Community volunteers in Enfield, London N14 have taken their local park in Conway Road Recreation Ground into their hearts with the aim of protecting it for future generations. TSJ reports.
Nestled within a residential suburb of north London lies a small gem of greenspace that is inspiring youngsters to learn about wildlife.
Community volunteers in Enfield, N14 have taken their local park in Conway Road Recreation Ground into their hearts with the aim of protecting it for future generations.
The group Friends of Conway Rec saw an opportunity to use the park to educate school children about the surprising number of species of flora and fauna that make their home in the park, which also includes a central pond bustling with wildlife.
They invited south London-based artist Tamara Froud to create a mosaic ‘learning circle’ to help set children on the path of wildlife knowledge.
As with all of Tamara’s mosaic works, she immediately earmarked products from Liverpool-based Palace Chemicals and Laticrete UK to help with bringing the learning circle to life.
Palace Chemicals, UK manufacturing licensee for Laticrete UK’s award-winning range of adhesives, grouts, and waterproofing products, has been the first-choice supplier for Tamara for more than five years.
“I’ve always been delighted with their products,” said Tamara. “I can’t imagine any other products that even come close to the quality that you get from Palace and Laticrete UK.”
She was commissioned to begin the Conway Rec project just before Covid-19 struck at the start of 2020. The intention was to rally the help and ideas of children at nearby St Monica’s Catholic Primary School, but Tamara was unable to visit due to the pandemic, so the plans required a rethink.
Instead, the children were asked to provide drawings of all aspects of wildlife that existed in the park.
“They sent some really nice designs to me,” said Tamara. “And from those drawings, I developed the final design, which includes various vertebrates, invertebrates, trees, shrubs, insects, and pondlife. It may be a tiny park, but it’s full of fantastic flora and fauna.”
“We are hoping the school will take pupils down there for many years to come, like a forest school, and that the learning circle will act as the jump-off point for them to learn about the wildlife there.”
Using the children’s drawings as inspiration, Tamara created a two-metre diameter design, including squirrels, birds, trees, and insects; incorporating a pond abstract in the centre.
The concrete base is already in place in the park in readiness for her to turn the design into a mosaic installation, which will be surrounded by basic seating made from timber or stone for children to sit around the piece.
Using unglazed ceramic floor tiles in earthy, woodland colours – from Winckelman’s and Cinca – to create the mosaic, Tamara is also using the all-important products from Palace and Laticrete UK.
The tiles are being bonded by her go-to adhesive, LATICRETE 254 Platinum.
LATICRETE 254 Platinum is the ultimate one-step, polymer-fortified mortar for interior and exterior installation of ceramic tile, stone, quarry tile, pavers, and brick. An S2 classified adhesive that is mixed with water, 254 Platinum has a long open time with unsurpassed initial grab, and excellent workability.
Also excellent for underwater tile fixing applications, it provides superior bond strength to all commonly encountered building substrates, as well as fixing heavy and large format tile and stone in the most challenging environments.
Tamara’s grout-of-choice is PALACE Colour-Lock Grout. A fast-setting, polymer-fortified, mould-resistant grout based on OPC-free binder technology to ensure that the finished colour shade is consistently achieved without being affected by efflorescence or shade variation.
Available in a range of 12 colours for wall and floor tile joints up to 20mm. Colour-Lock is an easy-to-mix, slump free, readily compactable grouting compound, that can be applied across all types of tiled surfaces using a rubber squeegee or grout float.
Steve Ball, Commercial Director for Palace Chemicals, said he was thrilled to think that his firm’s products were being used to help educate children about the importance of abundant wildlife, particularly in built-up areas where trips to the countryside are few and far between.
“We’re delighted that Tamara has, quite literally, stuck with our products for so long,” he said. “It’s a huge endorsement for our products, and this project particularly reflects our own mission to protect the environment around us whenever we can.”
“We are very proud to be supporting such a worthwhile community project, which will hopefully help educate children for a long time to come.”
Tamara, who runs Mosaic Art Ltd from her studio in Catford, was approached by Friends of Conway Rec after a group member had seen another of her mosaic works at the end of Chelsea Bridge, which spans the River Thames.
“He got in touch right before Covid hit, which delayed things a bit,” said Tamara, “but, as part of my 11-year-old daughter’s own offline learning, we created a nature journal over lockdown, which was not only a lovely experience, it also greatly increased my own wildlife knowledge in the process. That really helped with this project.”
“It’s really unfortunate that we weren’t able to visit St Monica’s school, but the children really inspired me with their designs and drawings.”
To explore Palace Chemicals’ products and Laticrete’s full adhesives range, visit: www.palacechemicals.co.uk or www.laticrete.eu.
For more information about Tamara’s community projects, visit: www.artmosaicdesign.co.uk.