Unity of Time, work made using the materials of the Outwoods

Looking to the future and the past while being firmly rooted in the present. Working with natural materials from the wood as part of my residency. I spent a day with poet Tonia, talking about my work and ideas, she puts beautifully into words what I hope to convey visually.

Unity of Time

Janus-like he spans the forest
Looking back
Knowing, gnarled
And bounding to the future
To new reality
Eyes open, hopeful
Rooted yet free.
At the core
Hazel twists her magic
Almost touching,
Almost linking
What is past and what may be.
Under this loop,
Sinuous and fragile
Is now, the moment
When everything exists
That ever was.
In the dappled heart of Albion
Janus-like he spans the forest
The Unity of Time.

Tonia Sorrell

Unity of Time has been an ongoing idea I have been working on for several years. Having explored the idea through both paperpulp and clay it was great to be able to create a large scale piece at our Sculpture week in the Outwoods last year. The one last year had only one arch, so to have the time to work on this one has helped develop the idea further. Time spent in residence meant I could find the perfect site to start building.

Using the first day as a skill-share in working with natural materials, a group of us collected interesting looking branches and twigs from around the woods. We found decaying rotting wood to use to symbolise looking to the past. There were lichen covered branches from a beech tree that had recently fallen and been cut into logs by the rangers. These were various sizes and along with willow I had already and twisted hazel we had a fine array of materials on hand. We mapped out the ‘serpent’ and with a skeleton in place could start working on the form.

Tying on with string created a surprisingly strong structure and worked well for the 6 week trail. I would like to learn more permanent joining techniques using only natural materials….a project for the future. Using twisted hazel I made the first head, looking to the future. We put hazard tape up to stop people exploring before the piece was finished. I had a continuous stream of visitors on the main path stop and watch and ask questions. It was good to be able to have this interaction, talk to people about the Sculpture Trail and get feedback. Everyone was very positive, and enjoyed watching the work progress over the week.

Transforming as the woods around filled out with green. I was very happy with how it turned out, and taking away the hazard tape and clearing away the leftover branches visitors were at last allowed to walk between the arches.

It was sad to take the whole piece down at the end of the trail. I wanted the materials from the wood to remain there as a shadow. I created a wall of branches, more hidden around the edge of the original site. It was good to leave this to decay back into the Earth, becoming part of the cycle of decay and renewal as new ecosystems inhabit the remains.

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