Picture perfect mural highlights important project

November 15, 2019

At YDMT we are passionate about the plight of pollinators and how we can all join together to help create patches of meadow to reverse their decline.

Our Bee Together project – supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players – aims to create a corridor of these important habitats between Leeds and Lancaster, contributing to a national network of ‘B-Lines’ mapped by Buglife.

B-Lines are a series of ‘insect pathways’ running through our countryside and towns. Buglife are working with a number of partners to restore and create wildflower-rich habitat stepping stones – ideal for pollinators like bees and butterflies and a host of other wildlife. This B-line crosses the Yorkshire Dales, the Aire Valley and Lancashire and will help pollinators expand into new locations and move from area to area across a network of new habitats.

Helping us to raise the profile of the project is Lauren Smith who has produced this wonderful mural at Steep and Filter in Skipton. Here, she tells us about her journey to being an artist and why she created the mural.

Hi Lauren, how did it all start?

Blame social media! I follow lots of artists and slowly got obsessed with making paper. I watched how people did it and then just decided to give it a go. I got quite good at it and it spiralled from there. I have invested in some large equipment to take it further forward and that is coming from New Zealand. It’s turned from a mild obsession to a full one!

Is it something you’d like to take even further?

Yes. I am a freelance artist who specialises in illustration, calligraphy and wedding stationary. As I have got funding for a printing press I will hopefully be able to bring both together which is very exciting. The equipment is arriving in the next few weeks and my press is being restored. I’m moving house to get more space!

So how did the mural come about?

I heard about the Bee Together project through Catherine Mercer; if I have any questions about wildlife or bees I always go to her. The previous mural at Steep and Filter was a jasmine stem and I wanted to update it and make it more connected to Bee Together. I had a number of different wildflowers in my garden and that is what I have used as inspiration. Most of my art is nature focused, specifically looking at botanicals. This was more challenging but something I really enjoyed doing.

This will stay up over the winter and then I will have a look at doing another in Spring.

The bees in the mural are staggering!

They are! I was completely clueless about how many species of bees there are. I asked Catherine to send me a list I could choose from and it was massive. I chose three bees that look quite different and it really does work.

We love it … the customers at Steep and Filter must do too?

A couple of people have pointed it out – especially the regulars. It is certainly a talking point in the café.

Why did you do this at Steep and Filter?

I work here but it really does fit with the ethos of the venue. It helps communicate to new customers what the vibe is and what our ethics are. Some people just do come in just for a coffee so I am hoping this helps them make the connection.

You can find out more about Lauren here.