When the RHS selected our proposal for Chelsea 2014, my initial idea for Chris's garden stand was grander on scale and much more ambitious. I wanted to share with you the design for Plan A, which I called 'Sense to Touch'. The idea came from one of Chris's collectors who is blind and the inspiration for his work to be accessible for the public to touch was very important to Chris. I also wanted Chris to feel at ease on the stand during the week of Chelsea so I came up with the idea of a pop-up workshop where he could carve and polish a 'working piece' and for visitors to the stand to watch him at work.
I divided the space into four themed garden settings to help give visitors an idea of what kind of planting would compliment his work and how his sculptures look in actual planted settings. It's a real shame we didn't get the sponsorship this year to carry out my 'Sense to Touch' garden idea, but all is not lost, as we hope to secure a sponsor for Chelsea 2015 and create this garden concept next year.
Plan B! When we had to make the tough decision of scaling down the size of our stand, I went back to the drawing board to see how we could retain some of the original concept yet on a smaller scale. The RHS amazingly found us a brilliant spot right on the corner of Pavilion Way, very close to where our original stand was and right next to one of the main entrances into the Great Pavilion, so when we were offered plot PW36 we jumped at the chance. Our new space, which Chris is currently up at Chelsea building today, is 6m x 3m and has two access points which means that people can step up into the space and it also allows us to 'borrow' the walk way space for people to pause and watch Chris polishing and working on his sculptures.
The 'Sculpture Garden' as it is now known is a simple design that I like to think of as a roof top garden of a collector and who is proudly showing off his amazing collection of Chris Webb sculptures. The planting will be mainly a beautiful mix of luscious green foliages, with soft bamboo creating a natural screening along one of the planters.
With the welcome feature of the stunning Garden Retreat Shelter, which our key sponsor Jacksons Fencing very kindly contributed to my design. The retreat will not only give us much needed shelter from rain, wind, snow or blazing hot sunshine (who knows what the British weather will throw at us in May), but it also creates a wonderful, welcoming space for us to entertain interested collectors/buyers.
I'm really looking forward to meeting up with the two Liz's from Oak End Nursery next week and start planting up the stand. Can't believe how fast it has all come around... and I'm also really looking forward to my good friend Masterchef Quarter Finalist Theo, who's very kindly agreed to unveil Chris's latest work that have been sculpted specifically for Chelsea.