As a continuation of our All Our Stories collection, which launched during London Fashion Week in June 2021 – we created a Flag Art installation at Coal Drops Yard. The installation, consisting of 90 colourful, illustrated flags, which stretch between the iconic roofs of Coal Drops Yard, is Bethany’s first ever large-scale artwork. The piece was displayed from the 8th of July to 5 September 2021.
This public artwork display is the first life of the flags – after the installation they will be re-purposed into a limited edition collection. The collection will be available to buy at Kiosk N1C in Coal Drops Yard and, sold by luxury fashion retailer Browns Fashion.
‘All Our Stories’ is based on a collection of illustrated, intergenerational stories inspired by collaborative storytelling workshops that we conducted with the families from the East London grassroots organisation, The Magpie Project, a charity that supports women and children who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and London College of Fashion’s Making for Change, a fashion training and manufacturing programme established at HMP Downview in 2014 and now also based at Poplar Works. We worked in collaboration with illustrator and artist Melissa Kitty Jarram to transform these stories into a series of illustrations, which in turn have now been transposed into flags.
Bethany notes – “It's such a joy to be able to celebrate all the beautiful communities’ stories in a public space.”
Bethany Williams is the second artist to take on the summer flag art commission for Coal Drops Yard, which first launched in 2020 with Lauren Godfrey. This annual project places decommissioning at the forefront of the considerations with the artwork being only the first life of this fabric. The flags were created from an organic Hemp Slub which is 100% recyclable - in contrast with the current, dominant method of flag production which uses Nylon or PVC. The material choice references the age-old practice of flag-making, considers the future of Hemp’s role in the textile industry, and reflects the values of Coal Drops Yard as a shopping and fashion hub that is built on sustainability and provenance.
James Rayner, Retail Lead at King’s Cross, comments: “We are delighted to be working with
Bethany Williams for our latest summer flag art commission for Coal Drops Yard, an annual project that reflects the ethos of the area and our commitment to becoming a more environmentally friendly destination. King’s Cross is deeply rooted in creativity, arts and culture, so we are proud to deliver yet another vibrant and inspirational visual artwork for visitors to enjoy as London emerges from the lockdown. Along with the eclectic mix of retailers and restaurants, the new installation is another great reason to visit King’s Cross this summer.”
King’s Cross has built a reputation as a London arts and culture destination, using its public spaces and buildings to showcase artworks from a huge variety of artists and sculptors such as Eva Rothschild and Tess Jaray, street artists such as Andy Leek and Rana Begum, and painter and curator Rashid Araeen. The installation coincided with the launch of ‘SuperNature’, a King’s Cross wide initiative which aims to unearth and celebrate ideas that have a positive impact on people and the planet. Through ‘SuperNature’, King’s Cross will use its public realm installations, activations and events as a vehicle to explore design, materials and production methods that can help create a more sustainable future for its neighbourhood and world.