Foreverland Mural celebrates Biodiversity of the Rattlesden Riverland, Stowmarket

November 14, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

The enclosed courtyard garden at Stowmarket Library in Suffolk has recently undergone a remarkable transformation. The library teamed up with local art gallery Fox Yard Studio and sustainable architecture specialists Modece to reimagine the garden as a vibrant community space for all to enjoy. Inspired by the image of book-binding, the project is named 'Stitching Stowe', and weaves together stories of Stowmarket, past, present and future. Stories have been collected from many sources including community engagement events. In Summer 2021, twelve artists were commissioned to interpret those stories and themes on a zodiac of mural panels, each in their own artistic style.

Ipswich artist Loïs Cordelia was chosen to create a mural on the theme of the extraordinary biodiversity of the Stowmarket riverlands of the Rattlesden and Gipping.

She was introduced to local resident Judith Thompson, who kindly showed Loïs around her beautiful riverside small-holding and told her in great detail about some of her magical encounters with the native wildlife.

The mural design was largely inspired by Judith's poem Foreverland which is woven into the riverland map in the centre of the mural itself. Loïs managed to squeeze in fifty-one species (see key below) of animals, trees, plants and fungi, sculpting each one using modelling paste and palette knives, and then bringing it to life with iridescent acrylic paint colours. Foreverland celebrates the extraordinary biodiversity of the River Rattlesden and also of the River Gipping before its canalisation as the Ipswich and Stowmarket Navigation in 1793.

In the words of the Reverend A G H Hollingsworth (in his 1844 book The History of Stowmarket):

"... down to the year 1790 the Gipping presented a scene of quiet beauty, peculiarly English, undisturbed, and partaking of the gentle features of the richly wooded park, or verdant farm .......... as if the river loved to dream ...”

Stowmarket's two rivers led to the town’s growth and prosperity through the ages and this mural especially reflects the rich biodiversity currently evident along the River Rattlesden valley. This valuable wildlife corridor which provides a mosaic of habitats is worth protecting, especially now when we are coming to realise that so much wildlife is under mortal threat.

The highly tactile, semi-relief mural is now on permanent public display in the newly refurbished Stowmarket Library Garden.

Loïs has also been recently commissioned to create one of eight sculptures for the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket, on a similar theme to her Stowmarket Library mural, scheduled to be revealed in Spring 2022.

Key to the Mural

1) Oak Quercus robur
2) Weevil Hunting Wasp Cerceris arenaria
3) Brown Hawker Dragonfly - Aeshena grandis
4) Osier Willow Salix viminalis
5) Red Underwing moth Catocala nupta
6) Peacock Butterfly Aglais io
7) Clifden Nonpareil moth Catocala fraxini
8) Oak Beauty moth Biston strataria
9) Pair of Otters (including one that was rescued by Judith Thompson) Lutra lutra
10) Brown Long-eared Bat Plecotus auritus
11) Stag Beetle Lucanus cervus
12) Coral Tooth Fungus Hericium coralloides
13) Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
14) Common Hop Humulus lupulus
15) Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna
16) Ash Fraxinus excelsior
17) Musk Beetle Lampyris noctiluca
18) Oak Quercus robur
19) Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
20) Turkeytail Fungus Trametes versicolor
21) Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus
22) Great Crested Newt Triturus cristatus
23) Silky Gallows Spider Phycosoma inornatum
24) Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur
25) Redwing Turdus iliacus
26) Holly Ilex aquifolium
27) Mirror Carp Cyprinus carpio carpio
28) Common Bream Abramis brama
29) Common Carp Cyprinus carpio
30) Yellow Striped Bear Spider Arctosa fulvolineata
31) Ivy Hedera helix
32) Red Fox Vulpes vulpes
33) Fieldfare Turdus pilaris
34) Snowdrop Galanthus nivalis
35) Tawny Owl Strix aluco
36) Oxlip Primula elatior
37) Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus
38) Barred Grass Snake Natrix helvetica
39) Primrose Primula vulgaris
40) Snake's Head Fritillary Fritillaria meleagris
41) Water Vole Arvicola amphibius
42) Common Toad Bufo bufo
43) Alder Alnus glutinosa
44) Eel Anguilla anguilla
45) Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
46) Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus
47) Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna
48) Common Lizard Zootoca vivipara
49) Comma Butterfly Polygonia c-album
50) Jay Garrulus glandarius
51) Tree Creeper Certhia familiaris


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