Heart Felt – Heart Fest.

I was asked to make this snail heart  for the Heart Felt exhibition, currently on at Centre Space Gallery Bristol. Paul, whose story I am symbolising is shown holding it aloft; he seems delighted – but I think mainly because it gave him an excuse to stop climbing ladders for a few moments, he was putting up poles for us to hang up the hundreds of hand -made hearts. I only read the first bit of his story which was attached to a photograph of a snail which, was all I had to work    but like most of them I suspect it is a sad tale…………you can buy the excellent catalogue to read them all, “Heart Felt, Life Changing Moments” it’s compiled by Jan Connett and available from her .

happy snail holder

I arrived on Thursday afternoon to help a team get the exhibition hung; it was the usual scene of everyone standing round looking a bit stunned and wanting a cup of tea; but within half an hour we were all working away to plans by Jan Connett who organised the whole project. There were about 10 people in all coming and going – most of them in for a long night, I had only a few hours but had volunteered for card making duty when I got home. Everything goes towards 3 charities the Children’s Hospice South West, the British Heart Foundation and the African Street Children Organisation and most of the hearts can be bought from as little as £5.00

the hanging team hard at work - hardly a heart in sight!

I was given the job of hanging the first wall of hearts with a partner; they had all  previously been strung out on lengths of fishing line with an elegant weight at the end – our first job was to unravel  the lines and get them into order on the floor –

the un-ravelled lines of hearts


As soon as they emerged from their boxes I started to photograph them on the floor, they were all so different but all full of vitality. they each had a label written with their own stories ( if you enlarge the image by clicking on  it –  some of the stories can be read).


when I left the exhibition was coming together, it was starting  to look really exciting – but what else is going to happen with that bike to make it suggest a heart felt moment?

5.30pm evening before the show.

the next morning this is what had emerged………….

she sure loves her bike!

The whole space had been transformed, 4 long rows of suspended hearts were gently swaying, twisting and turning, the whole room seemed to be swooning with hearts

strings of hearts with labels waiting to be read.

I just loved the whole room – now there’s a surprise! it was white and airy with small brilliantly coloured hearts with messages to be read hanging from them;some sad about the death of a friend or family member, some about the loss of pets, there were many heart memorials.

exquisite super real heart with a sad, sad message.
cats lovers look away.

Some are poignant about the loss of a loved parent to Alzheimer’s, now gone out of reach and recognition – others about the loss of self due to illness and broken relationships – but most are joyous – happy snippets of remembered times, seasons, gardens, fishes – anything and everything worth celebrating by making a heart.


Most heart warning are the hearts that celebrate a long loving relationship, the button heart is for 55 years of happiness and a birth of a great grandchild; the ivy wreath heart is dedicated to a life lived with “electric touch, shared pleasure, constancy and truth”













the Fish heart has a label saying “only dead fish go with the flow” and the funny face is for a well remembered and much loved grandmother










the 2 contrasting hearts below are for joy,  of watching seeds grow and the joy of finding a safe key holder for her heart…..













But my favourite heart of all is the one I found revealed on the worn painted floor as I was tidying up at the back of the gallery.

my favourite heart in the exhibition


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