Sunday, 9 January 2011

Dreaming Tree Shapes

Hosting the January edition of Festival of the Trees has been so inspiring for me. Reading through so many blog posts of science, environment, word play and arts has awoken something that has been sleeping inside of me for so long.

One of the submissions to the Festival of the Trees was a collaborative project in which a Willow yurt was constructed and felted with raw fleece during a festival and the summer solstice. The yurt has caught my imagination so vividly. I have been pricing willow for planting in my garden, researching willow structures and daydreaming all kinds of magic for the making. Did you know that willow can be at full height within 4 years and that a 3"x3" area planted with Willow will produce enough fire wood for one household for an entire year? Such a great way to nurture the environment, wildlife, and self sustainability ideologies as well as creating materials for crafting and play. I do however have to remember to stay grounded and centre myself. When I see video clips of elven style structures as the one above my imagination runs wild. The possibilities!

Living, breathing, art! For more tree candy visit the Grand Master Tree Shapers of Pooktre. You won't be disappointed.

Trees refresh the soul, clean the air we breath, inspire, calm, nurture. They shelter, feed, warm, heal, give colour, and provide hours, days, lifetimes of pleasure.

What would we do without them?

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Wrapt Trees

Continuing with the Theme of United Nations International Year of the Forests and feeling very inspired by the posts contributed to the January edition of Festival of the Trees, I have decided to wrap some of the trees in my back garden and let nature and time work their magic. This type of eco art is a game of patience. I have been very inspired by Martine's collaborative project and just had to give it a try.

Above, you can see a Sycamore wrapped in an old cotton sheet. I mordanted the sheet and wrapped the tree in it while it was still wet.

This Sycamore seemed a natural choice of tree to wrap. When I met this tree was tightly bound with ivy. I cut the ivy down, revealing deep grooves and notches where the ivy had constricted around the trunk. This species grows so quickly you can see the mischief that a simple washing line had caused this tree. I have hopes of interesting patterns and eco prints emerging from this wrap. Under some of the layers I placed leaves from what I think may be a Rhododendron at the bottom of the garden.

I also wrapped two Holly trees that are growing out of the dry stone wall at the edge of my veg patch. When I first moved here we also removed ivy that had wound like rope as thick as your arm all the way up the tree and the crown was being suffocated. Despite our efforts there is evidence that the ivy is taking a hold once more. I have wrapped some of the Holly and the Ivy between the layers of the cotton on these trees. Holly is very sappy and I expect that the wrappers will be explored by many insects. Who knows what patterns or colouration will be born from these trees.

Lastly, I wrapped an Elder covered in moss and Lichens.

It will be interesting to see how the passing seasons will decorate these cottons. Will they weave as much intrigue and character into my cotton as she did to the bark of the trees? I wonder what the different species will offer?


Festival of the Trees 55 - 2011 UN International Year of Forests

Yule, the Oak King gives way to the young Holly King
Used with the kind permission of artist Cherrie Button

Welcome to Festival of the Trees 55 and to 2011, The United Nations International Year of Forests. It is exciting to know that all over the world increased energies will be channelled into creating, maintaining and celebrating forests. Awareness will be raised on behalf of our forests and young and old alike will have love kindled and warm memories forged.

The forests need our help every bit as much as the earth needs our forests. With global economic collapse, recession and changes in political power, charities, humanitarian projects, wildlife and forests are under threat. In the United Kingdom, the Conservative Party plan on selling ALL of our ancient forests. Once they are gone, they cannot be redeemed. In order to carry out these environmentally unpopular sales, the government is rewriting laws written in The Magna Carta that have protected woodlands and ancient forests since 1215.

The forests, beauty spots and wildlife of this shared earth belong to us all and we have the shared right to take an interest in the environmental impact such atrocious action will have on our trees, wildlife and planet whether you live in the UK or not. I ask you all to show support by signing an online petition opposing the sale of Britain's ancient forests for once they have been sold they cannot be restored. I ask you all to raise awareness on your blogs websites, facebook and twitter pages of the threat to Britain's ancient woodlands and/or other woodlands across the globe that are in need of immediate help. Hands off our Forests!

Snow beautiful (part one) by Ash of Treeblog

But this is not the first political, or natural threat to our forests. Stella reminds us of the fires of Athens of 2009 bringing back clear memories of the national outrage of the destruction of Greek heritage in the name of development. The fires of Athens brought about such high feeling both within and outside of Greece that new legislation was proposed to on 27 October 2009. This legislation would suspend all construction activity on burned forestland in Attica and other parts of Greece until authorities draw up comprehensive forest maps.

Nature has always had setbacks and hurdles to tackle yet we need only to look to the desert to see the remarkable resilience and ability to cope in even the most water starved of locations. Deserts and Beyond show the aftermath of the recent Desert Palm Oasis fire. Desert South West shows us the beauty of desert trees and Barb teaches us about the art of Xeriscaping and the wonder of the Smoke Tree.

Via Negativa reminds us that
'It’s easy to get depressed and forget that whatever happens, however stark a desert we make, it will still be beautiful.'

Glenveagh National Park in Donegal by Silverlodg Gems

Growing with Science tells how some losses wound us more deeply than others whilst remaining optimistic and sharing her knowledge of how to plant a Pecan from seed. Vicky shares Lessons from Nature, the deep involvement and persistence needed to save a species of tree and exactly why love of nature takes its honoured place in her wedding celebrations. Long may your American Chestnut thrive!

