In the summer of 2017, I teamed up with fellow Taunton artist-in-residence, Christopher Jelley, and we created two huge grass labyrinths – one 20m and the other 10m – the largest labyrinths I’ve worked on to date. In fact, the 20m one – at Longrun Meadow in Taunton, was so big it was almost too much of a long, long walk for people walking it once it was cut, on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year to date.
The Great Get Together
Longrun Labyrinth was a 20m diameter 7-path labyrinth created for ‘The Great Get Together’ weekend, inspired by Jo Cox, MP. It was commissioned by Arts Taunton as a collaboration with fellow artist-in-residence, Christopher Jelley. We had the support of The Friends of Longrun Meadow and the Somerset Wildlife Trust in order to place it in the meadow. It’s now a mappable thing in its own right, on Google Maps.
Pride in Priorswood
The 10m grass Labyrinth at Lyngford Park in the Priorswood area of North Taunton was created for the “Pride in Priorswood’ festival. This labyrinth is a 6-path design, with a pattern that echoes the ‘Indian Labyrinth’ that I taped out on the floor of the gallery for the ‘Into the Labyrinth’ exhibition at Lighthouse two years ago. It’s a beautiful circular shape with smooth curves and turns.
We created it in just a few hours using a bag of flour, a piece of string and a strimmer. It’s legacy will go on much longer – we ran a whole day of labyrinth events during the festival, but since then the labyrinth has been used every day by local children. Running races on it, doing silly walks and doing it backwards were popular on the day, especially anything that involved ‘winning’. The grass labyrinth was a space on which to do battle, to prove who’s fastest on the turns and to challenge friends and families to join in, if they dared. I lost track of how many timed races we’d done, and I lost track of time – the afternoon went by in a blur of speedy children.
The feedback has been fantastic, not least from Taunton Parks Department, who are now looking after these new strange pathways through the grass. It turns out they used to mow a maze in the grass every summer in another park nearby- I hope they can keep this one going for as long as possible…
Thanks to all at ArtsTaunton, Taunton Deane Borough Council Parks Department, Friends of Longrun Meadow, The Somerset Wildlife Trust, Somerset Artworks and Priorswood Community Centre.
Films by Christopher Jelley