It began in my aunt and uncle's living room with a roughly drawn sketch and ended as a finished Well Dressing; on display near the centre of Wirksworth over the weekend of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
A Derbyshire tradition, Well Dressing stems from the desire to give thanks for the precious gift of water. The practice is believed to have begun in Tissington and spread to neighbouring towns and villages around the county.
Once the theme and design have been agreed, an artist outlines a full sized drawing in readiness for the pre-display period, when a team of people embark on a solid week of work preparing the Well for display.
First, the tray is made ready. In the case of the Rotary well, the tray has three sections; a triptych. Nails are hammered all over the surface, standing proud to a height of around 3/4". The tray is then covered with puddled clay until it is level with the top of the nails. Once the tray is prepared, the artist's drawing is laid over the clay and the outline is marked out by following the lines and pushing a sharp tool through the paper to create a kind of dot to dot pattern.
The paper is removed, the outline is traced round with black wool and the 'colouring in' can begin.
Ideally, all of the materials used should be natural and the Rotary Well sticks rigidly to this tradition. My uncle did the work on the centrepiece. The path is made from individual curls of pine cones, hand plucked by my aunt. The layers of the sky include spices and, when I leaned in close enough, I could clearly scent their exotic aroma.
My aunt made the left panel showing the dove of peace. Many, many flower petals have been pushed into the clay. The process begins from the bottom of the picture, the petals being layered like the tiles on a roof to encourage rain water to run off the picture.
It is not necessary for the two sides of the triptych to mirror each other, but it does draw the eyes in towards the centre and give this design a pleasing wholeness.
And the symbol of the Rotary completes the Dressing.