Butterfly Ball Dress in Shreds!

Remembering Kate Bush who danced through the woods wearing a red dress in her Wuthering Heights video, my mother Jane decided to express her concerns about the environment by using the pink and black dress she wore at last Friday’s Butterfly Ball in London for a very different purpose at Thorp Perrow Arboretum! 

It’s sad to hear that demand on cutting trees for fabric production remains high and that so much clothing produced still ends up in landfill.   We need to do more to recycle and protect our planet.

It must be something about living in Yorkshire.   Here she is at Top Withens near Haworth dressed as the ghost of Kathy.  It was one of my past photography projects.

The fancy frock worn last Friday evening in London to the Butterfly Ball event was a conscious decision to shop second hand:  a fashion statement on how to feel good in an item of clothing that didn’t cost the earth.

I am pleased that this pretty beaded garment was put to another good use in helping dress to impress this lime tree in the arboretum! 

I had been asked by Thorp Perrow Arboretum (where I work as a volunteer in the gardening team) to start off their special tree dressing event as part of this year’s National Tree Week. 

Cutting strips of colourful fabric from the dress made the tree shine and sparkle in the sunlight:

The traditional custom of tree dressing takes place on the first weekend of December and I know that Thorp Perrow visitors will soon also be using ribbons to further decorate the tree.  It’s a wonderful way for all of us to express our relationship with trees, to give thanks to them and highlight their value and importance.

We don’t want trees to be taken for granted and as a COP26 One Step Greener ambassador and also an ambassador for the Tree Council, I very much support the Force For Nature campaign.

At the end of the day Faith Douglas, curator of Thorp Perrow Arboretum, thanked me for starting off the tree dressing activity.

Earlier this week I spoke to a local school about my artwork made from recycled materials and also my environmental concerns:


Green artist talks to pupils on Cop26

A Pateley Bridge young environmentalist and artist James Owen Thomas spoke to Hampsthwaite Primary School to inspire children to become a #ForceForNature.’

By Janet Harrison

Friday, 26th November 2021, 2:26 pm

James was selected from over 500 entries across the UK earlier this year to become one of 26 One Step Greener Ambassadors as part of the UK Government’s Together for Our Planet campaign.

A student, passionate artist and committed environmentalist, James is also one of The Tree Council’s Young Tree Champion Ambassadors and has inspired thousands of Young Tree Champions through his incredible artwork.

Now by talking to Hampsthwaite Primary School, he wants to inspire even more children to become a #ForceForNature and speak up for their planet.

James spoke to the children about his latest artwork and ambassador roles, and explained why it is so important to be a Force for Nature in the lead up to National Tree Week.

Trees and hedgerows are some of the most powerful tools we have as we work together to tackle the climate and nature crises, and by empowering other young people James is making an amazing impact.’

James said: “I’m proud to have been selected by the Prime Minister’s Office to be a COP26 ambassador and to continue my role as an ambassador for the Tree Council, by inspiring children through my artwork to be a Force for Nature.”

Headteacher Amy Ross said: “It is an absolute privilege to be able to work with James and I know that our children felt so inspired by the work he is currently doing.

“In school, we are so excited to have the opportunity to plant trees and hedgerows from The Tree Council as our children are real advocates for wanting to do everything they can to help our planet.”  

An inspirational young artist who studied at Nidderdale High School James, 20, is making an impact this week as a COP26 Ambassador.

The former Nidderdale School pupil has been creating artwork using recycled materials for most of the last decade.

Having been invited to Downing Street in the lead-up to this COP26 UN summit in Glasgow, James handed over a print of one of his collages.

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