I was approached by Jemima Burrell, Cultural Consultant for Knight Dragon and curator at the NOW Gallery regarding a bespoke birdwatching logbook for the habitat and development on Greenwich Peninsula, home of the O2 and the Emirates Cable Cars. There is a vibrant community in this iconic area, and the planned housing and innovative creative spaces projects are a powerful draw for residents in the city of London.
Within this burgeoning occupation and habitation, Jemima and her team are keen to promote the small things; the potentially forgotten things; the equally valuable yet underappreciated things such as: the birds of Greenwich Peninsula. As a result, they are going to get their very own bespoke birdwatching logbook.
I met Jemima and we walked to the Ecology Park past Antony Gormley’s Quantum Cloud and the banks of reeds lining the waterfront, with the cable cars silently traversing the sky overhead; the passenger planes less so!
The area of wetlands and scrubby vegetation must be such a welcome refuge for the local wildlife, and we met a team of conservation volunteers working on the habitat underneath the alder trees. Airy birches rustled alongside the reeds, and the clear water showed submerged grasses and plants – great for invertebrates. It’s an overused term to call such places an oasis, but this one truly is.
Jemima left me to explore as she headed back to continue with her curation of the latest exhibition at the Gallery. I strolled down to the waterfront again, looking to settle on the inspiration for the front cover and centre pages.
Now the the work on my house has largely been finished, I have unearthed all my art materials and am able to pick and choose what media as it is all handy on a pegboard. I had brought a Clairefontaine linen-bound sketchbook and my Derwent Graphitint pencils with me for this trip as if it had started raining, the soluble pencils would have been fun, and the paper robust enough to tolerate an impromptu wash. As it was, the weather was bright and breezy, so I decided on a view of the cable car and the reedbeds. The silvery-sage of the Phragmites foliage tied in nicely with the graphite tones of the sculpture and the cool shimmer of the Thames, and the frosted purple hue of the seedheads picked up the livery of the cable cars. I think I will try this out with some paints and see if it works as a cover.