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May All Your Gardens Return to the Trees

 

 

Research driven work investigating the relationship (and parallels) between the garden and the wider gallery community undertaken whilst in residence with Hauser & Wirth Somerset’s Learning Team as part of the MA Arts & Place at Dartington Arts School. The work was displayed as part of the 'Remember Nature' exhibition in the Implement Shed gallery space from September 2022- January 2023. 

The work evolved following the ecological thinking that recognises plant communities as interconnected networks that work collaboratively to support the growth of other plants in their community, culminating in the growth of the trees as the 'keystone' species without which the ecosystem would be dramatically altered. The role of the gallery Learning Team in building and nurturing connections across the diverse 'ecosystem' of the gallery's constituent communities was explored, as was the significance of other local groups (such as the Bruton Museum) and historical networks and industries (sheep farming and silk processing) in creating the local 'ecosystem'. The ways in which this community is collectively responding to issues of habitat and species loss as well as related issues such as local 'field to fork' food provision were also considered.

Presented as an installation (5x2x0.5m), the work comprised of a central woven panel (silver birch frame, plant-dyed Somerset wool, plant material, silk cocoons) and suspended 'trees' (plants from the Oudolf Field garden compost heap). The frame and weaving referenced the shape of the original threshing barn (now the main gallery space) on the site and the planting design by Piet Oudolf for the gallery garden (the Oudolf Field). 

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