The Woods for the Trees
This long term project examines how we are currently engaging with both forests and woodlands in different parts of the world.
Forests are both carbon sinks and carbon stores, so they can ameliorate the effects of climate change by keeping soil in place; by locking carbon into this soil and through absorbing carbon dioxide and pollution from the atmosphere. They also provide building materials and can provide heat through firewood.
So any forest is a good thing, whether it is a managed forest (or tree farm), or one left to its own devices. There is an increasing trend towards ‘wilding’ woodlands – by letting the trees grow, rather than being ‘grown’.
All aspects of the installation involve wood in one form or other. The trees are made from wooden cocktail sticks and the printed paper images of the trees’ foliage come from archetypal drawings of the specific species.
They are embedded in giant Encyclopaedia Britannica books (1904), which are stacked on top of wooden stools – the managed forest stool is from Ikea, the ‘wilding’ forest in a 1930s beech wood stool. The identical encyclopaedia are open at the hybridism page.
'Professor Romanes represented contemporary opinion well by making his article on hybridism an annotated summary of Darwin's views. Darwin had shown that there was no foundation in nature for the supposed law that hybrids were infertile...'
Hybridism entry in the 1904 Enclyclopaedia Britannica
The Tree Farm and the Wilderness Years (2014)
The Tree Farm
The Wilderness Years
The installation features two miniature woodlands embedded in books - one showing a miniature managed forest of Sitka pines, the other a mixed native deciduous woodland.
It notes that all of the UK’s forests are constructs, and asks questions such as what is a healthy forest? What is an indigenous forest? What sort of forest landscapes should we be growing, or ‘allow’ to grow?