The Art of the Mosses Continues in Wem and Oswestry

October 15, 2021

Note: This post contains links to external websites.

The Marches Mosses continue to star in art exhibitions in North Shropshire. After being displayed at the Mosses’ Mammoth Tower, the “peat-surface-sky” exhibition opened at Wem Town Hall on 15 September and continues through 1 November. There will be an open event the evening of 19 October (5:30 – 7:00pm) to meet the artists and team. Part of an overall project called “Mosses and Marshes”, the exhibit features artwork by members of the Wem Youth Group and local artists Sue Challis, Kate Johnston and Andrew Howe.

The exhibition is based around three giant banners – each seven metres long – designed by the youth group members. This project came out of a collaboration between the Wem Youth Group, Shropshire Wildlife Trust and Natural England. Lead artist Andrew Howe devised the Marshes and Marshes project and was successful in obtaining an Arts Council grant. He commissioned local artists Kate Johnston and Sue Challis to work with the Wem Youth Group to create artwork inspired by the Moss.

Anna Martin, Marches Mosses Events Officer, Shropshire Wildlife Trust, collaborated with the artist team and supported the youth group members to learn more about the Mosses during the project. She is very proud of the work the group achieved: “What was wonderful about this project was that it gave local young people a chance to really get to know this important place on their doorstep. It gave them space to go deeper and explore the Mosses in lots of different ways – they worked with ecologists, used their senses to investigate, heard stories of the past, foraged for natural materials, explored other artists’ work about the site and drew on all this to create amazing artwork.

“The local exhibition of their work will help bring the Mosses to life for others in their family and the wider community. The project has had real depth, and I believe will have created lasting memories and a sense of connection to the Mosses for the young people involved.”

Another part of the arts project is already open at the Qube in Oswestry. The “Mosses and Marshes” exhibition is the culmination of three years’ work by Shrewsbury-based artist Andrew Howe and Australian artist Kim. V Goldsmith and is based around the incredible landscapes of the Marches Mosses in North Shropshire and northeast Wales and the marshes of northwest New South Wales, Australia.

The works in the exhibition reflect the beauty and mystery of these precious and fragile landscapes. The work featured includes long and short videos, soundscapes, prints and paintings with natural materials.

Andrew Howe reflects on the work he and Kim Goldsmith have done: “In our respective studios, we’ve created works that not only celebrate the obvious beauty of the wetlands and recognise the place they’ve held within their respective communities over the centuries, but also provoke conversations around what shape their future might take. There are hidden narratives we’ve wanted to bring into the conversation, including stories revealed to us by the wetlands during the time we have been visiting.”

Wem Town Hall

Starting on Tuesday 19 October with a preview from 5:30 – 7:00pm and continuing until 30 October, “peat-surface-sky” will be open at Wem Town Hall Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 3:00 pm, with an early opening at 8:00am on Thursdays. The town hall is located on the Wem High Street, SY4 5DG. You can find more information at

“Marshes and Mosses” is open Monday through Saturday at the Qube, Oswald Road, Oswestry, SY11 1RB through 30 October. Opening hours are 9am – 5pm Monday through Friday and 9:30 – 12:30 on Saturdays. The Qube’s website is

Admission is free at both locations.

A walk on the Mosses Credit: Paul Harris

You can visit the Marches Mosses to see the source of these artworks for yourself, or just for a tranquil walk under the wide open skies of this amazing landscape. The Mosses are open daily from dawn till dusk, and admission is always free of charge.