Jo Clayton

I walked from my studio at Grizedale Forest to my home which is a woodland in Bouth. My ‘commute’ from forest to forest is a beautiful one, driving on country lanes – this time, I decided to walk it off-road, which took me through forests, hamlets and nature reserves, keeping fairly close to my usual on-road route. I collected wild flowers, grasses and seed heads on route.

Starting at Grizedale forest, I visited the exhibition space, I took in the current exhibition by wood sculptor David Nash, before I set off walking.

My creation inspired by my Artful Ways walk is a Birch wood vase with a carved Hazel flower & dried flower arrangement, in keeping with the Woodlands and the wildflower edges where I walked.

Answering the three Artful questions

What does creativity/culture mean to me?

I generally think of culture as being about society, how a group of people thinks, what are our social norms, customs & beliefs that define us as the group we are,  i.e. British. Creativity I think is about thinking out of the box, making something, yes, but to be truly creative is to make something new, something that has stretched our mind out of its usual way of thinking. Our culture will effect our creative outputs and when we are creative to the point of presenting new ideas, through art, this can influence a cultural shift. 


Covid 19 and the 1st lockdown opened up new opportunities for me. Things became slower and more localised, I felt a greater sense of connection by having my social contact ‘limited’ to those who live & work in the Rusland Valley, so, working with my local sawmill man for several days felt like a special occasion rather than another job to be squeezed in. I also got the tenancy for my studio at Grizedale forest (as the previous tenant handed theirs in after receiving a gov grant); this has opened up creative connections and support with the other artist/ makers who operate from the same place.

I missed live music & festivals and the collective energy experienced there.

Place – How can we collectively and artfully better care for our environment? 

We can dedicate more space to wildness, in our gardens, the roadside verges, fields, hedgerows. Collectively we can map out the land we own (large or small) and link up the wild spaces, and create larger, joined up habitat and wildlife corridors. I recently read a heartwarming article in ‘positive news’ about 1000 landowners doing exactly this 

Artfully we can express our love for the wild through our creations. Maybe change our culture regarding what we find beautiful in a landscape, there is more abundance of life in the ‘messy’ than in the rolling green pastures or mown lawns. 

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