The Unconventional Plant Shop

The Unconventional Plant Shop was an on-street installation resulting from the collection of plug plants supplied for community projects by West Ham Park. This first Unconventional Plant Shop resulted from a leaflet distribution to every household in Stratford Village, with information on how to care for plug plants and the ‘shop’ opening times.

The shop is called Unconventional because of the fact that the plants are free, (but sometimes the exchange was a photograph of the ‘customer’) and its location at Small World, the artist’s house. The first ‘shop’ opened at 11.30am, closing at 4pm. The artist, Alison Marchant never managed to take that first picture (of the table completely covered in tiny plug plants) because just as she had set up, a crowd descended . Throughout the day some residents became self-appointed shop keepers, constructing a meeting place, like the old corner shops we once had in Stratford Village.

Having commissioned from East Ham Allotment Association the planting from seed of herbs, flowers and vegetables, the artists back garden was filled three times over with plant deliveries and the overspill was stored in a neighbour, Nicola’s garden which backs onto Stratford Park.

Several Unconventional Plants Shops were staged from the artist’s house where she relived her childhood pleasure of playing shops without the exchange of money. Throughout Spring – Summer 2008 the notices in the Small World ‘shop’ informed residents of the progress of the project. As word got around, residents would knock on the door of Small World, the artist’s house, with containers to plant.