Anybody Seen My Focus shows us beautiful images of snow in the field. Oxygen Grows on Trees invites us to monitor the progress of the 11 year old Forest that he planted back in 1999. Robert Barnes shows us his contribution to the National Register of Big Trees. Notes from Sun Rising share experiences of Tree Planting in the Snow and reminds us of the wildlife that lives around trees in Trees and Tracks. Valerianna enchants us with the magical tracks she encounters on a Winter Walk, and Stories in the Snow.

A DC Birding Blog considers the debate of a real Christmas tree and the benefits to the environment. Jules shares pictures of her favourite trees.

For the children and young at heart we have Oak Leaf Ice Flags from Inanna Shamaya and Oak Leaf Mobile's by Marghanita. Raph enthralls with the adventures of Giraffes in Trees and Gaiamoon teaches how to draw power from Trees. Lucky Dip Lisa delights us by making gifts of nature from natures gifts and generously shares her New Years Treesolutions.

Trees, textiles and art feature strongly in my New Years Resolutions. I draw so much inspiration from Mother Nature and the mediums she offers. In 2011 I intend plant and tend trees, explore natural dyes from bark, bloom, fruit, leaf, root and twig of tree. I would like to spend more time Wild Food Foraging. Making, jams, chutney's, wine s and cordials from the fruits and berries of trees. In doing so I wish to observe, to learn from the hedgerows and wildlife across the seasons learning how best to honour the birds, trees and natural wonders that I see. I would like to teach my little girl the names of as many trees and techniques of natural crafts as she has the patience for. I endeavour to know the magnificent trees of my new home, partake in the Ancient Tree Hunt, learn the identifying hallmarks of ancient trees and register as many trees for protection as possible.

Tree Spirit by Sara Lechner

With this in mind you can see how enthralled I have been with the inspiring posts presented in this edition of the Festival of The Trees. We are blessed with more offerings of beautiful textile collages from La Dolce Vita, perfection from Kayla Koo, Knowledge from Growing Colour Tyfu Lliw, we learn the art of patience from Wrapt Trees, Dorie says Thanks to her Whispering Willow and we are offered a delightful Peace Angel Cloth by Art4Moi.

Below you can see a yurt felted over a frame of willow shoots. during the Salixslinger festival. There was a wood fire stove inside, you can see the chimney sticking through the roof. The yurt holds enough room to sit about 20 people. Ludy Feyen, Petra v/d Bergi and friends made the yurt during a three day show which was performed during the midsummer solstice.

Greenwhisper gives Trees and words of inspiration. The talented Indigenous Dialogues writes of Freezing Nights and and Indifference. Moving Poems shares An Elm we Lost by Marvin Bell. Irish Gumbo shares haiku and thoughts of yuletide love.

Finally I leave you with a magical felted bird box crafted by CorNit. I love this bird box because it is felted, because it is beautiful, because it is functional and designed with nature in mind and because it reminds me of the playful innocence of Edward Lear's 'The Quangle Wangle's Hat' and the parallels to a tree canopy and the life it emanates. Thank you all for your wonderful submissions, for sharing your love, knowledge and talent with us. May 2011 be good to you all and kind to our forests!

On the top of the Crumpetty Tree
The Quangle Wangle sat,
But his face you could not see,
On account of his Beaver Hat.
For his hat was a hundred and two feet wide,
With ribbons and bibbons on every side
And bells, and buttons, and loops, and lace,
So that nobody ever could see the face
Of the Quangle Wangle Quee.

The Quangle Wangle said
To himself on the Crumpetty Tree,--
'Jam; and jelly; and bread;
'Are the best food for me!
'But the longer I live on this Crumpetty Tree
'The plainer that ever it seems to me
'That very few people come this way
'And that life on the whole is far from gay!'
Said the Quangle Wangle Quee.

But there came to the Crumpetty Tree,
Mr. and Mrs. Canary;
And they said, -- 'Did you ever see
'Any spot so charmingly airy?
'May we build a nest on your lovely Hat?
Mr. Quangle Wangle, grant us that!
'O please let us come and build a nest
'Of whatever material suits you best,
'Mr. Quangle Wangle Quee!'

And besides, to the Crumetty Tree
Came the Stork, the Duck, and the Owl;
The Snail, and the Bumble-Bee,
The Frog, and theFimble Fowl;
(The Fimble Fowl, with a Corkscrew leg;)
And all of them said, -- We humblyy beg,
'We may build our homes on your lovely Hat,--
'Mr. Quangle Wangle, grant us that!
'Mr. Quangle Wangle Quee!'

And the Golden Grouse came there,
And the Pobble who has no toes,--
And the small Olympian bear,--
And the Dong with a luminous nose.
And the Blue Babboon, who played the flute,--
And the Orient Calf from the Land of Tute,--
And the Attery Squash, and the Bisky Bat,--
All came and built on the lovely Hat
Of the Quangle Wangle Quee.

And the Quangle Wangle said
To himself on the Crumpetty Tree,--
'When all these creatures move
'What a wonderful noise there'll be!'
And at night by the light of the Mulberry moon
They danced to the flute of the Blue Babboon,
On the broad green leaves of the Crumpetty Tree,
And all were as happy as happy could be,
With the Quangle Wangle Quee.