11AM – 3PM SATURDAY 28TH & SUNDAY 29TH OCTOBER & 12-4 PM WEDNESDAY 1ST NOVEMBER (SAMHAIN)
You are welcome to this nurturing space and exhibition that weaves together 8-fold land-based rituals, creative processes and practices rooted in the Squash community of gardeners, cooks & artists. At this annual point of endings and beginnings in the Celtic tradition, Autumn Alchemy celebrates what has been planted, grown, gathered, crafted & discovered over the seasonal cycles of sharing life together, on Windsor Street.
Autumn Alchemy is a collaboration with artist Angelica Vanasse who from the autumn of 2022 has worked with community gardeners to develop and deepen creative, nature-based, ritual practices in Squash’s community garden. The exhibition builds on this playful series of art-making sessions that explored human identity and our place in urban nature.
This site-specific installation will evolve through activation, with the contributing artists responding to the space through their own creative processes. It is also a contemplative space of welcome, creativity, wellbeing and participation; Alchemy in Action.
Alchemy in Action will be taking place throughout the exhibition opening hours and will take different forms. This will include artists exploring through drawing, painting with natural inks & working with fire, plants & the weather. Come along to witness and take part in this unfolding creative gathering.
When you visit you can get involved in conversations, tastings, intention-setting and connecting with ancestors as we honour the end of the 8-Fold Year and welcome in Samhain, the darker, more wintery half of the year. This is a calm place for stillness, reflection & nurture of the self, within community.
At Squash we embrace the 8-fold year; a celebration of the Earth’s yearly cycle of change – life, death, growth and transformation. We have annually celebrated the 8-fold year as an activating force & reflective tool supporting the evolution of our 100-Year plan since its inception in 2010, through marking the Quarter points – Winter and Summer Solstices & Spring and Autumn Equinoxes and the Cross Quarter Points that fall at seasonal peaks (the Four Great Fire Festivals) of Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain. These 8 chapters create the Wheel of the Year that connects us to the continuous cycles and changes in nature and ourselves.
ANGELICA VANASSE – LEAD ARTIST / CREATIVE PRODUCER
JACKIE SWANSON – HORTICULTURAL LEAD / CREATIVE PRODUCER
JASON HUGHES – HORTICULTURAL TEAM / CREATIVE PRACTITIONER
With the Grapes Community Gardeners & SQUASH TEAM
‘The old Celtic festivals fall at eight points during the year, and are a means by which we can connect to the Earth’s passing seasons and acknowledge the way this resonates within ourselves, as part of the natural world.’ – Glennie Kindred, Sacred Earth Celebration
AUTUMN EQUINOX WEEKENDER
JOIN IN OUR ANNUAL CELEBRATIONS ON AND AROUND THIS GENTLE TIME OF BALANCE, HARVEST & REFLECTION
HARVEST AUCTION FRIDAY 22ND 6-9PM
Join in our annual harvest auction where great Liverpool-grown fruit & veg and homemade treats will be up for grabs! Come along for a magical eve of comedy & fun, and help raise funds for great local good causes: More info here. Free/ Suggested donation £3.75
AUTUMN EQUINOX DISCO FEAST Saturday 23rd 11am-3pm
On this Autumn Equinox day, come and find your equinox balance! Join in by dancing while cooking up a big feast to share! Add your autumn offering to the altar, sip a fresh herbal tea, and enjoy a gentle chat around the fire. Come to cook from 11am-1pm.Feast from 2pm Book your free spot via email@example.com
SEED-SAVE SUNDAY 24TH 10AM-1PM
Learn about the important work of seed saving by joining in our annual Seed Save – a key part of the food growing cycle – saving seeds from food crops grown this year to sow next year. Join Squash gardeners to sort, clean & pack seeds to replenish the Toxteth Seed Library, established 10 years ago to keep a vital seed store & exchange alive in L8. Drop by and say hi or stay for a while and help in this gentle process.
EQUINOX FERMENT MAKING SESSION Sunday 24th 1.30-4pm
Join Squash cooks to make seasonal ferments & preserves using vegetables that would otherwise go to waste. Booking essential via firstname.lastname@example.org Suggested donation £10/£6. Some free spaces for Squash members/L8 residents who’re currently unemployed/on low incomes
LUGHNASADH FIRE & FIRST GRAIN HARVEST CELEBRATION
FRIDAY 4TH AUGUST 12 NOON – 2PM
GRAPES COMMUNITY FOOD GARDEN & FRONT ROOM AT SQUASH
Come celebrate Lughnasadh / Lammas; the Gaelic fire festival marking the first harvest. We’ll be picking the wheat we planted in spring, making dough to cook in the earth oven and breaking bread together in the Grapes Community Food Garden.Join us for music, chats round the fire and delicious tastes from the garden. Bring your own harvest offerings for the Lughnasadh altar and your own rituals of the season to share.
Also, gather around the Solidarity Tablecloth, sewn by many stitchers lead by artist Tabitha Moses on view for the first time, culminating our Solidarity Banquets project for Eurostreets, the community programme for Eurovision.
