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Due to Covid-19, we have reduced personnel at the offices of the Sylva Foundation and our premises at the Sylva Wood Centre. Emails and phone messages are being checked but please allow a little longer than usual to receive a response. Please do not arrange a formal visit without first checking with us. Members of the public are free to enjoy our network of permitted paths through the Future Forest as usual.
Our fantastic voluntary film crew have produced a new film of the OneOak felling. Eight hours is condensed into just four minutes, capturing the peace of the woodland at dawn and then the arrival of 250 children and several hundred guests to watch the felling. Watch as the tree surgeon scales the tree to prepare it for felling, then the tree felling itself . Afterwards the forest scientists descend on the felled tree to start their work weighing every branch and twig, and many of the future wood users gather to look at the OneOak’s timber for the first time and discuss its qualities.
With our thanks to Charlie Beesley, Chris Baines, Bryn Walls, Sarah Simblet and Conrad Weiskrantz.
OneOak by Sarah Simblet - photograph of drawing in progress
Oxford-based artist Sarah Simblet has been working with us to capture the beauty of the OneOak tree. We are privileged to have had a sneak preview of her unfinished drawing of the OneOak tree. It perfectly depicts the grandeur of the OneOak tree and the tangled mass of its branches.
Artist Sarah Simblet at work in her studio
Author of the highly acclaimed Anatomy for the Artist and The Drawing Book, Sarah is an artist, writer, and freelance lecturer in drawing. She teaches at the National Gallery in London and at the University of Oxford, where she is a member of Wolfson College and has her studio. Sarah has drawings in national and private collections, makes solo shows, and takes part in contemporary art exhibitions.
Sarah is also a broadcaster and conference speaker in art and science, contributing to programmes on BBC television and radio. In 2005 she presented Life Class on BBC. Sarah has a lifelong passion for plants, gardening, and natural history.
This week her latest publication was released: Botany for the Artist. It is a stunning book. She collaborated with Sam Scott-Hunter and Silke Spingies to produce the book, both of whom are also involved in the OneOak project.
Botany for the Artist - an inspirational guide to drawing plants
Artist Rebecca Hind has been visiting the OneOak tree regularly (see previous post). She has braved freezing temperatures and long nights to watch the tree as it changes through the seasons and through the time of the day.
Rebecca’s most recent sketch show here was inspired by a full moon.
“Our most recent full moon. Not only did it fall on New Year’s Eve, it earned the title Blue Moon, being the second brimming of the month. Folklore grants each month’s full moon at least one name, often chosen according to local preoccupation. And for December the one which fits our tree isOak Moon. That confluence was graced with crisp clarity and spangled with stellar brightness. A gift to a painter of night skies and the OneOak. Here is a first impression of that night last week, when the frost cracked underfoot and fell in sprinkles from the branches. ”
The children in ‘Foxes’ class at Willowcroft Community School, Didcot have been painting and sculpting winter trees. Although the children have not yet seen the OneOak in the winter, they were inspired by the Oak Trees at their Forest School site. One tree in particular stood out as it was silhouetted in the afternoon sun against a wintery sky.
Back in school the children experimented with drawing inks and straws to depict the tree. For the background they used well diluted drawing ink to make the blue and pink of the sky.
Later in the week the children twisted aluminium modelling wire to create three dimensional trees. They then dipped the looped wire in ‘fantasy film’ which quickly hardened to create a beautiful stained glass effect. Even the least confident artists made beautiful trees and were really pleased with their work. They enjoyed themselves so much that they have now gone into ‘production mode’ and are making more trees to sell at our Children’s Christmas Fayre next week. We just hope everyone else likes them as much as we do!
We are delighted that a very talented artist will be working on the OneOak project.
Rebecca Hind captures the OneOak in autumn colours with watercolours, October 2009
Rebecca Hind is an Oxfordshire-based artist who works predominently with paint. She has exhibited widely both in Britian and abroad.
“Oak trees have long held a significant place in our culture, one that goes way beyond ornament or function. Once deemed sacred and always valued for their strength and durability they were also thought to attract lightning. On first encountering the OneOak I was struck by its grandeur, standing there bathed in the light that has led it from seed to maturity. As a landscape painter I follow light and relish the chance to engage with the elements as they reveal different aspects of the natural world. Shifting seasons, hours and weather offer a wealth of fascination for me, and so the chance to take part in the One Oak project is a privilege and a delight. My intention is to celebrate thetree as it holds its current form and place in the world, sheds its final foliage, then becomes transformed by human hand. I hope that the paintings I make will be as seeds continuing this tree’s life.” Rebecca Hind, October 2009.