Features

Mosaic made with a little help from park’s friends

Keith Weller on how the Friends of Conway Rec were inspired to create a colourful mosaic

Volunteers work on installing the mosaic at Conway Rec in Southgate
Volunteers work on installing the mosaic at Conway Rec in Southgate

As volunteers from the Friends of Conway Rec we have worked hard to keep this small park green, attractive and safe since 2010, when a flood caused by collapsed pipework ruined the pond and its surroundings.

A number of projects have been completed since then, including the building of nesting islands, the planting of trees, hedges, shrubs and flowers, and the design and installation of information panels. The work has been made possible through a combination of grants and kind donations from the local community.

In 2019, two of our number walking along the Thames Path spotted a piece of striking mosaic artwork and wondered whether something similar could be created to grace Conway Rec. The idea emerged of a ‘learning circle’ that would embody information in an artistic way, while acting as a muster point for local schoolchildren and families wanting to explore the rec.

We contacted Tamara Froud, the artist responsible for the installation by the Thames, and were delighted when she agreed to take on the project. Tamara was keen to involve pupils from our closest primary school, St Monica’s, in the design, and help them to discover more about the way mosaic artwork is created.


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She started a series of workshops at the school, but the pandemic meant those activities had to stop. Tamara resolutely found ways to stay in contact with the pupils and encouraged them to produce and share drawings of the plant and animal life they had seen in Conway Rec.

Over the next three years, work continued as circumstances allowed and Tamara drew on the children’s contributions and ideas from the Friends of the Rec to produce a beautiful circular mosaic design. The volunteers constructed a concrete base – which puzzled passers-by for some time – then completed the circle with stone setts ready for the mosaic to be installed.

Finally, in June, it was possible first to create the mosaic off-site and then install it as the long-awaited learning circle, featuring trees, insects, flowers, birds, lifecycle clues and a representation of the pond. The mosaic also contains the initials of three volunteers who, sadly, were lost over the period of the pandemic.

Shortly after the learning circle was installed, St Monica’s children visited and studied the artwork that they and fellow pupils had helped to create. The mosaic is a wonderful addition to Conway Rec and well worth a visit and time spent studying the fine detail. If you’d like to know more about this project, or the other work that goes on in the park, do get in touch.

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