Chester Zoo artist's workshop marks a happy return


Staff reporter (Chester First)

A VISUAL artist hopes her new project at Chester Zoo will help relieve painful memories from the past.

As a teenager Kate Bufton was visiting the zoo with her boyfriend  when her mum called with the heart-breaking news that her dad, Edward, had died.

Despite her vivid recollection of that day, Kate did not hesitate when asked to bring her innovative art workshops to the zoo’s Bloom Festival.

Kate said: “It seemed right somehow that I should come back and do this in so much happier circumstances.

“I think dad would be proud to see what I’d gone on to do,” said Kate, now 26 and a successful freelance artist.

She recently had one of her works included in the acclaimed collection of the Henry Moore Institute at Leeds.

Kate missed her final year school exams amid the trauma of her father’s death but she had already achieved her art qualification, having earlier completed her coursework.

She went on to graduate with a first class honours degree in visual arts from Salford University in 2010 and has since completed a masters degree in creative education.

Her work revolves around creating original sculptures out of old or unwanted books.

“I suppose you could say I’m adding a new chapter to the life of books which might otherwise be discarded,” she said.

“I transform them from works of text into works of visual art, give a third dimension if you like.”

At her free zoo workshop on April 7, participants will be able to see some of Kate’s own creative pieces, and also try their hand at crafting blocks of paper and old Chester Zoo leaflets into colourful replicas of butterflies.

Kate explained: “I chose the idea for butterflies because it fits in so well with the theme of the zoo’s Bloom Festival.

“It’s all about looking at the world of nature, our native birds, insects and wildlife.

“I’ve done a workshop like this on the theme of hedgehogs before, but I thought butterflies would be nice because people can inject their own colour patterns into it.

“I will first of all guide them on creating 3D paper butterflies using leaflets and newspaper. After that we can go on to use blank paper, which they can colour into any pattern they like.”

There will be unlimited inspiration for the workshop participants just a few steps away at Chester Zoo’s Butterfly Journey exhibit, the UK’s largest zoo-based butterfly house with free-flying butterflies and moths.

Kate is just one of the artists asked to support the zoo’s first Bloom Festival, which offers a packed programme of events themed around birds, gardens and native UK wildlife. It coincides with the opening of new wildlife reserve, and will offer visitors the chance to meet plant and animal experts, attend informative talks and join in an array of  workshops with resident artists and poets who have been inspired by nature.

l Kate’s buttlerfly workshop is on April 7 from 10.30am-3.30pm. Entry is free (zoo admission not included). Further details of this workshop and other Bloom events  are on Chester Zoo’s website at:

See full story in the Chester Leader

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