Sarah, Red Kite Plants (South Drawood exhibition)
- Year Invented: 2018
Like so many of the others you read about in this exhibition, Sarah of Red Kite Plants decided to change careers after the COVID-19 pandemic. She used to work in the fashion industry but decided to do a gardening and royal horticultural society course to develop her gardening skills in her free time. Many people on the course were taking the course for a career change so when she was furloughed and subsequently made redundant in the pandemic, it seemed the perfect opportunity for her to start her own gardening business. She started off making window boxes and caring for friends’ gardens, which turned into weekend work and then garden maintenance and bigger design work. She now offers a range of gardening services for her ever-growing clientele. Her business is also nature friendly, not using any harsh chemicals in their products, using peat free compost and not using any petrol fuelled tools.
Sarah moved to south London four years ago as her husband was working in London. When she went on maternity leave she managed to explore the area much more than before and discovered all the green spaces and parks South Norwood has to offer. In the development of the high street she would like to see the shops filled, saying a bakery, tapas restaurant and a gift shop would be the perfect new businesses for her.
Words by Elizabeth Walters
Interview with Sarah, Owner of Red Kite Plants, April 2022
Red Kite Plants
This project was part of the South Drawood exhibition in 2022 by artist Jonny Kemp. A community art project celebrating the people of South Norwood, SE25.
From autumn of 2021 to summer 2022, Jonny drew 40 portraits of independent business owners, volunteers, and other movers and shakers from South Norwood, his local area. His partner Lizzie interviewed them.
South Norwood is regenerating yet doesn’t want to gentrify: it wants to keep its character and support people who already live in the area to prosper. This was Jonny and Lizzie’s way of ‘giving South Norwood a hug’: by representing the diverse people of SE25 through portraits in fine liner pen, and their own stories.
The portraits were displayed in Stanley Arts, a beautiful Edwardian arts venue on South Norwood Hill. Over 150 people attended the opening night: Friday 29th July 2022.