Two award-winning artists, poet and writer Clare Best and painter Mary Anne Aytoun-Ellis, embarked on a major collaborative project to explore water sources in Sussex, a county where water has always been scarce. Supported by the South Down National Park, the project aims to help communities reconnect with cultural and historical aspects of water.
To extend their work to exhibitions, collaborations, workshops and talks, Clare Best and Mary Anne Aytoun-Ellis needed to submit a bid that would forge partnerships, convince sponsors and showcase the project’s many layers of sophistication.
The bid document needed to project their creativity, exposing process with unfinished art and early sketches for poetry, showing extracts from journals, notebooks, and photographs of important sites. It seeks to help people think about their relationship with water – in domestic, agricultural and industrial contexts – to protect and celebrate water as a precious nature resource. With the help of experts, it shows how water has shaped our landscapes across history, with springline settlements, dry downland grazing, with legacies of the Tudor iron industry, brewing, brick-making and milling.
I led the design of the bid document to double as an art piece. It clearly expresses the abstract and fragmentary nature of the project: a curation of six years collaborative work. It visually integrates short poetic pieces with water-inspired artwork, notes, historical information, all connected by a brilliant and convincing narrative.
A considered bid and accompanying brochure of the work, a fine curation of the collaboration and elegantly collaged. The successful bid assured project's exhibition at four galleries in the local area and London, as well as talks, workshops and a book publication