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Sylva Blog

The oneoak blog is part of the SYLVA Foundation blog which contains news about the organisation and all our initiatives.

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A unique project following the full life story of a single oak tree reaches a finale this week, with the first of a series of manor exhibitions at Art in Action, where all the items made from the tree are being brought together for the first time. The products range from the waste sawdust used by legendary chef Raymond Blanc to smoke salmon, to a throne chair worth £6000, and dozens of other items including charcoal, wood block prints, tables, benches, door, house, boat, and woodchip for bioenergy.

  • The OneOak project is an environmental project of the Sylva Foundation, following the full life story of one oak tree.
  • The aim of the project is to bring people closer to the importance of our woodlands and of wood in modern society.
  • The 222 year old OneOak tree was felled on the Blenheim Estate in January 2010, witnessed by 250 school children. It had been grown in a plantation for its timber, having been planted in 1788; the same year that The Times was first published and when the French Revolution was just beginning to stir.
  • The OneOak tree is now the most studied oak tree in Britain: it has been weighed, measured with lasers to create a 3D model, studied by a dendrochronologist, and had its carbon content estimated.
  • It has been featured by dozens of artists, sculptors and photographers.
  • Many of Britain’s leading designer-makers have made items using the wood of the OneOak tree. These total over 40 different products, and counting.
  • The 250 children who witnessed the felling each planted a young oak tree in January 2011, one year after the tree was felled, to fulfil the cycle in sustainable forest management.
  • The first exhibition is at Art in Action, followed by six weeks at Blenheim Palace, then six weeks at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

 

Chief Executive of the Sylva Foundation and project co-ordinator Dr Gabriel Hemery said “this has been an amazing project that has inspired both the public and those who make a living working with wood and caring for our woodlands. Everyone has given their time to the project in so many different ways because they have been inspired by the concept:- the realisation that trees and wood are still vital to life even in modern society.”

Dr Hemery continued “after three years of hard work it is immensely exciting to be bringing together all the various elements of the OneOak project for our exhibitions during the Summer and Autumn. We will be able to show the public the stunning artwork, spell-binding films, earth-shattering science, and the myriad of truly amazing wood-based products. The only products that we won’t be able include in real life in the exhibitions will be the house and the boat!”

The OneOak exhibition at Art in Action is replacing the usual ‘Woodworking’ section; the marquee will be filled uniquely with all the products of the OneOak tree. Artists, musicians, sculptors and designer-makers will be on-hand to talk and demonstrate about their work in the OneOak project. Some 25,000 people are expected to attend over the four days, and where special measures have been put in place to cope with the soggy ground.  See note from Art in Action

The following have been made to date: firewood, woodchip (to heat a house for 6 weeks), sawdust for smoking food by Raymond Blanc, charcoal, bracing beams for a house, transom beam in a boat rowed in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Flotilla, door and frame, chest, pedestal table, coffee table, throne chair, clock, lantern, moebius sculpture, jewellery, acorn oakbot sculpture from waste slabwood, memorial sculpture, carved bowls, carved spoons, turned bowls, carvings, automata, commemorative garden bench by disabled workers, five benches for primary schools including the spider bench, contemplation bench, MakeIT! bench national school design competition, nesting tables, fine furniture competition winners pieces, small craft items, deer, viola chin rest, printing blocks, relief carving, sounding bowl.

Details of the OneOak products along with the stories of their making can be found here: www.oneoak.info/wood_products.php

The project website is www.OneOak.info

Exhibition dates:

Art in Action, Waterperry                             19th – 22nd July 2012                      Art in Action

Blenheim Palace                                               25th July – 4th October                  OneOak at Blenheim Palace

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh               12th October – 2nd December    Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh


More information

download the full News Release

download the full News Release

Download the full News Release

 

end of News Release

One of our OneOak Makers, Philip Koomen, was featured last week in an excellent article in The Oxford Times. Also, our CEO Dr Gabriel Hemery gave a talk at Philip’s workshops last weekend as part of Oxfordshire Artweeks.

You can read The Oxford Times article here

Today we have published a new 12 minute film featuring the OneOak planting event, and the unveiling of Simon Clement’s sculpture, at the Blenheim woodland in January 2011.

Our huge thanks to Editor Conrad Weisterantz and Camera Sarah Simblet.  And of course all the children who worked so hard to plant the 250 oak trees.

BBC Radio Oxford

Wesley Smith of BBC Radio Oxford visited the OneOak exhibition at the University of Oxford Botanic Garden (OBG) earlier this week.  He enjoyed looking around the exhibits and talking with our CEO Gabriel Hemery and volunteer curator Jane King.  He also spoke with Emma Williams from OBG.

You can listen to the programme this Sunday 26th June between 1300-1330.  We understand that there will be two separate features. If you miss it or live outside of the area you can listen again online for one week only.

The OneOak exhibition is open until 4th July at OBG.  After a short break, during which we are holding a major exhibition at Art in Action (more of which soon), the exhibition returns to OBG for the whole of August.

The planting of a new oak forest in our OneOak project was featured in the Oxford Mail, on Tuesday 1st February. Oxfordshire’s children celebrate life of a mighty oak.

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