Creating work in the Outwoods during my time as Artist in residence..
Joined the rangers and volunteers at the Beacon Country Park in February to harvest some willow. Planted a few years ago the different varieties of willow had become overgrown, and the plan was to cut it back, then harvest more usable willow every year. I didn’t have any particular plans for the willow, but seeing the size of the willow I thought they would be perfect to make large scale spires.
I made a wedding arch last year and had the use of a tripod ladder. Knowing that it would be invaluable for the Outwoods I now have one of my own and despite hating working at height I have felt very safe and happy up there. It has 3 adjustable legs, so perfect for the outwoods.
With lots of help from Tony we worked as a team to get the initial structure in place. Compared to the smaller ones I had made it was quite an undertaking, but we got there in the end, making 3 tall spires to compliment the 4 smaller ones I had made at home.
Having spent time walking round the woods I chose an area behind the charcoal burner to site this work. There was a clearing that seemed perfect for spires that symbolically connected the earth to the sky. The scale of the site dwarfed even the biggest spire, and in the end the smaller ones worked much better neared the path.
To start with the clearing seemed a bit of a wasteland with piles of decaying logs, and I liked the way the spires grew out of this, reaching for the stars. This made it even more special when the whole area became covered with bluebells, followed by a sea of pink, then foxgloves before the bracken took hold.
When I first started on these I imagined them being viewed from a distance, but the path we made when we built them led people to and around the spires, opening up an area that would have remained unnoticed as people walked past the charcoal burner. Although I had a vision when I first thought about siting this piece, it took on a life of its own with the changing landscape, becoming an integral part of the space while it was there.
I wasn’t sure I would be able to take the work away without dismantling the bigger spires, but with help managed to carry them out of the woods.