The images above are examples of explorative work of organic matter covered canvases with other materials. Here I have used black and white images of tree rings printed onto ordinary printing paper and sewn with thread. Although in its early development I feel the combination of paper, thread and canvas works well. While I engaged in the making there appeared to be simiarities in the process of dressmaking and the attaching of patterns to materials. I hope to develop this process further alongside the collaborative project.
Because of Horticap’s main aspect of being a haven and creating forms of shelter I started to look at naturally formed spaces of protection. Hollow trees are forms which create a sense of mystery and intrigue they entice us and animals within. The above images were taken locally, and although not big enough to house a human form memories of childhood play take me back to a particular hollow tree trunk we used as a den! I wonder if it’s still there!
I am a great admirer of the Land and Environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy his practice has a big influence on my own work. I have an affinity with his need to be in physical contact with the elements and organic materials.His work truly reflects humanities mark on the landscape through the materials nature provides. Although his work is often produced in a solitary environment within the rural landscape he also develops collaborative projects that engage skilled workers such as dry stone wallers,arboriculturists, artists and many volunteers who help realize his larger pieces.Often these works develop as he draws from the skills and experience of the people taking part in the projects.
The idea of recording the comings and goings of nature and the elements in a physical way really interests me. The aspect of observing nature without being present generates a kind of respect for the environment. With the influence of Stephen Turner's "Tree Rings" http://www.stourvalleyarts.org.uk/ I placed small sections of canvas in a local wooded area for 10 days. The above are some of the sections of canvas. I plan to rework these trace elements in some way with stitch and other materials and try to place some canvases around the Horticap site.
I have found it difficult to find out what "Bluecoat" refers to in the title of Horticap but looking at the history of the land where Horticap is now it came to my attention that in the mid 1800's James Bray took over Moor Park Estate in Beckwithshaw the area Horticap is situated. He took the estate on in hope of improving the surrounding countryside by planting copses to encourage game.
The map of 1858 shows a wood on the land where Horticap is now and maps that I have seen of 1913 still show that the wood existed in the beginning of the 20th century.
The above are extracts from the Oxford Dictionary of Place Names. I Researched the name Beckwithshaw
"Beck" refers to a brook, stream, water and "Shaw" refers to copse, group of small trees or a wood. These meanings fit well with the development of my work. They generate thoughts of materials and what will be used to make the sculpture. Could wood and water be used together?
The main element at Horticap for me is the aspect of shelter and the nature of keeping things safe. Greenhouses and tunnels provide shelter and warmth from plants, bird boxes and insect hotels are made by staff and students to generate conservation of wildlife. The whole site is a haven for wildlife and natural world. Most of all Horticap provides a safe haven for the students who work there, they themselves are made to feel safe and secure in their surroundings enabling them to develop their skills in a happy environmnet.
A small sample of some early research work from my sketch book. At the moment key materials such as stone and wood feature heavily. Aspects of enclosure and feeling safe are a what generate from the site and also how the elements effect the land and area around it.
As well as landscaped gardens which are accessable to the public there is also a more natural wildlife garden which is accessed through a willow arch.The main objective is to create a 3D form/sculpture from natural materials that will sit within this landscape. The form must be sympathetic to its surroundings charachterizeing and enhanceing the space.
My next brief will be a collaborative project and I will be working with Horticap a charity based organization who work with adults with learning difficulties. The staff and volunteers work with the students developing life skills through the teaching of horticulture, rural skills and related crafts. http://www.horticap.org/