Marldon Mosaic

Created in 2022 by the people of Marldon to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of HRH Queen Elizabeth 11

After a long period of lockdown due to Covid we were all ready to get out and meet people again and start doing things. So over coffee and a chat an idea was born. Many new people had moved into the village during the lockdown and many lives had changed forever,we felt what was needed was a project to bring all the community together.  Our aims were:-

  • Getting to know people.
  • Supporting mental health through our craft workshops.
  • Encouraging diversity and sharing of ideas.
  • All age groups to be involved. Learning new skills.
  •  Opening up community activities again after Covid lockdown.
  •  Recording a unique moment in time.
  • Encouraging younger generations to get involved with local history and understand the geography of the area

Our Local History Group has been thriving for 20 years but like most village groups our members are mostly retired folk, we have an amazing archive of material and many stories gathered and recorded from people’s memories. Covid lockdown meant that we couldn’t meet regularly as before, and we recognised the need to involve people again to ensure our group survives going forward. We have long recognised that we need to encourage younger people to get involved and most importantly bring history to life, we now have a Facebook page and are working on a Covid capsule recording people’s memories of the past 2 years. The mosaic is our attempt to bring history to life.

A group was formed to create a Mosaic which is now sited on the Village Hall to commemorate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 and the history of the village for the past 70 years.  Every member of the village has been invited to contribute to this project in whatever way they can. If you have seen the mosaic you will know that there is so much detail, let me walk you through our journey and the mosaic.

Having decided to make a mosaic our first challenge was where to display it, various sites were discussed but as we knew that we wanted it up on display in time for the Jubilee many of those sites had to be discounted almost immediately as we felt that we wouldn’t get the required permissions in time. The Village Hall Council supported our idea and agreed that the mosaic could be displayed outside the hall. After some discussion we decided to site it in a place where people could touch it as we knew we wanted the finished project to be tactile so that visually impaired people can also enjoy it and children can see it. We trust that no one will see this as an opportunity to damage our work. The Village Hall Council were amazing they have supported us in so many ways and without them this project would not have been possible.

We asked the village for suggestions as to what should be on the mosaic, the list was very, very long! It became evident that the majority saw the Apple Pie Far as something that represented Marldon but the wish list of other things to be included was daunting, many hours were spent drawing ideas and coming up with a plan and in the end we decided we needed to include everything we could think of but that in order to do that there would need to be a lot of artistic licence! This was the first experience of making mosaics for most of the group and none of us would describe ourselves as artists! After much deliberation we decided to create a scene around the Apple Pie Fair and of course we had to include the Donkey.

A plea went out to the village for tiles, mosaic pieces and broken china, the response was amazing so many people donated left over tiles etc and even glue, for weeks our treasure troves were filled and even now we are still receiving items that we hope to use in future projects. I cannot talk about the items donated without mentioning a very special addition, one of our group Gill Durbridge had a mother who was employed by Norman Hartnell and who worked on many royal garments. Gill has an amazing scrap book recording many of the beautiful gowns that were made for the Royal Family, not only is it full of pictures but there are actual pieces of fabric and bead work from these beautiful garments, generously Gill has donated some beads from the book to the project and you will spot them taking pride of place in the crown. If you would like to see pictures from the book you will find them on our Facebook page or n the gallery below.

We invited anyone in the village who wanted to be part of the mosaic to come along and add either just one piece or a whole section and for me that has been part of the magic, we have had a huge number of people take part from babes in arms to elderly people and  so many stories are woven into this picture I couldn’t begin to tell them all and some are very personal so not appropriate to share, suffice to say there are stories of love, life and death that only the creators know about. We have had bits added to celebrate births, to remember people long since past, to record a moment for those struggling with terminal illness, to celebrate love, bits that mean something to people because of their connection and  bits added by children that they one day will be able to show to their children. Our motto has become “So much more than wood and broken pieces. Piecing together as a community”

Let me walk you through the picture, as you will have seen it is very detailed. The centrepiece is a tree, half apple for obvious reasons and half oak as we have so many beautiful ancient oaks in the village. The tree is topped by a crown and a ribbon to commerrate the Jubilee, many thanks goes to David Parsons who especially made the numbers and letters for us. Under the tree the apple pie fair is taking place you can see various stalls, the bees tell you where the honey stall is, and you will also see a barbeque, other stalls and various people. Meet our wonky donkey pulling his cart complete with apple pie, you wouldn’t believe what a challenge it was to make this out of tiles and someone very kindly cut up some plant pots to make the wheels for the cart. On the left you will see the Peace Garden made with lots of pieces of old tea cups and plates it is a flower filled delight just like the real thing. Behind the Peace Garden you will see the church, we added a flag flying proudly for the Jubilee and a poppy as a little memorial, many of you will know that the church clock is actually also the village wall memorial we wanted to acknowledge this by depicting it with a poppy.

Moving to the bottom left you will see various people on their way to the Apple Pie Fair notice that some of them are in school uniform, the school is just behind them. We have included a P3 (Footpath Path) sign, you can see a little robin sat on it, our lovely footpath are so integral to the village that we wanted to include them and you will also see various paths woven throughout the mosaic along with lots of flowers and fauna. The Smokey is on the left also flying a flag and at the far left you can see a boundary stone to mark the beating of the bounds. Let your eyes wander up over Aptor and too the beacons on the hill, I wonder how dated these will look in years to come?  Follow the path to the right and you will see the colourful houses of Brockhurst Park made by children. The path then leads to the Playpark, can you spot the castle and swing and all the wildflowers? Moving to the right hand side of the mosaic you will see various fields and farms and of course Blue Mountain and on the far right Compton Castle. Below the Castle can you spot the Jacobs sheep grazing in a field? Can you spot the gorgeous daffodils? Let your eyes wander past the sheep to Butterlake complete with geese and ducks, a gentle stroll takes you back to the Church House Inn with its turquoise door and finally back to the Village Hall where so many of our community activities take place and the mosaic is displayed.

 Along the top of the mosaic you will see a string of bunting, we tried to represent all the activities that take place in the village  and many of the groups made their own piece of mosaic bunting, from left to right we have; Sports including cricket and bowls: Gardening Club: Marldon Local History Group:  The Mosaic Group: Music: Organ Club & Choir: Scouts: Marldon Environment Group: Brownies, Rainbows and Guides: Exercise & Dance: Panto: Crafts: Playgroup & Childrens Groups: Art Group: Womens Institute.

Things to see if you can spot in the mosaic are other bits of bunting, a cat, a dog, blue flowers (gentians), 3 different types of sheep, birds,a butterfly and of course the strawberry to represent us mosaicers who ate an awful lot of cake when making the mosaic! We hope you agree it was worthwhile we certainly had a lot of fun doing it and forged many new friendships along the way.

A huge thank you to everyone who made this possible to many to name, but a special mention must go to Jonathan Hawkins who supported us financially through his locality fund, Derek Hore who did all sorts behind the scenes to help us and also fitted the mosaic to the wall with the assistance of  Les Hartnell and last but not least to Dale and the Village Hall Council for their tremendous support of this project.