GUEST BLOG Lakes and Dales re-imagined

I am lucky enough to be involved in the Great Places Lakes and Dales project with consummate professionals FrancisKnight, and accompanied them on a site visit last week.  The amazing varied palette of colours and textures, and inspiring people, have brought out a surprising creativity in me, too!

Through rain and mist, sunshine and snow, we moved through ever-changing landscapes; from green satiny pillows of fields, ribboned with silvery drystone walls and tufted with sheep; to smooth slate twisted trunks sprouting from bright green moss, with a green haze of anticipated leaf burst against purple grey earth and rust coloured bracken.

The beauty and magic of the landscape are reflected in the abundance of natural creative activity, from lounge room gigs and paper bridges to creating gardens, ecosystems and functional living spaces - transforming the quotidian to the unexpected, a wonderful surprise around every corner.  As one person we interviewed said: it is about thinking differently about what we do, turning perceptions upside down, recognising creativity in the everyday and taking it to other places. 

Coniston Water 2 4 19        Consiston Water 2 4 19                            

Grasmere 1 4 19 5  Staveley 1 4 19 3  Grasmere 1 4 19 6

Photographs and words by Fran Toomey


FrancisKnight Spring Newsletter

FrancisKnight were asked to present the Chatham Placemaking Project by Rother District Council, as part of a two day workshop focused on the public realm of Bexhill Town Centre.

The presentation took place at the De La Warr Pavilion against the backdrop of a calm sea and included the appearance of the sun... With this anticipation of Spring just around the corner Our Spring Newsletter highlights our public art projects and continues the theme of new shoots and creative developments.


Bexhill 3     Bexhill     Bexhill 4                       




A Valentine's Day Love Letter from Francisknight

Developing working relationships with clients requires time, energy and commitment.  Sometimes, it can feel one sided, like unrequited love, and as we hit Valentine's Day I'm going to reflect on my tenacious pursuit of clients that are paying me to work on their behalf.  It can be an awkward relationship. I can feel ignored and forgotten and I don't enjoy having to literally hound an answer out of the client.  I would much rather spend my time doing the job than persistently ringing/emailing and texting someone.  I know in my personal life I would never continue with such a one-way relationship.  Of course, with a rational head on, I realise the client is probably extremely busy and public art, and the decisions associated with it, may be low down on their daily agenda. 

Contracts can be a hard win but I know our business, FrancisKnight, brings tremendous benefits and value to a project. We take the stress out of a planning condition by finding the right artist, commissioning stunning art and making developments look amazing. Which means we provide fantastic collateral with research, good news stories and genuine engagement with the community. What’s not to love?  

Effective working relationships are a match made in heaven. It’s always such a joy when a client gets it, responds, feeds back – when they are genuinely interested in what public art can help deliver. We love those clients and the feeling is mutual. 

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Thanks to Julia Clarke, one of our artists working on Conningbrook Lakes, for the willow heart.

FrancisKnight is fourteen years old!

We are celebrating our fourteenth birthday this month and have been looking back through the archives.  We found this fab picture of us, courtesy of Louise's daughter, that shows us in the early stages of the company.  Not sure about my purple hair but we look so young!  We are certainly busy with all the paper work lined up on the desk and of course as always we are loving our work.  Happy Birthday to us. 

FK at work 1 1

A good year for Pinot Noir

It's the end of an era for me and my allotment of 12 years and I have to say goodbye to my vine that I eagerly planted on the plot so many years ago.  

This vine started its life as part of the award winning Chatham Vines, a commission that FrancisKnight worked on with artist John Newling.  The commission saw the installation and nurture of a vineyard of 32 Pinot Noir Vines grown hydroponically in St John's Church, Chatham. At the end of the commission the vines were given out to the community to take them home and plant them in their gardens.

I have taken care of my vine, I've pruned it, fed it and encouraged it to grow. This year it has flourished, enjoying the weather and providing me with one of the best seasons of bunches and bunches of juicy red grapes.

The vine will now stay in place for the next allotment plot holder who will take on the stewardship and continue to encourage and appreciate it.

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                          IMG 6757                  IMG 6758        



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