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A Commonwealth of flowers

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: July 06, 2012

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EXETER Cathedral Green will be blooming lovely next week as more than 100 giant resin flowers spring into life.

The blooms have been created by youngsters from 46 different Devon schools and represent the countries of the Commonwealth.

The Art Project has been created by Phil Creek, art advisor, as part of the Majestic Flower Festival being held at the Cathedral.

As we reported in last week's Echo, from July 11 to 15 the historic building will play host to its first flower festival in more than a decade to mark the culmination of The Third Millennium Appeal and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Virtually every area of the building will be decorated in colourful sculptures of plants and trees. They will cover the chapels, naves, high alter and even the floor.

The festival is being co-ordinated by Jill Taylor, campaign director at Exeter Cathedral, and she was keen to see the outside of the building looking just as colourful as the inside.

Last year a project entitled The Flock, inspired by the famous cow parade, saw 170 colourful sheep decorated by youngsters at Devon schools go on display on the cathedral green.

This project was organised by Phil with the Devon Learning and Development Partnership.

It was produced to celebrate the completion of the refurbished green.

"That project was a great success so Jill contacted me and asked if I could do something similar as part of the flower festival," said Phil.

"We came up with the idea of the giant flowers and as the theme is Majesty, thought it would be good to have them decorated with designs based on the 53 countries of the Commonwealth.

"I then contacted the schools to see if they wanted to take part and was delighted when 46 said they would."

The three dimensional, fibre-glass resin flowers are one and two metres tall and during last month groups and whole classrooms of children and young people have been hard at work decorating them.

"We let the schools decide which countries they wanted to represent, as many have links with them," said Phil. "We gave them information about the contemporary and traditional designs from each of the countries and then left it up to the children's imagination to do the rest.

"I have seen a few as they have been worked on and they are amazing. There will be around 136 flowers on the green if they all come back and it will be truly stunning to see.

"This has been a great project as it has encouraged the youngsters to research the countries and use their imaginations to create the art works."

The painted flowers will be delivered by the schools and then 'planted' on Exeter Cathedral Green between July 11 and 15. The Jubilee Art installation is being funded by the Community Spaces programme, administered by Groundwork UK and the Big Lottery Fund.

The flowers will form a 'guard of honour' along the processional steps leading visitors into the Cathedral and the Flower Festival itself. It is free to view.

Local schools taking part include St Leonard's Primary in Exeter.

Years 4 and 5 have been working with teacher Ruth Milankovic creating their flowers.

"The children have been working very hard decorating the Jubilee Rose and the Indian Daisy," she said. "It has been a very interesting project and we cannot wait to see them on the green."

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