirs, but their work is being auctioned anonymously. The bidding opened on Sunday at Jeremy’s stall and will continue online. Bidding will close at 6.00pm on Wednesday 20 October. The proceeds will go to Abundance London, a not-for-profit, to spend on planting schemes to beautify the area.
These are the artists who have taken part:
Marthe Armitage * Francis Bowyer * Liz Butler * Steph Curtis-Raleigh * Kathryn Davey * Laura Edralin * Kate Fishenden * Rachna Garodia * Laura Gompertz * Annabel Hill * Isobel Johnstone * Louise Kaye * Madeleine Marsh * Jonathan Mercer * Sophie Newnham * Eve Pettitt * Rennie Pilgrem * Ingram Pinn * Glynis Porter * Hamish Pringle * Tommy Robinson * Sangeeta * Tanya Saunders * Mary Shellac * Helga Stenzel * Mary West * Dawn Wilson * Janice Zethraeus
Here’s where you can see all the butterflies and make your bid:
Image above: Butterflies & Flowers, Abundance London
Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar
See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features
Support The Chiswick Calendar
The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.
We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.
To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.