The Woodland Project: A work in Process by Chris Wiles opens on January 21st. It is a collaborative, community art and woodland creation project in the heart of Lincolnshire.
We spoke to Chris to find our more about his inspiration and ideas behind the project.
Inspiration behind the project:
I came up with the idea of the Woodland Project because I wanted to bring people together to create something bigger than themselves. It was a simple idea: individually you can plant a tree but together we can plant a woodland. Individually you can make a drawing but collaboratively we can produce an exhibition. I wanted to bring people together to connect with themselves, each other and their environment.
It was important that the project was accessible to everyone who wished to take part and it is thanks to the Arts Council, local and national businesses and individual sponsors that funded the project that allowed this to happen.
The arts workshop programme:
It was fantastic working with schools, community and home education groups to deliver the art workshop programme. I worked with over 2500 members of the community in total and it was really rewarding. Through stories, drawing and conversation we tackled issues of sustainability, conservation, the environment, and of course trees! Everyone had a great time and there was a real sense of engagement with the whole project.
Everyone involved created a small leaf artwork and we now are now in the process of getting them ready for the exhibition. I talked about my work and read stories that dealt with the importance of the environment and trees, including the tree planting work of Wangari Maathai (the Kenyan environmentalist and political activist who encouraged women and children to plant native trees in Kenya for sustainability.)
The planting took place on a two and half acre site on the beautiful Scrivelsby Estate near Horncastle thanks to the Dymoke family. The Community planting days were wonderful and very cold! There was always a great turn out. Over 1500 trees have been planted so far with more planting to come during the exhibition. Hot mulled apple and ginger cakes were supplied in the walled garden and Riseholme College provided all our spades and trowels. School planting days were great fun and hectic with back to back coach loads of children arriving to plant their whips (small trees) they trudged through mud, puddles and overgrowth to get to the planting site and learned about the different varieties of trees (generously given by Crowders Nurseries, Horncastle). The trees have taken really well and are growing into a strong sustainable woodland in the heart of Lincolnshire as we speak.
About Chris’s work:
My work is about how reality is presented to us. In a digital world proliferated by images, the way we experience the world has changed our relationship with nature.
I have always been interested in process. I create visual systems which I follow to create my paintings and drawings: dots, swirls, lines, circles, squares, pixels, informal shapes of flat colour.
From a distance the work looks photographic. Close up the work fragments into its constituent parts.
For my paintings I use Humbrol Enamel paint on aluminium. For my drawings I use Staedtler Pigment Liner on paper mounted on aluminium. I am sponsored by Staedtler.
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