Cambridgeshire village setting jelly art in stone
Jelly has managed to wobble its way into the centre of Theories of Home, a public art project based in Histon and Impington.
The aim is twofold: the first is to help the villagers rediscover the joy and fun of making jelly with whole fruit, and the second part is to create a series of small sculptural artworks – inspired by the tasty treat.
It’s probably unsurprising that jelly is having a part to play in Histon and Impington, the area was once the home of Chivers Jams and Jellies.
Theories of Home has been commissioned by village resident and public art consultant, Alison Turnbull.
So far, the project has involved investigations into jelly, workshops to design new and traditional shapes for jelly, and the tasting of flavour combinations.
The Scouts, Brownies, and Mad Hatters have all taken part, along with many people who visited the market stalls at the Histon country market.
“I pitched the idea of a community-led public art project to the parish council,” explained Alison, “having carried out some research into attitudes towards public art in the village.
“I put together an artist brief and we recruited an artist specifically for a project that would fulfill some of the ambitions that we’d uncovered in the research.
“We knew the thing the community was keen on were artworks which are fun and quirky – and one of the themes which we tested was the idea of the Chivers Jams and Jellies because they were such an important part of the history of the village, and there were so many people who remember working in the factory.”
The artist recruited was Charlotte Howarth, artistic director of Making-Marks Ltd.
Charlotte said: “I’ve rediscovered the joy of jelly myself through this project, and have found new flavour combinations including adding gin.
"Now I’m really excited about carving the sculptures.”
Charlotte has made two sets of maquettes – one based on traditional geometric jelly ideas and the other based around animals, due to the discovery of the popularity of rabbit-shaped jelly moulds and of using lime jelly for the grass.
The community is being invited to vote for its preferred set, on Facebook and in the library from April 18.
The final selection will then be carved in stone byCharlotte, and cast in bronze and glass to create a series of small sculptures.
Each sculpture will be fixed to an oak post with stainless steel around the village.
All of the designs will also be available as vac-formed jelly moulds, which will be available for everyone in the community, to bring a homemade jelly to the Histon Feast on June 30 for a ‘jelly-off’ competition.
Alison said: “The art is being carved in stone and then cast in bronze and glass. So there will be three lots of three pieces of art – three shapes carved in stone, three in bronze and three in glass.
"They’ll be grouped in threes and located in three different locations around the village.”
She added: “It’s about reinventing the habit and the joy of making jelly, and then it’s about having a series of small-scale sculptures that reference the tradition of jelly in Histon and Impington.
"The artworks are made by the artist and the jelly is made by the community.”