Creating In The Great Outdoors

We were lucky enough to be given the chance to create playful spaces in our local woodlands. This was as part of the Stronger Roots project with Buxton Civic Association. We have installations in the woodlands around Buxton.

A view of Gadley Woods with blue skies
Gadley Woods

The idea of creating in the great outdoors is always inspiring. The sets for our show are very temporary, so the opportunity to make something more permanent was exciting and challenging. After several site visits, we designed simple elements that would spark imagination and provoke thought. Each woodland is unique, so we decided on original designs for each space.

Gadley Woods

In Gadley Woods, we designed boards with cut outs of woodland creatures and made a huge nestlike structure with fallen trees. Corbar Woods saw the subtle installation of small wooden doors with animal footprints carved on the front of each one. Also, you can discover the two lovingly crafted benches near the forest school area in Grin Low Woods.

Two people sit on a wooden bench in GrinLow Woods with a black dog sniffing in the undergrowth

The brief stipulated no colour, so what we made highlighted the natural beauty of the patterns of the wood. The concept behind the design was to create windows into the forever changing landscape of the woodland. We set to work drawing outlines of familiar creatures and then transferred them to oak boards and cut them out using a jigsaw. The edges were rounded off and then everything was sanded. We then gave the boards a Japanese style finish called Shou Sugi Ban before coating them with Danish oil.

A collection of photos that show the outlines of animals cut out of oak planks

Never have I worked with such beautiful pieces of wood. Usually, we only work with cheap quality timber, old pallets, or plywood. What a privilege!

A group of photos that show wooden boards with animal cutouts in Gadley Woods
Gadley Woods

Corbar Woods

The little doors were fun to make. A simple idea of an animal footprint carved into the front of each door. We burnt the wood and then sanded back the footprint.

Installations in the woodlands of small wooden doors with animal prints carved on the front
Corbar Woods

We made a couple of signs using a template and a router and then used the burning technique we used on the large oak boards. A Dremel sanding tool was then used to take the wood back, so the lettering was more prominent.

A group of photos showing how the signs were made

Grin Low Woods

The benches were more of a design challenge. After chatting with the children who attended the forest school, Mark came up with a few sketches, trying to incorporate their ideas. The original site changed,and so we installed two benches on opposite sides of the pathway.

Sketch of a bench design that has a curved back and seats with leaf shapes cut out on the backrest

The result? A beautifully crafted seat we hope will bring smiles to all who use it. It’s been joyous to create installations in the woodlands, something that has a lasting legacy for the people who use Buxton Woods. May you and your families enjoy these beautiful outdoor spaces.

bench installations in GrinLow Woods
GrinLow Woods

Spring Has Sprung

We have been busy bees behind the scenes pollinating ideas for new projects. The weeks have whizzed by sculpting funding bids and compiling a robust business plan that can help shape the company to become bigger and brighter in 2022 and beyond.
After so much wet weather we are definately grateful for the sunny days, the colourful crocuses on The Slopes in Buxton brings a smile as we “walk and talk” to discuss our next steps on various projects.

Adventure Shack

We have submitted a funding bid to Arts Council England that builds on the work that we carried out pre covid and in lockdown.

The concept for the piece is that a time-traveller has crashed her time-machine/home and it has landed upside down. All the fittings of her home are scattered across the ceiling, which is now the floor, and all her fixtures are still on the floor, which is now the ceiling. Making a cup of tea is now much more challenging than before.

As she tries to organise her stuff she unleashes a series of flashbacks. These long-forgotten memories patch together a series of adventures and escapades that tell her story of how she travelled from a young girl dreaming of adventure and escape, to the wise and experienced traveller she is today. We want to realise this story as an outdoor summer adventure. Barnsley Civic and Greentop in Sheffield continue to support this dream, so fingers crossed that we are successful as the concept for this production is pushing our creativity and storytelling into new realms. 

Circus performer using red silks

If You Go Into The Woods Today…..

We have been lucky enough to design some installations for our local woods. Working alongside another artist that specialises in creating art in nature and Buxton Civic Association we have designed and made some features that will make walking in the woods with the family more interactive. We hope it will provide the stimulus for conversation and imagination when out for a walk.

If you venture into Gadley Woods see if you can discover the boards. I will share what the rest of our work looks like once we have installed them in their locations.

A collection of photos of cut out animal shapes on oak boards