One of the defining pieces of the project was going to be a 3 metre high, site-specific sculpture made from a felled tree but I had a major problem today.
This was a real blow, and let me tell you, depression started to set in rapidly! However, over the last two years I have repeatedly heard the mantra that artists should be taking more risks so I am putting this experience down as an exercise in risk. From the outset the tree was an unknown quantity and I knew that I had to work on whatever I was presented with. However, the other mantra that should never be too far from the mind is 'Always Have a Plan B'.
The fact that this sculpture remains a major component of this project means I have had to think quite quickly and very creatively about how to overcome my little problem. What I have decided is to change the original, sculptural concept of working on the wood itself and to encase the decaying trunk in wire mesh instead. The mesh will be pinned tightly to the surface of the trunk so that it takes on the form of the original tree while supporting the material integrity of the wood.
This protective intervention actually presents a work that engages directly with ideas of conservation and preservation. The rotting tree will serve as a habitat for different life forms connecting it very strongly to the Lee Valley Park's work with the conservation of natural habitats. At the same time, the gradual disintegration of the rotting tree inside the mesh will ultimately leave only the tree shaped cage behind it, thus rather contradicting the idea of preservation. The whole process of this 'slow-release sculpture', however, will provide a visual embodiment of an entire natural cycle.