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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.
A second original piece of music, inspired by the OneOak project, is now available.
‘Wood’ is a personal response by musician and composer Faith Elliott to the work of her father, furniture designer Derek Elliott. A recent exhibition at which this piece was launched, included a display of boards from the OneOak tree. The music consists entirely of sounds made from wood, from working wood or from wooden musical instruments. Other musicians playing on the piece include Sam Alty and Jerome Warlow. Faith is currently the musical director of Giffords Circus.
We are extremely privileged to have had an original piece of music composed for the OneOak project.
Anna Hemery composed the music and coined the name – the “OneOak Trio”. The trio comprised violin and piano (Anna Hemery) and cello (played by husband Nick Cooper).
Anna has played with many leading orchestras and theatre companies in Britain and internationally. She has composed and recorded sound tracks for film and television, and in popular music worked with Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. She also teaches violin.
Nick Cooper’s career includes playing for the London Symphony Orchestra, Balanescu Quartet, Gavin Bryars Ensemble, Szlani Quartet. He has performed with jazz musicians including John Surman & Tran4mation, the late Michael Brecker, Michael Reissler, Kurt Elling and the Folk Fiddler Chris Wood. He also works periodically at The National Theatre and for the Royal Shakespeare Company and has a number of solo cello credits for film and TV.
We will include the OneOak Trio music as the soundtrack to the film being produced by our volunteer team from the University of Oxford’s Film Unit. The film will be released in April and available for download on our website.
The OneOak Trio music now plays for viewers of our homepage.
Watercolour artist Rebecca Hind held a workshop with Years 3 and 4 at Bladon Primary School. She showed the children the OneOak paintings that she has been working on over the last six months, and inspired them to produce their own under expert tuition.
Sam I know how to use watercolour paint now – I liked it.
Jacob, Louis and Jake M We learned to do watercolour paintings of trees in the moonlight. We used brown and blue paint and a big paintbrush called a mop.
Megan I thought it was very fun. I learned a lot about the moon. My whole class painted a tree of their own. I’d like to do my own because I have an idea – I can paint a fox in the moonlight.
Lily Now I know how to concentrate when painting and how to use watercolours. It was really fun because we all learnt about painting. I learnt how to do moons and when the moon is shining on something it has a shadow. My favourite moon was the wolf moon.
Euan I thought Rebecca was very good at painting with watercolours. I really liked her sketchbook of the moon and oak tree pictures. It was very fun, I think the whole class liked it as well. It got hard in some bits; it was hard not to scrub with the mop brush. I’d like her to come again soon. My favourite moon was the wolf moon.
Mia When Rebecca came she showed the year 3 and 4 how to do watercolour pictures. One of the brushes was called a mop.
Rebecca Hind working on her latest OneOak watercolour
Artist Rebecca Hind was first featured in October 2009 when we watched her working on watercolour sketches of the OneOak tree in the woodland – read here.
We visited her studio recently to see what progress she had made and were amazed that she has produced no less than five separate paintings. Her beautiful watercolours feature the OneOak tree in various conditions and perfectly capture the seasonal changes in the woodland.
We are excited to be working with Rebecca to showcase her work in the OneOak project during various shows and exhibitions later this year.
“Having gathered visual information about the OneOak in my sketches whilst it was still standing, I have now had time to start working those images into finished paintings. They represent the tree under various conditions of weather, light and season and show its various appearances in the changing forest. Next, I shall visit and paint the clearing as it grows from winter to spring and then summer, feeding on the increased light that floods the space in the absence of the OneOak’s canopy.” Rebecca Hind, March 2010
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. ”
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.