Weeds or Wildflowers?

16 June 2021

Wakefield based artist, Helen Thomas, will launch an exciting new exhibition at Wakefield Cathedral in July and August this year.

While people across Wakefield and beyond were carefully navigating their way through the challenges of the recent pandemic, thanks to funding from Arts Council England and Wakefield Council, Helen spent six months painting and documenting plants that take root in unusual places.

The exhibition, called Dandelions and Double Yellows, is a celebration of nature’s ability to adapt and thrive in urban environments.

Helen says “I’m fascinated by the self seeded plants that are found at the edges of spaces; car parks, road sides, the places where the tarmac meets nature. Recent lockdowns and other Covid restrictions have highlighted the importance of the outdoor environment for our wellbeing. I believe these plants, though often dismissed as weeds, have an important role to play and deserve closer observation”

The funding has allowed Helen to work with artists, Judith Tucker and Mike Collier who are providing mentoring and curating support for the project and exhibition.

Helen explains “Judith and Mike are both artists I admire, and this has been a fantastic opportunity for me to develop my skills.”

Canon Leah added: “Helen’s exhibition was to be a part of last year’s Hidden Nature project, but was postponed due to the restrictions of Covid-19. We are very much looking forward to seeing Helen’s work in the context of our beautiful Cathedral and are pleased that it can now happen at a time when as many people as possible can enjoy it.

The exhibition will take place from the 10 July to 15 August, at Wakefield Cathedral as part of Wakefield Council's Festival of the Earth.

An online gallery will feature people's pictures of pavement plants from across the Wakefield District (and maybe a few blow-ins from further afield).

To find out more or submit your work for the online gallery, please visit:

Dandelions and Double Yellows is supported by National Lottery project grant funding from Arts Council England and has been part-funded as part of Festival of the Earth, running from July to October 2021, led by Wakefield Council.

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