Dandelions and Double Yellows is an arts, nature and noticing project by Helen Thomas. The project is an invitation to reconsider the often overlooked, unplanned plants in our everyday surroundings.

Dandelions and Double Yellows involved the creation of a new body of paintings inspired by urban wild plants. Community engagement elements of the project encouraged people to notice, and share responses to, spontaneous flora in our neighbourhoods and everyday surroundings.

Dandelions and Double Yellows – Short film by David Lindsay

Dandelions and Double Yellows – exhibition
The exhibition at Wakefield Cathedral in July and August 2021 was part of Wakefield Council’s Festival of the Earth programme. The exhibition included sixteen paintings that were designed to complement the internal architecture and spaces of the Cathedral. Some of the paintings were painted from direct observation of urban wild plants in Wakefield, others were painted in the studio working from photographs, field notes and memory.

  • Interior of Wakefield Cathedral with detail of exhibition by Helen Thomas
  • Painting of plants sprayed with herbicide on a path edge
  • Painting of moss by Helen Thomas
  • Two paintings by Helen Thomas in the wooden screen, south aisle, wakefield Cathedral
  • Paintings of urban wild plants by Helen Thomas in Wakefield Cathedral

Accompanying text
Dr Judith Tucker, University of Leeds, wrote a beautifully considered essay to accompany the exhibition. You can read ‘Groundsel and moss: particularity, time and place in the paintings of Helen Thomas’ here:

Dandelions and Double Yellows – Your Gallery
Between May and July 2021 people from the Wakefield District were invited to share pictures of pavement plants, that they saw in their everyday surroundings, to be shown in a digital gallery.
More than 50 people from the Wakefield district – and further afield – submitted over 80 pictures. People’s responses to urban wild plants included photography, painting, drawing, digital images, lyrics and printmaking.
You can see the selected entries in Dandelions and Double Yellows – Your Gallery. The online gallery is hosted by Creative Wakefield and was part of Wakefield’s Festival of the Earth in 2021.

Support and Funding
‘Dandelions and Double Yellows’ was supported using public funding by Arts Council England and part funded by Wakefield Council as part of Festival of the Earth in 2021. The project was also supported in kind by The Art House, Makey Wakey and by Wakefield Cathedral who hosted the exhibition