The Shifting Sands project is based within the ‘broken lands’ of western East Anglia, a mysterious and uncertain zone whose unique species are under increasing threat of extinction. Their subtle, modest beauty is reflected not in picturesque rolling vistas but in the minutiae of small-scale, ground level life. I shall be exploring these wondrous plants and creatures with local primary schools alongside students who are (quite literally!) closer to nature in order to create a magical, fantastical realm which is not only intimate and beautiful but also very real.

I’m looking forward to celebrating these wonderful plants and creatures as they are transformed into marvellous jewelled curiosities – and connecting us with another level of being, that we ignore at our peril.

The final result of my project will be a grand Cabinet of Curiosity – a traditional means of articulating and interpreting the complexities and contradictions of our human relationship with Nature.

Cabinet of Curiosity - to be filled by the schools creations!

Creating small-scale sculptures of these various species means researching and testing out a range of materials.

I need to learn more about how these species ‘work’ – their structure, texture, balance and form. I must also use an approach which will allow students to clearly represent their own observations and express their own creativity as well as being able to make work quickly over a fairly short period.

Results in my studio so far have been successful – as I build up and handle these objects more and more I’m reminded of the struggles and vulnerabilities of living creatures and how their individual specialisations have allowed them to thrive in different environments.

The working progress of a Woodlark

The key stages of building a Dingy Skipper

The makings of Field Wormwood


Chris Jackson

Back from the Brink Community Artist for the Midlands



Would you like to help these incredible species? There are numerous ways in which you can:

  • Why not volunteer for Back from the Brink? Check out our events page for opportunities near you.
  • Help us to spread the word of this species, and the others we will be helping over the next 3 years, by sharing our message across our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages. Follow us: @naturebftb.
  • Finally - help support the work we do across England by donating. Our impact will be greater with your help.