Art Allotments is our collage exchange project where we regularly send each other envelopes containing our rejected art work of drawings, roughs, prints & abandoned ideas together with interesting emphera and text.

One extra condition that we made for ourselves is that once a package is opened the contents must be used to make a collage as quickly & intuitively as possible.


Our latest project, which has taken some months to assume its final shape, is now complete and called …. Seeds of Enlightenment It is an Altered Book … to be exact it is Encyclopedia Britannica Volume 9 (Extraction* to Gambrinus**) from 1950.

An exhibition of all the altered volumes, including ours, opens tomorrow evening September 5th at The Sidney Nolan Trust for H – Art … Herefordshire Arts Week

Encyclopedia Britannica is now digital and no longer printed, the now transformed volumes in the exhibition were originally destined to be pulped. Instead, earlier this year, Artists were invited to take a volume from a 1950’s collection and create something new. Our altered volume … (jointly created … Heather Prescott and Angela Martin) is the result of a hybrid propagation of volume 9 and our ongoing work with Art Allotments. Our exploration excavates the roots of Encyclopedia Britannica and takes a sideways look at the dissemination and dispersal of the seeds of knowledge and parallels with the seeds of creatiivity.

First the centre pages of Volume 9 were dug out. This created a space to display a collection of seed packets made from the extracted paper. We created our own thistle logo and an Art Allotment brand of Prescott & Martin seeds. Each packet contains thistle and paper seeds made from the cut away pages. The resulting varieties are named with reference to Scottish enlightenment philosophers and scientists influential at the time of the founding of the first Encyclopedia Britannica in Edinburgh in 1768.

Our display places the encyclopedia volume in a box or propagator. This box relates both to providing the right growing environment and to the boxes that transported the Encyclopedia Britannica. We have added compost and materials to ensure the (seeds of) knowledge in Encyclopedia Britannia have good conditions to grow, spread, adapt, hibernate, germinate, regenerate or even to ferment**. Throughout we recognise the importance of “weed seeds “that grow along the margins through dispersal and diasporas and, importantly, can survive hostile environments.

While this blog has become intermittant Art Allotments is still an ongoing collage project which packs recycled artwork, and other visual material in an envelope. The envelopes are exchanged between artists and a collage made. The concept aims to grow ideas and inspiration for new artwork. ‘Compost from leftovers for creative regeneration.’

After H-Art week the exhibition will travel to Bristol and Manchester … details to follow.


Art Allotments has been running projects and workshops over the past months and an update on developments is long overdue. Today in a pop up shop there was an all day event. Drop in visitors of all ages made collages from envelopes and / or leaves for the art allotments bean plant.


Although this blog virtually stopped for months on end the project carried on. There were more workshops and occasional exchanges of envelopes between Angela & myself.

However 2012 has brought new ideas, new enthusiasm, and new plans for workshops and exhibitions.

The reason Art allotments keeps going is the positive impact the collages have on creativity. When ideas flag, a project hits the wall or a design gets stuck and generates rejects and a lot of recycling it helps to put it to one side and open an Art Allotments envelope instead.

The alternative is abandon a current piece of work and change direction then put the rejects in an envelope and put in the post.

Here are the most recent results.


Here are a few more images. More good feedback keeps coming in but one postcard was very moving. Someone took an envelope away and then returned the flower image she had created writing on the bottom edge of the card “Go cancer” It brought home to me again how “art can seriously improve someones well being”


Yesterday was the official opening of the exhibition at the SPARC centre Gallery in Bishops Castle. A steady flow of visitors of all ages came and saw the exhibition, made a postcard & ate cake.

The exhibition will be up until the end of the month.

As the wall of images built up over the morning people became ever more creative. It was a strange feeling to think that this part of the project which we had been involved in for nearly two years was coming to an end. Angela & I have resolved that we will continue to share collage envelopes between the two of us and wait and see – what next. We still have a basket of envelopes left – so who knows what we will use them for in the future. Ideas, I feel, are already rising to consciousness.