Squash’s artistic director Clare Owens said; ‘We’re excited to be working on the legacy solidarity tablecloth this summer, which will be an enduring demonstration of the welcome and support that Liverpudulians have shown Ukrainians arriving to the region and will also share a universal message of solidarity. Beautifully crafted by many hands, it will be an illustration of people working together and standing side by side with those facing oppression.’
WEDNESDAY 21ST JUNE
JOIN IN OUR ANNUAL CELEBRATION ON THIS LIGHTEST OF DAYS! EVERYONE IS WELCOME!
Gather with artists, gardeners, cooks and healing practitioners for ritual-making, self-nurture and merriment.
SUMMER SOLSTICE HIGH NOON PARTY Wednesday 21st 12-2pm
COME TAKE SOME REST IN THE GARDEN AT THIS GREAT TRANSITION POINT OF THE YEAR. JOIN IN WITH:
L8 pop-up Apothecary
High summer altar
SUMMER SOLSTICE SOCIAL Wednesday 21st 5-7pm
COME JOIN US BY THE SOLSTICE EVENING FIRE FOR REFLECTION, CONTEMPLATION & DEEP RELAXATION.
PLUS GREAT SUMMER MENU IN THE SQUASH CAFE INC. L8 STRAWBERRY & LAVENDER CREAM TEAS!
SQUASH CELEBRATION DAY / BELTANE EVE
SUNDAY APRIL 30TH 11AM-3PM
Come together to celebrate all things Squash and the beginning of summer at the GRAPES COMMUNITY FOOD GARDEN, next door to Toxteth TV on Windsor Street.
Gather around the Beltane fire
Join in our annual Squash seed planting ritual
Watch and have a go at Maypole dancing
Hear live folk music
Help make a solstice tonic
Pick up a bargain from our spring clean yard sale
FREE / BY DONATION / DROP-IN
At the end of every April we celebrate Squash the seed, the gourd and Squash the organisation! Come by to meet the Squash team and help us begin the annual Squash sowing journey – planting many different varieties of Squash and growing them alongside other local gardeners.
Beltane is the ancient Celtic fire festival, the next of the 8 points of the 8-fold year or wheel, halfway between Ostara (Spring Equinox) and Litha (Summer Solstice) and marks the beginning of summer. Celebrations often begin on the eve of Beltane and continue though the night into May 1st. Come and join us in the garden and feel free.
The Solidarity Tablecloth project was Squash’s joyful contribution to the Eurovision Song Contest that took place in Liverpool in May 2023. This participatory project of unity, standing in solidarity with Ukrainian people, was part of Eurostreet: Culture Liverpool’s unique education & communities programme, to celebrate all things Eurovision.
Throughout the project, artist Tabitha Moses led creative workshops and sessions during the banquets* exploring symbols of solidarity, unity and support. These ideas and artworks have informed a collaborative embroidery legacy artwork; the Solidarity Tablecloth, sewn by many hands of stitchers from across the city.
The Solidarity Disco *Banquets were super-friendly and fun gatherings, full of music, singing, cooking, disco-dancing and eating, and took place in the week leading up to the Eurovision song contest at venues across Liverpool inc. LISTER STEPS AT THE OLD LIBRARY, LIVERPOOL LIGHTHOUSE, THE ASSOCIATION OF UKRAINIANS& AT SQUASH.
The Squash team took the wealth and energy of Eurovision into communities. Disco tunes, beautifully curated by DJ Lady Spice, filled the air as visitors were invited to ‘dance while you cook’, having a boogie whilst cooking delicious dishes alongside Ukrainian cook Olha Dudarchuk & Squash cooks. Together we cooked Ukrainian foods; delectable varenyky dumplings & borscht plus hearty scouse, and Windsor Street-grown rhubarb cake, and then we all came together to share in the wonderful co-created banquets!
Also in the music mix there was wonderful singing, lead by Ukrainian Rock Choir leader, vocal coach & singer/songwriter Christina Dmytryk & award winning composer & manager of the vocal ensemble, Sense of Sound Singers JenniferJohn, with extra vocals from Hope Street Harmonies choir.
Squash’s artistic director Clare Owens said;
‘We have been very moved by the many expressions of solidarity that have come about through this project, from sharing different cultural foods, to voicing stories of struggle, to trusting in the magic of hospitality. The banquets themselves were such a joy to take part in and the Squash team of artists and cooks felt so honoured to meet and cook, sing, dance & eat with so many people across the city.
The legacy solidarity tablecloth artwork is an enduring demonstration of the welcome and support that Liverpudulians have shown Ukrainians arriving to the region and will also share a universal message of solidarity. Beautifully crafted by many hands, it is an illustration of people working together and standing side by side with those facing oppression.’
Solidarity Disco Banquets was part of EuroStreet, a unique educational programme curated for schools + non-school educational settings, to celebrate all things #Eurovision. Everyone’s invited to get involved. A mixture of events + resources find out more here.
