AN artist has been working alongside the Aire Rivers Trust to deliver workshops to some of the district's schools as part of the River Reflections public art project for Gargrave.

The project aims to celebrate improvements in the health of the river over the last 30 years and the hopeful return on Atlantic salmon to Gargrave.

Artist Alex Blakey recently visited art students at Skipton Academy to share her knowledge of the glass making process and world of public art.

"The students learnt the art of fused glass, making their own river inspired tiles. They also had the opportunity to help to develop designs for the glasswork within the public art installation," said Alex, adding: "Their work was inspired by not only their own memories of the river but also the memories and thoughts of others living and working in Gargrave. The students studied feedback from previous consultations and feedback forms to help to inform their designs."

The students produced a collection of beautiful drawings encapsulating memories, nature and the history of the river Aire which will be carved into the final glasswork by Alex.

Gargrave Primary School children also had an exciting visit last week from Alex and the Aire Rivers Trust. They had the opportunity to view a selection of wildlife caught in the river and take part in a visual poetry workshop. As part of the project Alex is keen to engage local children in the design process and incorporate their words into the artwork. Their shape poems are currently on display in the Co-op in Gargrave and their words will be incorporated into the artwork itself. The children also had an opportunity to hear the tale of Sylvester the Salmon and take part in a design and development session where they could submit their own ideas for the artwork.

The public artwork is part of a project called Developing the Natural Aire which has seen the Aire Rivers Trust and the Environment Agency reconnect the 60km of river habitat needed to allow Atlantic salmon to swim from the source to the sea along the River Aire. This work provides much needed access to space for fish to feed, breed and shelter and is part funded by Craven Council.

Copies of the story Sylvester the salmon and questionaries are available to collect at the library. Alternatively, to keep up to date with the project you can visit: