What was once a derelict space, bar a sofa and some rubble, a group of dedicated volunteers have transformed into a modern secret garden. The new Nomadic gardens located in Brick Lane are home to 100 Allotment spaces, sculptures, artwork, bees and bee keepers alike and most importantly, a community of people that have collided from all walks of life. The wasteland that could be found if you took a side road off of Brick Lane and turned left at the park is now home to something truly beautiful.
Without advertising, the Nomadic Gardens social project has become popular among a diverse range of people; locals without gardens, tourists just passing through and artists aiming to entertain adventurers with their skills on the decks or with paint and spray cans. The park aims to showcase creative in a big way, with a sculpture park, exhibition areas, a performance stage and openness to holding events.
A short walk from Underground’s Office in Shoreditch, we visited the gardens and spoke to some of the volunteers involved in the space.
Oliver and Kate are a couple that regularly frequent Nomadic. They are currently in the final stages of building a shop front called ‘Calm Goods’ in the centre of the action and while Kate continues to paint, Oliver and I have a chat. He has been painstakingly building the structure for the last few weeks and is enthusiastic to talk about it. Having worked in various retail positions and even managing stores, Oliver Cargill wants to put communication back into the experience and change the way we shop. Screen printed tees, jumpers and skateboards by ‘Calm Goods’ will be available in store, other East London brands have gotten on board too so expect anything from trendy hair products to exfoliating scrubs. Oliver is still looking to expand and wants big brands involved too.
The best thing about ‘Calm Goods’ is that they will donate a percentage of proceeds to support Mental Health charities, a subject Oliver holds close to him. Calm Goods will be opening very soon with a launch party and much love. Watch out for these guys!
Another volunteer we got to speak to is Falcon who moved from Portugal to Dalston 3 years ago. Since stumbling across the gardens (much like everyone else who’s ever visited) he has felt a connection to the place. Along with a friend he runs a bicycle repair shop fixing bikes in the gardens. His favourite thing about the location is the sense of community that the Nomadic Gardens bring, often inviting friends over and building strong relationships with other regulars. Earnings from the bicycle repair shop go towards the gardens wellbeing.
Falcon advises that we visit on a Sunday’s as there is live music, drummers and loads of friendly people to get to know. As the evening draws to a close, the drummer, followed by the guests walks down Brick Lane and up Shoreditch high street in a sort of musical parade. Saturday also boasts a day of activities, food and live music so believe the hype and visit before winter gets any closer.
Images sourced from @OliverCargill on Instagram.
Our ongoing series of reports on emerging and established artists with close-up Q&As, gallery reports and exhibition reviews, with a special emphasis on supporting diversity in art, women in art and the independent art scene.
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