SPRING EQUINOX CELEBRATION
WEDNESDAY 22ND MARCH 11AM-1PM
On this day of almost equal day and night, join us for our annual ritual of balance.
At the garden; meet the lovely gardeners, help sow some seeds, join in our Spring Equinox rituals, have a gentle spring stretch, set spring intentions and enjoy tasty spring soup around the fire.
We’ll be adding the ash we kept from the Imbolc fire last month and adding it to the Spring Equinox fire in an act of connection and reflection.
We’ve been supported by Liverpool Food Growers Network for this gathering and together will be sharing the story of how our community garden began and developed.
FULL MOON FILM & FOOD NIGHT + WALK
Sunday 5th February 5pm – 9pm
What a magical evening of short films (see below) on nature, community gardening & land-based ritual, followed by a full moon walk.
SQUASH SUMMER SOLSTICE EVE JOURNEY
Squash & Tim Brunsden / 2022 / 6.5 mins
“It’s a film about light” – Tim.
Come with us on a walking dance party from the spring in the cathedral gardens to our beloved oak in Princes Park, on the eve before the longest day.
Jack and the Beanstalk
Lotte Reiniger / 1955 / 11.5 mins
Marvel at the magic adventures of Jack and his bean growing season, from the great pioneer of animated film.
Donna Palmer / 2012 / 5 mins
What’s your favourite vegetable? Can we guess? A playful short made in the run up to Squash’s first Food for Real Film Festival in 2012, at the Hope Street Feast.
Over the Garden Fence
Katy-Anne Bellis & Collen Chandler / 2021 / 18.5 mins
Over the Garden Wall is a heart-warming stop motion animation and puppet film celebrating community action in Liverpool. Developed with community residents and neighbours from across Liverpool, including the Webster’s Triangle community and Squash’s garden volunteers.
Helen Kilbride / 2022 / 10.5 mins
Sycamore is a short experimental film which explores the intersection between queer lives and queer ecology. In this short poetic film, sexuality and transgender is discussed as the camera reveals physical characteristics of tree species, and specifically Sycamore trees. Whilst other plant species are represented the camera’s eye is never far away from the Sycamore tree, a species which is often marginalised and seen as problematic.
Lou Chapelle & Tim Brunsden / 2022 / 4 mins
Growing Antlers was a magical ‘floating’ art installation as part of Knowsley Safari’s Enchanted Winter Trail, created by Liverpool artist Lou Chapelle working with local families. Inspired by Knowsley Safari’s ancient woodland setting and the critically endangered Père David’s deer herd who roam it, the hologram-like audio visual spectacle explores the magic, myth and mysticism that these ‘guardians of the forest’ have inspired in cultures across the world.
WEDNESDAY 1ST FEBRUARY 11am-1pm at the Grapes Community Food Garden
Come by and help celebrate Imbolc, the Celtic/Pagan marking of the coming of spring. This is the first festival of the 8-fold year of 2023. See more info on Imbolc below.
For our annual celebration, we invite you to join local gardeners & cooks to;
help bless the garden and looking ahead to the growing year
write spring affirmations and poems in a specially crafted Imbolc ink with artist Angelica Vanasse
share delicious Ful Medames; Egyptian / Middle Eastern broad/fava bean stew plus flatbreads cooked over the fire
plant up onions, garlic and broad beans; some of the earliest veg we can sow in the year
reflect together around the fire about winter challenges and hope for the coming spring
listen to early spring music, curated by Clare & Hellen
Imbolc, in the Celtic seasonal calendar marks the beginning of the lambing season and signals the start of spring and the stirrings of new life. It is time for us to let go of the past and look to the future, cleansing out the old, making both outer and inner space for new beginnings. It is a good time for wish-making or making a dedication.– The Goddess & The Green Man.
The wheel has turned once more, returning us to a time of hope and new beginnings. Be thankful for the ever-increasing warmth and light as we leave behind the cold, dark, stillness of winter. – Almanac, Anne Marie Lagram.
In between the middle of the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox lies the Celtic festival of Imbolc. Dating back to pre-Christian times, Imbolc celebrations revolved around the Goddess Brigid. Ancient Celtic mythology explains that she was born with a flame in her head and immediately drank the milk of a mystical cow upon birth, which is where her common symbols of a flame and dairy originated from. She also represents fertility, and many women would travel to her sacred wells (the most popular one in Kildare, Ireland) to drink their water in hopes of conceiving shortly after. During Imbolc celebrations, those celebrating would light bonfires and make dairy-rich meals in honor of Brigid.
Now, Imbolc coincides with Saint Brigid’s feast day. Historians have shown that when Christianity was spreading throughout Ireland, the church was having a difficult time convincing pagans to let go of their gods and goddesses. Thus, Brigid was “reborn” into Saint Brigid, and her representations (i.e., fertility, the flame, and dairy farmers) were kept the same. – Marisa, Herbstalk