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The Artist-Blacksmith who created the gates at the entrance to The Hawthorns and the hidden animals and plants

These forged steel gates at the entrance to the Hawthorns Urban Wildlife Centre, hide images of plants and animals. Created by Artist-Blacksmith Avril Wilson in 1995 and 2004, she was the first woman to be awarded a bronze medal by the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths, in recognition of her contribution to architectural metal work.
Continuing our exploration of art in the community, we are making a Sunday morning stop at Southampton Common….
Situated in the south east corner of the Common is the Hawthorns Urban Wildlife Centre, which provides information about Southampton’s abundant wildlife and how the city’s open spaces are managed toprotect and increase biodiversity.
As you can see here, the gates to the Wildlife Centre are slowly becoming more integrated with the vegetation its forged steel forms seek to mimic. The extension of the plants and animals in the gates, helps to camouflage the purpose of the gates and give us a moment to consider who and what the gates may be protecting while the Centre is closed. Next time you’re passing by, take the time look closely at the creatures that are hiding in the gates (both the purposefully placed and the more transient types).
Artist-Blacksmith Avril Wilson created these gates as a site-specific work in 1995 and in 2004 she was the first woman to be awarded a bronze medal by The Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths in recognition of her contribution to architectural metalwork.